I’m so envious of daily meditators. They are more calm and peaceful, less stressed out, and overall more content with their lives. I’ve aspired to daily meditation for probably 10 years, but I just can’t seem to find the time or mental space to slow down and do it. I guess my frequent runs, walks and yoga are a kind of “moving meditation,” but I wish I could do more.
Part of the value of meditation seems to lie in the deep breathing which calms us by its effect on our parasympathetic nervous system, triggering hormones that slow heart and blood pressure rates. Years ago I encountered a breathing exercise that, if not full-on meditation, does relax and quiet my mind and nerves. It even helps me fall back to sleep during the night. The exercise is from Dr. Weil, whose book, Spontaneous Healing, totally turned around my life when I read it a dozen years ago. He describes several beneficial breathing exercises on his website, but “4-7-8” is my favorite for winding down. Here are his instructions: