The first time I meditated was during Wellpsring's Relaxation Therapy drop-in group. Physically unable to fulfill the activities that I typically undertook for dealing with stress and anxiety (swimming, running or biking), I was desperate to find a new way that my tired, handicapped body could keep up through treatment. The guided meditation was an excellent introduction to deep breathing, where the facilitator kept our minds focused on the present, reminded us to breathe deep, as we individually created a safe space in our imaginations.
I could go on about the connectedness, reflection and the depth you experience when breathing deeply, but to be honest, I rarely get to that level of intensity. On a daily basis, I simply remind myself at select opportunities (on the bus, before sleep, or before I crack a textbook open to do my schoolwork) to take a few deep breaths. The Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique is useful to engage yourself physically and is a simple, straightforward way to control you breaths. The biggest draw is that it can be done anywhere for any length of time.
Living at such a fast pace where every moment of my day is consumed with some type of hard work (yes, hard relaxation counts), leaves my breathing totally unconscious. But in those moments where I remind myself to breathe deep, puff out my stomach, and release the tension that has slowly built in the pit of my stomach, I immediately feel more relaxed.
Until I have more free time to meditate or just casually relax, my deep breathing exercises are what's getting me to the end of this semester.