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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Renew and Refresh Through a Meditation Practice

Mar 31, 2022 09:00AM ● By Naomi Velazquez Greene and Priscilla Potter
Spring is a time when many of us clean out closets, cupboards or simply conduct more deep-cleaning tasks. We may even engage in clearing or preparing soil for gardening. It’s a wonderful time of renewal. Yet, we seldom take time to clear out our internal “closets” of emotional hurts, anxieties or fears—to prepare our hearts and minds for new, positive experiences.

Meditation offers a way—not just to relax, which is a good thing—but also a way to soften emotional baggage we’ve been carrying around. It all starts with the breath.

A simple practice begins by sitting in a quiet space, away from television, the computer and away from the phone. Just for a few minutes.

To begin, sit in a comfortable chair and position. Make any physical adjustments, so that there is no bodily twitching. Start by closing your eyes and watching the breath. Observe the in-breath, making a mental note, “I am breathing in.” Note that there’s a pause before the exhale. Then, observe the out-breath, making a mental note, “I am breathing out.” Take another pause before the inhale. Continue for several breaths.

If a thought comes to mind such as “I need to go to the store…,” we use a technique or mantra in yoga called the Neti mantra. When an extraneous thought enters, we say, “Neti, neti, neti.” It is simply a way to train the mind to realize, “I am not this thought. I am not that thought. I am not thought.” Gently focus your mind back to the breath. Keep repeating the breath observation and the mantra.

You may also mentally count the length of the in-breath and the out-breath, striving to make the in-breath and out-breath the same length. After a few breaths with a count, allow the breath to breathe itself. Don’t control it. Continue to observe it.

When ready, open your eyes, allowing them to adjust to the light, and welcome your mind and body back to “the real world”.

Performing this practice daily, even a couple times a day, helps produce a calming, de-stressing effect. It also helps increase concentration as it clears the mind of extraneous thoughts, and allows us to refocus on what’s important.
Another technique takes us outside, enjoying the beautiful weather and a lovely setting. Consider practicing in a serene location like a garden or a park. Sit and observe the environment. Make note of the objects you see—flowers, trees, birds, the sky. Observe the colors. Observe the textures.
Next, close your eyes for a moment. Breathe in the beauty, the warmth, the serenity. Open your eyes, and continue observing, quietly. Listen to the birds, to life around you. Once again, close your eyes and recreate your environment as an image in your mind. Make note of the peacefulness and serenity. Remember this feeling.
Use this visualization back at home, or during breaks at work. It only takes a few minutes to create sanity and peacefulness, breath by breath.

Naomi Velazquez Greene is a certified yoga teacher and staff member at The Yoga Connection in Tucson. Priscilla Potter, E-RYT500, is the founder of The Yoga Connection. The Yoga Connection offers free meditation sessions several times a week. Connect at

The Yoga Connection - 3929 E Pima Tucson AZ

The Yoga Connection - 3929 E Pima, Tucson, AZ

The Yoga Connection is a non-profit 501(c)3 serving the Tucson Community for more than 30 years. The center is dedicated to serving all who seek to learn Hatha Yoga, meditation or the Kr... Read More »