Counting Breaths is a traditional form of meditation. In formal practice, this exercise becomes the basis of that used by Buddhist monks along their path to enlightenment. For the beginner, this technique is useful in placing the focus on the internal functions rather than all the chaotic thoughts running through the mind. In the process, it opens the attention to the body, its natural functions, and potential imbalances within the system.
I highly suggest practicing this method regularly. Start with a cycle of five or ten breaths. Eventually, build up your focus to last five to fifteen minutes. Not only will the exercise become easier as you do so but the practice has the positive side effects of relaxation and clarity of mind.
- In a comfortable position, eyes open or shut (whatever you are comfortable with) breathe deeply and slowly from your abdomen.
- As you inhale, notice how the air travels in through your nose and into your lungs. See the way your lungs expand and your stomach pushes out.
- Then, as you exhale, notice the air traveling back out through your mouth. See your stomach depress as the air pushes back out the lungs. Hear the sound of the air as it passes out through your lips.
- Now focus on counting your breaths. One breath in. One breath out. Or Inhale one. Exhale one.
- Continue counting to five, ten, or until you find that distractions are clouding your mind. Then, start back at one again.