The calming exhale

There are many different ways to meditate. One simple, timeless, but still challenging, method is to count the breath.

 

*  Sit somewhere quiet, warm and comfortable, with your spine tall. If you are sitting crossed legged, sit on at least one block or cushion - preferably more. To sit in comfort, your hips should be higher than your knees.

 

*  Close the eyes, or half close them. Soften the gaze.

 

*  Bring your attention to your posture, ensuring a tall, but relaxed spine, shoulders dropping, face and jaw relaxed. Have your hands resting on your knees, or even supported on a cushion, on your lap (this prevents the body falling fowards).

 

*  Become aware of your breath, without changing the breathing - its texture and feeling tone. Begin to count to ten, on each exhale. So inhale exhale one, inhale exhale two, etc.

 

* When you reach ten, count backwards, in the same way, on each outbreath.

 

You are sure to lose count and become distracted repeatedly by thoughts. That's completely normal and human. Simple notice your distraction, and the nature of your thought, and begin again from 'one'.

 

This is a simple practice, but hugely challenging. Be patient and kind to yourself. Over time, and with much practice, it becomes easier, and your mind will be less distracted, more focused, and you may well have a clearer perspective on life.

 

This is a life time's practice, with no immediate 'goal', other than to count the breath, and observe distractions.

 

Set aside 5 or 10 minutes a day for this practice - early morning, after you get up, is by far the best time.

 

 

The writer, Lucia Cockcroft (Yoga Abode's editor), teaches meditation and yoga in London and Essex. She also teaches retreats, and will be leading a yoga and meditation escape in rural South-West France this August/September. 

 

 

 

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