Monday Meditation: Breath in, breath out

“When I stop, I pass out,” said one of my college hatha yoga students. That means we are out of balance. It means we have neglected the quiet, still moments in life and our energy levels are at an all time low, so our bodies seize the moment (when we stop) to knock us out cold so it can recharge. I call this backwards living because when we are going and doing constantly, it takes a punch in the belly to dump us a$$-over-tea-kettle so the body, mind, and spirit can get some rest. This is the hard way to achieve balance. In this zippy age of “just DO it,” 99% of the students I meet in yoga are looking for something to slow them down, but when they meet it head-on they resist. What we resist is what we need the most.

To look up the definition of “balance” in the dictionary would cause most people to slam the book shut and think, “How can one word have 27 different meanings? Forget it.” If we will spend a breath on the Latin (don’t freak) derivation, we’ll see that “balance” is Latin for “two scales”. Take the thoughts a bit farther and the image of the scales of justice should roll across our mind’s eye and we might take the leap to understand that “balance” is another word for “equality.” Hopefully, we think equality means giving both sides the same amount of time. It means striving to equalize our “doing” with our “being.”

We call ourselves human “beings”, but we are actually more human “doings”. Aren’t we always doing, going, getting, asking, etc. almost all the time? “Doing” is everything we’re responsible for and everyone we answer to. “Being” is much simpler. It is calming our mind until the only “doing” is breathing. Strangely, the human body, mind, and spirit react positively to an inequality of “doing” versus “being.” We can be much more active than inactive and our human carriages will show positive signs of health, but we must offer our bodies organized sessions of peace and quiet at regular intervals. In other words, it takes only a few minutes of “being” per day to balance many minutes of “doing” and we can achieve equilibrium.

The “being” is simply sitting or lying in a quiet, meditative state that is conscious relaxation when we are not talking, moving, thinking without obsessing (more on that later,) and simply appreciating the moment in which the only requirement of us is to breathe. It is not sleeping. It is conscious relaxation when our minds are focused on the breath and only the breath.

“Breath in, breath out,” is all we need to think and when something interrupts or tries to supersede that simple mantra, we do not follow its lead but continue the easy words in harmony with our natural breathing. As you breathe in, repeat to yourself, “Breath in.” As you breathe out, repeat to yourself, “Breath out.” Try it for five minutes, then ten minutes, then fifteen, and twenty minutes gradually increasing the time as you feel ready. It sounds easy, but let me know how easy it is or isn’t for you. If you’re human like the rest of us, it will present a lifelong challenge that will change your life forever and for the good.






There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)


Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing,


And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous. Bob Mayer Jenni Holbrook Kristen Lamb Inspiration for Writers, Inc. Natalie Markey Amy Shojai


Check out my new website Joy E. Held


Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well.