Preparation for Mindful-Exposure to the Large Breath (2x)

Facilitator: Oxygen calms the body.

Participant: I expel fully that I may inhale deeply.

Facilitator: Agitation interrupts being present

Participant: Mindful of breathing, I remain present.

Facilitator: Regrets are reflections to the past.

Participant: My breath anchors me to the present.

Facilitator: Worries are projections to the future.

Participant: My breath fastens me to the present.

Facilitator: Emotional wounds can leave us physically aching

Participant: I am the witness of my sensory experience.

Mindfulness Based Anxiety Reduction does not replace therapists or psychiatrists. If you have recently endured a serious emotional trauma, been hospitalized for a psychiatric condition or if you have recurrent suicidal thoughts you should consult your mental health provider and Cesar Bujosa about your interest in participating.

Begin Mindful-Exposure to the Large Breath

Mindful-Exposure to the Large Breath

When you are highly agitated it is very difficult and uncomfortable to practice Mindful Exposure to the present or Insight Meditation. When the mind is racing, we deliberately increase the size of our breath, expelling completely and inhaling gradually. If you have a generalized anxiety for example there may be so much chronic agitation and racing thoughts that shifting to a mindfulness mode may be a daunting and discouraging undertaking. In other words you may simply not be “calm” enough to distance yourself from the torrent of images and ruminations. Similarly, if your anxiety takes the form obsessive compulsive symptoms, you might need to bear exposure to highly discomforting images and impulses that result in elevated distress. It is due to the commonality of these ruminative or frightening symptoms in all anxious people that MBAR has included Mindful Exposure to the Large Breath.

Sustained deep breathing in the form of long inhalations through the nose and steady and controlled expulsions from the throat or nose affects your entire physiology. The mental control necessary to maintain long breaths is much more reachable when you are in an agitated condition. Deep breathing provides a focus for concentration, more oxygen to the body, a tranquilizing and anesthetizing affect. It also gives us the opportunity to transition into the neutral frame of mind that characterizes mindfulness. Thus the calming affect of the large breath is harnessed to provide achievable attentional control and to cultivate the adaptive mode that is mindfulness.

Instructions: Sit upright in a chair or cushion. Cast your gaze toward the ground about 4-5 feet in front of you. Begin steady breathing. Gently still your body without allowing yourself to become rigid.

Calmly and steadily breathe in through your nose, funneling air steadily upward towards your head. Fill your lungs with air allowing your chest and stomach to expand. At the end of the inhalation, hold your breath for a moment. Then begin to exhale funneling the air out from the throat, using a low pitch, “H” sound. You will adjust to the most effective throat and mouth position through practice. Exhale steadily and calmly. You may tip forward and pull your lower stomach in as you reach the end of your expulsion. Notice that the upright posture does not collapse as the air is fully expelled. The back remains relatively straight throughout inhalations and expulsions.

Large Breath 1
Large Breath 2

Practice deep breathing for a period of time. Then, transition into Mindful Exposure to the Present by letting go of your controls over the breath. Breathe naturally. Focus your attention on your attention on letting go of physical and mental tension. Accept your experience completely. If your mind begins to start racing again, return to the deep breathing. Recognize that you are always interested in limiting the self-talk and imaginings. By doing this practice you are habituating and taming your anxious symptoms.