The Counting Breaths Meditation is one of the most used. It is a basic technique that works for beginners and advanced students.
- Sit in a comfortable position: Lotus, Half Lotus, or cross-legged. If you cannot be comfortable in any of these, just sit upright in a chair.
- Relax your body.
- Pay attention to your breath.
Feel the breath in your nostrils. Do not regulate the breath; just observe it. Perhaps you have shallow breaths or long breaths. Experience them.
- Count your breaths.
When you are ready, start counting your inhalations and exhalations. One: Inhale. Two: Exhale. Counting breaths focuses the mind on something, while yoking the mind to the body. You could also use a mantra.
- Center and Focus.
If your mind wanders away—like a baby escaping their mother—gently bring it back to counting and start over at “one”.
- Mental Savasana (Rest).
At the end of your meditation, do not rush off the mat. Like yoga, the end is the most important part. The focus attained from counting breaths is released. Just breathe and experience Silence.
At first, the mind will be cluttered with a chattering monkey mind. If you have never meditated, you have an entire lifetime of thoughts to still. It just takes time. There is no way to be “good” or “bad” at meditation. It is a Meditation Practice. We meditate to bring mental clarity and stillness as an undercurrent for the rest of our busy lives.
It is better to meditate for five minutes every morning, than one hour once a week. Even if you just get up and sit in the silent darkness for five minutes before work, this is enough at first, until you get the habit down. Once you have carved out this space of stillness, you will start to crave it. Your meditation practice can grow from there.
–August 28, 2017
*Mahatma Buddha photo from the Public Domain