To fully take advantage of the spiritual gifts that Ramadhan brings, rituals like fasting, praying, reading Quran and helping people are some of the basic things to do in order to tap into your inner goodness and with more practise, will allow you to reach deeper into your spiritual self.
Meditation is also another way to gain a better understanding of how much control you have in your actions and thoughts. But how do you meditate?
Saudi otolaryngologist doctor and advanced specialist in meditative breathing Afnan Rajeh, working in Charité University hospital in Berlin, shared there are some techniques and steps one can do to effectively meditate and effectively use the strong spirituality that embraces the holy month of Ramadhan.
“Breathing is your gateway to meditation, and the person would not enter meditation state if the breathing is in irregularity state’’, Rajeh said.
To get to the initial meditation stage, Rajeh shared, “The first step is to sit in an erect position. This sitting position means the spine is straight but you are not stretching the muscles of the body. You have to feel as if a string is pulling you from the top of your head and gently pulling your spine up. If there is a muscles tension, it means that your sitting position is considered uncomfortable.”
She added, “The second step is breathing through your nose. Inhale and exhale, fill your stomach, then your chest. When you inhale, the abdomen swells as it is filled with oxygen.”
“As a beginner, you can place your hand on your stomach to feel the flatulence forward and continue the inhalation process to fill the chest. Then hold your breath for 3 seconds. Let the exhalation come out gradually and calmly without violence or a strong push and allow the air to exit smoothly’’, she said.
“It is best to breath through your nose, as this organ works to purify and filter the air from impurities and warm the air as it makes its entrance to the lungs’’, she added.
All of the body’s systems are regulated once the breathing is controlled, consequently reflected in raising a person’s awareness and controlling the rhythm of his life. It calms down his thoughts, his body and he lives in his moment. As well as he will be able to practise his rituals with greater presence, and see things in a better and clearer perspective compared to when the body is in a stressed state.
“For example, when a person is exposed to stress, the body becomes aroused and in a state of fight and flight due to the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, so the hormones of the body change in proportion to stress state, the heartbeat and breathing accelerates and becomes irregular. When the tension wears off, the body returns to a state of rest and digest, which in turn the parasympathetic nervous system calms the body, breathing is regulated again, and the other body systems are regulated’’, she explained.
“What happens is that the mind stores this physical and mental state and connects it to the person’s thoughts, so whenever the person thinks of what worries him or unconsciously returns to rapid superficial breathing due to the wrong breathing patterns that he used to, the nervous system responds directly and accordingly signals reach him that he is in a state of tension and is aroused again. In this case, the key is in your hands, adjust your breathing gently and monitor your thoughts’’, Rajeh said.
Breathing has many positive benefits to human health. It controls all organ body systems, such as the circulatory system and the nervous system. It regulates the secretion of hormones in the human body. Breathing normally and filling the body with oxygen helps in the growth of body cells and helps the body to be in a state of calm, comfort and relaxation that enables a person to make his decisions and live his life comfortably. These benefits are reflected during Ramadhan, breathing calmly makes fasting and worship become conscious.
Proper breathing is something everyone should observe diligently. Observing your breathing makes you live in the present and connect you with that moment.
“For example, during prayer, watch your breathing. You are thus connected to the moment of worship connected to the living moment, connected to the living Allah, this is meditation’’, she explained.
“Meditation is non-doing. Some think that meditation is putting a stop to ideas, and that’s not true. The idea can’t be stopped. In meditation, we are just observing ideas as they happen’’, she shared.
Breathing calmly in the month of Ramadhan before the prayers and during prayer allow the body to enter a state of calm and helps the brain signal the rest of the system to rest and go on a relaxation mode. This quiet down the thought and therefore aid a person entering the meditation state.
When you are breathing properly in meditation mode, whenever you are praying or reading verses, it allows you to focus. It connects you with that moment and allows you a certain sense of stillness magnifying your spirituality and your connection to Allah.
“Everyone should be doing proper breathing daily for five minutes in the morning and evening. Once you develop the habit, it becomes automatic to pay attention to breathing during the rest of the day. Then, the person will be able to control irregular breathing’’, Rajeh said.
Afnan Rajeh is currently taking part in the Breath Campaign programme which aims to help people find more meaning to meditation and proper breathing techniques. To learn more about the course, you can follow them on Instagram @dr.afnanrajeh and @science.traveller.a