15 July 2016

why does the breathing aspect matter in meditation?

Our brains need glucose for fuel, glucose is virtually it's sole fuel (just as a car needs fuel to be able to move). Glucose is also involved with our blood sugar, & it uses about 25% of our glucose supply. So where do we get glucose from & where does the breathing aspect come into it all? Glucose comes from food, mainly plant & plant based foods, known as carbohydrates. Processed carbohydrates such as sugar, most (but not all) white rices, white flour, "instant" grains....they have a detrimental effect on glucose regulation & can cause us to crave even more of these foods & the sugar levels in our blood drop, as the sugar content in those foods is so high. And some of us need more protein in our diet to regulate our glucose levels.

It has been found, in recent years, that "mindfulness", especially everyday mindfulness, is very powerful in regulating our blood sugar, therefore also our food cravings. And correspondingly, stable glucose levels make us nicer people.

But for many, everyday mindfulness is overwhelming. I do feel that they have learnt off a silly person who has told them to be mindful of everything. For example, walking & being aware of everything simultaneously: a tree, the sky, the footpath, a breeze, our breathing, our thoughts, sounds. This is just crazy. I get so cross when I meet someone who is having problems from learning mindfulness this way. And I know that meditation done with this sort of "mind-being-too-full-ness", is not pleasant.

Far easier is to learn how to consciously, & very relaxed, slow down the breath. Doing the technique in my previous post will teach you this, & I recommend that you do it, here & there, to start with, then try to do it as soon as you wake up, & just before you go to sleep. Just a bit here & there. Soon, you will be able to sit for a few minutes doing that, so relaxed. And if you close your eyes, you will be meditating.

If we are too anxious, meditation is very difficult to do, if we have not been taught how to slow down our mental, emotional, prana, aspects. And if we strain doing harsh ujjayi (slightly constricting in the throat to make a soft noise), or a fast ujjayi, it does seem, to me, to create tiredness later. This will be because it has had a detrimental effect on our brain glucose levels. Which is counter-productive. I initially learnt how to slow down the breath, then later I learnt how to "power up" the breath. And do incredible amounts of strong pranayama. Whilst the spiritual results were incredible, I feel that this is counterproductive in daily life, as it did mess with my blood sugar levels. And I am sure it's because I was not relaxed.

To do deep meditation does require fuel, therefore it does require glucose. Not only that, but also not squandering glucose. Without this knowledge, it is not unusual for people who practice a lot of deep meditation, to crave sweets. I was taught that this was due to swadhisthana chakra, but truly this was not my actual experience of swadhisthana. It was just the opposite.

If you do have inflammation, or iffy blood sugar (which will cause inflammation), tiredness (which often starts in the brain), anxiety, doing the breathing technique that I wrote about in my last blog, will dramatically help.

There are other ways, which amplify brain function in meditation, which we will look into. For the brain is actively involved with meditation, even though meditation is about aspects of our mind.

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