I used to meditate often. After an amazing spiritual experience I had encountering a stranger (I'll make another post about that later), I decided I have strayed from meditation for too long which will ultimately weaken my ability to perform rituals well. Plus, I've simply lost touch from my magickal self/beliefs without it. So, I've brought it back into my life.
When I meditate, I literally get anxious when Guided Meditation videos keep telling you to focus heavily on your breathing. Why, you're wondering? I am diagnosed with mild asthma/am a smoker (yes, I know, quit!). Occasionally, my chest feels like it's tightening up as a result of the asthma symptoms/humidity(big trigger for it).
So, does anyone have any thoughts or advice on how I can approach meditation more easily when this is happening? Do I have to solely focus on the breaths? It's easier for me to breathe naturally, not deeply when this happens. Any anxiety reducing tips during my attempts?
Oh my gosh DawnMaiden13, please don't try to use techniques that could harm you! You don't need to induce an asthma attack while trying to follow someone else's instructions!
As with any other form of self-awareness techniques, try to only do what feels best or most comfortable for you. If you want to focus on something other than your breathing, that's perfectly okay! You can always try incorporating different things into your meditation routine. (And perhaps if you can remember what used to work for you regularly in the past, add those elements back in too.)
I have always had problems with guided meditations and am unable to use them, so you certainly aren't alone there! Good luck to you!
As someone who suffers from both asthma and anxiety, I meditate at my own pace. In other words, I meditate the way I feel works best for me. I burn candles, put on some calming nature music, have my crystals around me and meditate. I love nature, my crystals, and I enjoy using candles (I perform candle magick). If nature calms you down, meditate outside or put some nature music. If the night calms you down, meditate at night or with lights off. Find what helps with your anxiety and incorporate them in meditation. This is what I do to stabilize two types of breathing problems. If you have any questions, I be delighted to assist you. Blessed be.
The others are right; you don't need to focus on your breath. You're in a situation where you're following instruction, so if you can find a guided meditation that doesn't use the breath as a focal point, that should help.
If you can't find that, try replacing that focus on the breath with something else during the guided meditation.
I tend to focus on sounds, a visualization, or sustaining a physical sensation. Maybe something like that could work for you.
Abandon the guided meditation altogether if it does anything but calm you. If you are trying to do anything in the realms of forcing the breath, stop that too. The breath is merely a natural focal point- everyone has breath all the time and therefore can meditate all the time. Breathe naturally and comfortably, there is no need to breathe deeply, you will find that the breath will become slower in time as you relax.
I would just find a different focal point, I have never liked candle flames as they flicker and distract me, you may be different. Why not try a mantra? You needn't say it aloud, you can mentally repeat it over and over, focusing only on the mantra and trying to direct your consciousness towards it. That should remove any focus from the breath and you will probably find the breath to shift to a natural, even rhythm.
I would also practice regular systematic relaxation- lying down in corpse pose and cycling consciousness through each body part and willing tension to dissipate. You will find that works wonders for anxiety- tension and anxiety go hand in hand and can cause one another in a vicious cycle.
No, I mean directing your thoughts and intentions towards each body part- each toe, each finger, each vertabrae. The easiest way to do this is simply to visualise each one in turn- where thought goes intention to release and energy will follow. Just search yoga nidraon google and you will find basic instructions- simply ignore any mention of controlling the breath- it's not necessary.