I have some questions which arise from numerous sources which seem to contradict each other and are keeping my mind in a knot about meditation. I appreciate all opinions but I would like to know what you base your opinions on. So here they are:
Wheather to breathe deeply (expanding the abdomen fully then sucking it in) or to breathe shallow (but still through the stomach, I know not to breathe into the chest). The contrast is that breathing deeply requires focus to force it since you don’t actually need to breathe deeply in a very relaxed state. And focus is good. But I’ve also read that breathing should be natural and spontaneous rather than forced while maintaining focus on the manner, rhythm, etc. of your natural breath. So which is it?
Related to the above when I force my breathing to be deep I often want to yawn since I also try to keep my breathing slow paced. Obviously yawning interrupts my focus etc. and makes it even harder for me to meditate (Im new to it the practice). So the question is what am I doing wrong and/or how to fix the issue. I suppose this could be answered by the previous question but I wanted to seperate the two to avoid confusion.
Should I focus on breathing in the first place? From my knowledge meditation is achieved by focusing on almost anything simple which holds your attention. Yet focusing on breathing has many benefits (which I cannot recall right now, correct me if Im wrong). But I also read many texts, especially on self-hypnosis (which in my opinion is just meditation with a scientific label), which say to focus on relaxation - physical and mental. So what to focus on? Perhaps there’s a pattern of moving from one to the others like focusing on relaxation in the beginning, moving on to breathing and then… something. That’s been my idea but I’d like to hear some confirmation since I don’t have the experience or knowledge to confirm it, or other ideas regarding that.
How can you check if you are in the alpha/meditative state? I assume there is way but the best thing I could find is something along the lines of focusing on your arm feeling very cold and if it does end up feeling very cold then you are in a highly suggestive state (alpha). The problem with that approach is suggestions are quite notorious for their inconsistency across infinite variables like fitness, diet, stress, etc. which change every day if not every hour. I can’t sit there thinking I’m getting somewhere while trying to meditate I have to know for certain. So does anyone have any ideas?
This is again related to the first question. Should the breathing be continuous or spontaneous? This sounds a bit like the first question so allow me to clarify. Do you breathe in and out in a consistent rhythm with no pauses - so the end of an exhalation is the begining of an inhalation - or do you breathe in and breathe out when you feel you need/want to? The difference between this question and the first is here I assume all breathing is deep, the question is on timing, whilst in the first question I’m interested in the style of breathing - deep vs shallow.
Well that’s all. I suppose the title of this post should’ve read “A few long questions” but not many people would be interested in reading it then =).
Thanks in advance,