Zy Marquiez
May 15, 2019

Today I did something I hadn’t done in a long time: I decided to do a full workout without my headphones on to be more Mindful.  Admittedly, it took a little getting used too, but it wasn’t so bad since I was reading most of the time.

Because I avoided using my Ipod, I was able to remain incredible focused and stay in the moment while working out, rather than just go through the workout as I nigh always do.  This allowed me to focus on my breath, my focus, and my thought process in a way that’s closer to what I would employ with poker than not.

When I find myself breathing deeply as much as possible, interjecting such deep breaths with 4×4 breath cycles where I breathe in for 4 seconds, hold my breath for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds and hold for 4 seconds, I end up being incredibly more focused, getting more oxygen, feeling more energized, and so on.

Al Lee & Don Campbell, authors of Perfect Breathing, explain the importance of a mindful breathing technique:

“This exercise, as simple and innocuous as it seems, is the most important exercise to master.  Once you have developed the habit of slow, deep breathing and your body remembers that this is the natural way to breathe, it will slowly become a part of everything that you do.  It will become your “secret weapon” when you need an extra burst of energy; it will become your rock when you are feeling emotional shattered; and it will become a peaceful, quiet refuge at times when you need sanctuary.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added].

This approach has never failed me, but it’s something that I need to stay focused on because its easy to fall into the bad habit of breathing with only partial lung capacity breathing in a shallow manner.

Breathing with only part of your lungs, as opposed to employing the entire real estate of your lung capacity, is incredibly limiting because only so much oxygen is going into your system, and as such you will not get the healing and energizing benefits that a full mindful approach will dictate.

For the most part, that was the extent of my early morning, just trying to focus on being mindful and so on.  Now to the afternoon.

After receiving a package today that I was waiting for a while, it reminded me that that I needed to give a friend a letter of recommendation.  Because of this I had to drive elsewhere.  This is crucial only in that when I am driving, I am usually nigh always listening to music or documentaries on my way to whatever locale it is I am going too.  Today I decided that I would follow what I did in the morning and forgo the music.  In fact, I didn’t even bring my Ipod because I know myself, and I knew that I would probably want to listen to music or something else eventually.  This made the drive not only enjoyable, but I was able to think about a lot of things.

When my mind is engaged while listening to music, it’s rare that I think about things in a mindful way.  Yes, I myself, just like everyone else, can think while listening to music, but the thoughts aren’t as logical, or as thought-out, or thoughtful as when there’s no music, nor lyrics, each of which can be incredibly distracting, and when combined, are downright disrupting for thought.  Of the 700+ tracks on my Ipod, there’s two, maybe three songs that I have no problem employing a mindful approach with.  Still though, nothing beats the ability to think clearly when your mind is going at a mile per minute with no end in sight.

These thoughts are shared for consideration when individuals are going about their day and perhaps are having trouble slowing down, focusing, and so on.  It’s not something that cost anything, but the net benefits can be quite significant once one’s mind is fully engaged.


[1] Al Lee & Don Campbell, Perfect Breathing, pg. 12-13.

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