How To Meditate – Using Your Breath

Here is a simple guide on how to meditate using your breath. This is a basic meditation. One of the first things that you will need is an alarm.

If you are just starting off I’d say it’s best to start with a few minutes. Let’s say 5 minutes for starters or you could try two if that’s daunting.

I have practiced yoga for 16 years and have been meditating about 40 minutes a day since 2009-ish.

I highly recommend that you start it now and remain disciplined about your practice.

It’s like anything if you want results you have to be consistent.

You breath controls your emotional state. Your breathing is different if you are happy vs. angry or depressed vs. calm.

So to meditate:

  1. Sit somewhere comfortable.
  2. Straighten your back.
  3. Relax your body and face.
  4. Inhale slowly through your nose.
  5. Pause.
  6. Exhale slowly through your nose.
  7. Continue until your alarm goes off.

Torn meniscus? What do I do?

Wondering what you should do about your torn meniscus? Are you considering surgery? Will it heal? I don’t know what’s right for your knee, but I can share with you what I learned.

I tore my meniscus about 10 months ago. I was in Judo class and a guy (big white belt) jumped guard on my extended knee and hyper extended it. You’re not supposed to do that in Judo. That’s only in jiujitsu.

It hurt and I knew something was wrong as my leg was shaking from the trauma and I didn’t get off the mat for 30 minutes or so. I went and got an MRI and they told me I had a torn meniscus and a bone bruise.

They told me I had an oblique tear or a bucket handle tear on my medial meniscus. Walking was painful.

The doctor said he could do surgery to fix it. Fixing it meant he was either going to cut it out (meniscectomy) – the torn piece or stitch it. When I heard that my face dropped.

He said you could wait a bit to see of it healed. That was around 2 weeks after.

I waited another 2 weeks and it didn’t really seem to change much, saw him again and he said the same, surgery or wait and see if it heals.

I waited.

All the mean while I did some research.

All the results I found on surgery suggested that I not do it. That’s what I gathered. I mean your situation might be different. But most studies out there didn’t show a big improvement with surgery and in some cases they made it worse. More on those studies later.

If you ask a surgeon what should I do with my hurt knee? He is probably going to say “let’s operate”.

Some information suggested surgery based on the degree of the tear. If you had popping in the joint or it’s getting stuck (locking) then that’s probably more severe and might need it.

They say if you had a tear on the edge of the meniscus it is more likely to heal since there is a blood supply. Towards the center of the knee there is no blood supply. They will tell you that cartilage can’t heal there. However…

There are white blood cells in synovial fluid. They don’t tell you that. Later I’ll point out some studies that may oppose that.

I didn’t really have those symptoms. I had pain though with standing and stiffness.

Here is what I did.

That’s what I did. I had pain for a good 2 months plus.

How do I feel now?

I feel pretty good. I am back to all normal activities and feel mostly normal. I returned to grappling a little more than 2 months later. I occasionally get some muscular pain on the back inside of my knee. Massage helps that. I get a little bit of stiffness in it after sitting cross legged forward folding in yoga.

I think that is mostly muscular. Massage is great and in my experience joint pain is often caused by surrounding muscles.

Doctor and other people said a bone bruise could take up to a year or so to heal.

Advice

Your situation is unique. I would not try to “fix” your problem by having a surgeon cut you open unless you’re confident and your situation is severe. When I asked the surgeon if my tear was large he said probably small to medium. He didn’t know if it was in the “red zone” or not.

Wait. It can take a while to heal. I read online that some people said it can take 6 months or more than a year. The doctor told me if it’s not better in 2 months then it might not heal.

You can always get surgery later, but you can’t change what’s been done later.

Do that passive motion exercise with ankle weights unless it hurts. If it hurts then stop and do it without weights. Also you can lie on your back and do a bicycle exercise where you pretend to ride a bicycle. This is also similar to the CPM exercises.

Compress it. Wrap it with an ace bandage.

Massage the muscles around it.

Be disciplined about exercise but don’t overdo it or hurt yourself more. Do what you can stuff like balancing exercises, one legged squats, wall squats, leg lifts/raises, get a isometric band, etc.

More info on surgery

3 Day Fast: My Experience

Right now I am about 2 hours and 20 minutes away from completing 72 hours of fasting. I plan on stopping tomorrow morning. By then I would have fasted more than 83 or so hours.

I haven’t eaten a thing. I did take one green supplement pill at the end of 24 hours and I have had some green tea in the morning. But other than that just a lot of water and no food.

I first started experimenting with fasting back in April 2015. That was more or less following the Warrior Diet and doing 20 hours of mostly fasting with 4 hours of feeding. And since then I have experimented with 24 hours of fasting with zero food.

After that I got inspired to do a longer fast. What inspired me? I read some something about how the body can regenerate stem cells after 2-5 days of fasting. And since I have had some injuries I thought this would be a good thing to do since it would promote cellular repair and healing.

The first 24 hours wasn’t too hard as I have done that before. I just felt hungry. I did feel more alert and maybe antsy. By the next day I started to feel a bit low energy and light headed.

On the third day (now) I felt nauseous when I first woke up. I still feel low energy and light headed. Morning seemed a little tougher.

I have been doing a lot of meditating which is good to. It’s been raining in San Fran a lot, so staying in, working on my website and taking it easy.

Update 2020: I did a 4 day fast here in Japan.

45 Days More or Less on the Warrior Diet

I have more or less kept to this diet. Basically I under eat during the day and overeat at night. It was kind of difficult the first few days, but my body adapted pretty easily.

Did I notice any changes? The only changes that I have noticed are that I don’t crash after my former mid day large snack. I have more of a steady stream of energy through the day.

I also noticed I lost about 5 pounds which is of a little concern since I am already skinny. I stopped doing jiujitsu in that time too. When I saw my teacher after missing 2 months he said that it looked like I lost muscle.

I still seem to have a little bit of fat around my waist. So if I lost muscle then that is no good and then I should change something.

Basically my diet has been like this:

  • Breakfast: A grapefruit
  • Lunch: A banana and some nuts
  • Mid day snack: Yogurt and a banana
  • Dinner (around 7pm): I pretty much eat whatever and quite a bit.
  • Late snack (9-11pm)

It’s nice not spending a bunch of time preparing food either. I have been eating less wheat as well. I have a toothache, so I was going to try to limit for around a month or so foods high in phytic acid: stuff like nuts, beans and bread.

Update…

Since then I have been doing a fast on every Sunday. I start at 10pm on Sat. and don’t eat till 7pm on Sunday.

30 Days on the Warrior Diet

Yesterday I started a new diet – the Warrior Diet. I felt like I was eating too many carbs like wheat and oats and having a mid day crash after my large snack (yogurt, granola, a peanut butter sandwich and fruit). Also despite all the exercise (yoga, jiujitsu, judo, push-ups, pull-ups, running steep hills) I was doing I still had a little bit of fat around my midsection.

So yesterday I just snacked through out the day on fruit, vegetables, nuts and yogurt. Then around 7:30 I started eating. I ate quite a bit and then a few hours later I ate quite a bit again. The Warrior Diet has 20 hours of under eating/fasting and 4 hours of over eating.

I felt a little light headed at times throughout the day, but I never crashed mid day like before. I like the idea, so I am going to try this out for 30 days and if I like it I will continue.

I discovered this diet after watching some videos on Rhonda Rousey. I was asking myself why I was so interested in this person? Maybe part of the reason why was she lead me to this. She said she eats a diet that is a mix of the Paleo and the Warrior Diet.

Hershell Walker also has a diet kind of similar in that he eats one meal a day and just snacks through out the day.

How to Meditate

Here is a guide on how to meditate. Here are some important things to remember:

  • Get comfortable. You can sit in lotus pose, in a chair, or lie down in corpse pose as they call it in yoga..
  • Keep your body erect. Sit up if you are sitting.
  • Relax. Focus on relaxing the muscles in your body. Especially focus on relaxing the muscles in your face. Make sure you’re not holding any tension there. Relax.
  • Focus on your breathing. Breath in through you nose and out through your nose. Your breath is key.
  • Set an alarm. I used to meditate 2 times a day for a total of 40 minutes a day, but now I do it for 20 minutes a day. Sometimes I will break these sessions up into smaller increments like 10 or 15 minutes or longer sessions for 30 minutes or more minutes. If you’re just starting out then start small with say 5 minutes or perhaps even less if that seems difficult. Consistency is key, it is better to do it more frequently for a shorter period of time than it is to do it infrequently for longer periods of time.

Here are some other tactics that can be used when meditating:

Use a tone. These are tones like ahhhhhhhhh, ohhhhhhhh and ummmmmmm. You use these when you exhale and you hold the tone for the entire breath in a steady manner until you’re out of breath. Inhale and do it again.

The vibration feels quite therapeutic.

Close your eyes. I always do it this way.

Open your eyes. Focus on a point in front off you. Keep your focus there. Some meditators suggest holding your gaze slightly down.

Pause between breaths. This one is like holding your breath between the inhale and exhale, vice versa or just try it after the exhale or inhale. Hold your breath for a few seconds or however long you feel comfortable with. You shouldn’t have to gasp for air. You’ll notice that your thought typically stops when you momentarily hold your breath.

Focus on your stomach. When in you inhale imagine that your stomach is a balloon and fill it with air. When you exhale release it and gently suck in. This technique works well on nerves. If you’re nervous or stressed a few minutes of doing this will calm you down and get you in your body. This also works well with addressing stage fright, nerves with an interview, public speaking and any situation that gets you worked up.

Scan your body. Start with your feet and move up slowly to your scalp. For example, first focus on your feet and any sensations you feel there and then your ankles up to your shins and so on.

Count breaths. One inhalation and one exhalation is considered one breath. Simultaneously visualizing the number as you count helps too.

There is no magic number as it depends on how fast you count. Counting to 10 is not so difficult for me.

Alternatively you can use a four count. Inhale for four seconds, pause for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, pause for four seconds and then continue.

Learn more about using your breath to meditate.

Watch your mind. Watch what thoughts come and go. If you find yourself getting into a train of thought then let the thought go and return to your breath. Observe your mind.

Rock. Try gently rocking back and forth as you sit.

Generally you want to remain relatively still, however if you have a scratch then scratch it as you will waste more energy trying not to scratch it. Sometimes while sitting I will also do forward folds (used in yoga) where I’ll clasp my elbows and fold over my knees and hang. I can at times also clasp my hands together and put them behind my head. This will help straighten your posture while simultaneously stretching behind your shoulders.