Who is David Hans-Barker, aka MeditationDave?

You have decided to take up meditation but you don’t know how to go about it? You are a beginner and you wish to acquire the knowledge and the basic principles to improve your practice? You wish to have quality support to guide you in your meditation practice? Here is a selection of meditation videos from David Hans-Barker, founder of Yogilab, who’ll define meditation, explain how meditation has changed his life, and the benefits that everyone could get from incorporating meditation in their lives.

What is self compassion?

Self-compassion is an attitude of care and kindness directed toward one’s own person. Self-compassion includes being aware of our own pain and suffering and understanding that this is a difficult experience, but normal for any human being. Directing feelings of kindness and caring toward ourselves and focusing our energy and attention on how we can relieve this suffering are also essential elements of self-compassion. The opposite of self-compassion is self-criticism. This highly negative thinking style is often associated with difficult emotions. Those who are highly self-critical especially need to develop the ability to relate to themselves in an empathetic way. It is highly likely that we get stuck in a loop of self-criticism and then each problem we encounter activates a threat system and the subsequent responses. Then, by trying to deal with the problems through self-criticism, we keep the threat system in activation mode, which in turn causes us to continue to face the problem and emotional suffering.

Self-compassion can bring enormous benefits to our well-being and mental health. Self-compassion activates the self-soothing system, which in turn extinguishes the threat and drive systems. The threat and drive systems often remain over-stimulated for very long periods of time and may be responsible for the unpleasant emotions we experience (anxiety, anger, depression).

Breathwork for calming your system

Calm breathing is the key to slowing down the body and mind and the impulse that activates the parasympathetic nervous system. It helps us press the pause button and then the reset button. This technique may seem trivial, but it really has great power to help us switch from survival mode to a more peaceful state. The normal breathing rhythm is 10-14 per minute. When we are afraid and feel threatened, our breathing can accelerate significantly. Our recommended breathing rate is about 5 breaths per minute so that we slow down our actions and thoughts and relax. Slowing down includes both slowing down your breathing rate and changing the way you breathe. Apply the following steps so that you can activate your self-soothing system and prepare yourself for the strategies involving self-compassion.

  • Make sure you are sitting in a comfortable chair or lying on your bed
  • Take a deep breath lasting 4 seconds (preferably through your nose)
  • Hold the air for 2 seconds
  • Slowly let the air out – let the exhale last 6 seconds (preferably through the nose)
  • Take a short break before inhaling again
  • Repeat the cycle

During the exercise, make sure you are breathing abdominally, meaning the air is going all the way to your belly, not just your chest. You can check this by placing one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. The hand on your belly should rise when you inhale and fall when you exhale.

Take this practice everywhere with you

Try to perform this exercise at least 1-2 times a day. You can opt for one longer session (20 minutes) or several shorter ones (4 times for 5 minutes each). Initially, practice when you can relax a bit and free yourself from any distractions. Over time, you can practice whenever and wherever you have a moment (while waiting in a checkout line or in public transports). The ultimate goal is that no matter what you are doing or where you are, whenever you notice that you are agitated, you will be able to use the breathing technique to calm yourself. If you have already achieved this ability, you will be at the best point to start using some techniques involving self-compassion during periods of crisis.

What is self compassion?

Becoming compassionate to ourselves requires that we be able to identify when we are struggling and when our mind begins to think in a self-critical way. This is when we should act intentionally and redirect our attention to empathic thoughts full of compassion. We use mindfulness-based attention redirection exercises to achieve this awareness and flexibility of attention. The exercises of focusing on a mundane task and meditation teach us to be aware of where our attention is at any given moment and how to gently redirect it to the current moment or ongoing task, and to recognize when our attention begins to “wander” and how to recapture it and bring it back to the here and now. These skills provide an important foundation necessary to build the capacity for self-compassion, but they also require daily practice. Without these practices, self-compassion strategies will not show their full potential.

What is self compassion?

Self-compassion is an attitude of care and kindness directed toward one’s own person. Self-compassion includes being aware of our own pain and suffering and understanding that this is a difficult experience, but normal for any human being. Directing feelings of kindness and caring toward ourselves and focusing our energy and attention on how we can relieve this suffering are also essential elements of self-compassion. The opposite of self-compassion is self-criticism. This highly negative thinking style is often associated with difficult emotions. Those who are highly self-critical especially need to develop the ability to relate to themselves in an empathetic way. It is highly likely that we get stuck in a loop of self-criticism and then each problem we encounter activates a threat system and the subsequent responses. Then, by trying to deal with the problems through self-criticism, we keep the threat system in activation mode, which in turn causes us to continue to face the problem and emotional suffering.

Self-compassion can bring enormous benefits to our well-being and mental health. Self-compassion activates the self-soothing system, which in turn extinguishes the threat and drive systems. The threat and drive systems often remain over-stimulated for very long periods of time and may be responsible for the unpleasant emotions we experience (anxiety, anger, depression).

Breathwork for calming your system

Calm breathing is the key to slowing down the body and mind and the impulse that activates the parasympathetic nervous system. It helps us press the pause button and then the reset button. This technique may seem trivial, but it really has great power to help us switch from survival mode to a more peaceful state. The normal breathing rhythm is 10-14 per minute. When we are afraid and feel threatened, our breathing can accelerate significantly. Our recommended breathing rate is about 5 breaths per minute so that we slow down our actions and thoughts and relax. Slowing down includes both slowing down your breathing rate and changing the way you breathe. Apply the following steps so that you can activate your self-soothing system and prepare yourself for the strategies involving self-compassion.

  • Make sure you are sitting in a comfortable chair or lying on your bed
  • Take a deep breath lasting 4 seconds (preferably through your nose)
  • Hold the air for 2 seconds
  • Slowly let the air out – let the exhale last 6 seconds (preferably through the nose)
  • Take a short break before inhaling again
  • Repeat the cycle

During the exercise, make sure you are breathing abdominally, meaning the air is going all the way to your belly, not just your chest. You can check this by placing one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. The hand on your belly should rise when you inhale and fall when you exhale.

Take this practice everywhere with you

Try to perform this exercise at least 1-2 times a day. You can opt for one longer session (20 minutes) or several shorter ones (4 times for 5 minutes each). Initially, practice when you can relax a bit and free yourself from any distractions. Over time, you can practice whenever and wherever you have a moment (while waiting in a checkout line or in public transports). The ultimate goal is that no matter what you are doing or where you are, whenever you notice that you are agitated, you will be able to use the breathing technique to calm yourself. If you have already achieved this ability, you will be at the best point to start using some techniques involving self-compassion during periods of crisis.

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