How do you feel about meditation?
Do you find yourself struggling to get into it?
Maybe you’re easily distracted, always wondering how much time you’ve got left?
Don’t worry – I totally hear you. This was one of my biggest issues when I first started meditating, and honestly, if I’m not in the right frame of mind when I begin, this can still be an issue for me.
Well, it WAS, until I stumbled upon this little meditation technique by accident!
What happened was, I started meditating one day and realised a minute or two in, that I’d forgotten to set my timer.
I’ll be totally honest – I was feeling really lazy that day. My phone was on the other side of the room and I just couldn’t be bothered to go and get it to set the timer. So I decided that I would start again, timing the meditation in breaths instead. I’d already been put off by forgetting the timer and had lost all motivation for a full session.
So – I closed my eyes and took twenty slow, full, deep breaths. Once those were done, I returned to my normal breathing pattern and sat in stillness for a few extra moments.
Then I opened my eyes, and immediately noticed how refreshed I felt. My mind was SO clear.
What started as a lazy shortcut excuse for a meditation practice ended as one of the best meditation practices I’ve ever had. Isn’t life funny like that, ay?
There was no distraction.
There was no antsy-ness, or wondering when it would be over.
And in those short moments, I received some inspiration (to make meditating with this technique a daily practice as my commitment to myself for the month).
Which lead to this blog post you’re reading right now.
That’s some pretty big inspo for 20 deep breaths.
So, here it is:
The perfect meditation technique for people who get bored easily (me x100!!!)
- Sit or lie – it’s up to you.
- Ditch the timer.
- Close your eyes.
- Commit to taking 20 deep, full breaths.
When I say full, I mean inhale until you no longer can, then hold – for just a second – then exhale until you no longer can, emptying out all the breath.
On the inhale, focus on nothing but the breath and silencing your mind. Then focus on that moment of stillness in between the inhale and the exhale.
Then on the exhale, silently count the number you’re on in your mind.
Once you’ve done all 20 breaths, return to your normal breathing pattern and sit in stillness until you feel ready to open your eyes.
Have a notepad and pen by your side for when you’re done, and jot down anything that came up during the session. Even if you feel like you have nothing to write, just put the pen to paper and trust me, the inspiration will come.
If you enjoy the technique, you can increase the number of breaths you take with each meditation session. Go for 25 tomorrow. 30 the day after that. Then 35, 40, 45…you get it.
You can also increase or decrease the number of breaths you take depending on how long of a session you need. On a stressful day, you might want to take 50! You could do less than 20, but personally, I find that doesn’t feel like a good, thorough session.
20 is the optimal number in my opinion. Short enough to not feel like a chore, but long enough to get a lot out of it.
Why this meditation technique works
To focus on your breathing sounds simple enough, but putting it into practice, especially when you have a mind as kooky as mine, is a big challenge!
This works because you literally have to be focused on your breath, and when you’re trying to keep count of something, that doesn’t leave much room for thought about anything else.
Having said that – please don’t think that the counting will be distracting. It sounds like it should be, but it really isn’t.
It helps to keep you focused on the present moment, which eliminates the whole distraction of focusing on time. You won’t find yourself wondering how long is left because with every count you’ll know.
It’s the perfect challenge
Yes – challenge. This is not an easy ride or free pass into the world of meditation.
Having said that – I wouldn’t get too ambitious with the number to start with.
Don’t be fooled – 20 deep, full breaths does not take 20 seconds.
I’d recommend building up to a higher number slowly, just like you would if you were meditating in minutes. This technique still requires focus and discipline, especially as you increase the number of breaths. It’s tempting to rush through them on your busier days, and the challenge is to execute the discipline to not do that.
But it’s the perfect challenge because it’s so easy to commit to. When you have a super busy lifestyle, the best thing you could do for yourself is to take the time to slow down and meditate. I like this saying:
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”
That speaks to my soul.
But when you really are too busy, taking a whole 20 minutes out of your day to sit and breathe just seems counterproductive, no?
But with this meditation technique, you simply tell yourself ‘it’s only 20 deep breaths’, and you’ll show up.
It just sounds so much more doable, right?!
The best times to use this meditation technique:
When you’re feeling stressed, anxious or nervous about something
When you’re feeling uninspired
When you’re feeling overwhelmed