This post originally appeared on Mind Body Green where I regularly blog about the benefits of yoga and meditation.
Meditation is a relatively quick way to set a calm, attentive, and balanced tone to your day. Whether you’re new to meditation or experienced, several minutes a day can go a long way.
In the guide below, you’ll practice relaxing while focusing your awareness on the breath. It’s normal that your mind will wander off the breath an unbelievable amount of times, it’s human nature!
When you notice your mind wandering, that is a fundamental component of meditating. After you notice your mind just meandered, accept your mind meandering with compassion (like it’s no big deal) and go back to watching your breath.
In a way, this process of relaxed focus, wandering off, and coming back is like doing push-ups. You’re training your mind to be calm, awake, and resilient.
Take 3 minutes now and do this before you start your weekend.
Step 1. Find a comfortable seated or reclined position
Find a spot where you can be physically still for three minutes or longer. I often sit up against my headboard in bed, but you can sit on a cushion, a chair, or even lie down with your knees bent.
Wherever you can remain comfortable and alert will do just fine.
Step 2. Set a timer
I use a free app called the meditation timer, but you can also just use the timer on your watch or iPhone. You can set it for anywhere from three to 20 minutes. The more you meditate, the longer you will likely be able to do it for.
If you’re just getting started feel free to begin with 3 minutes. Trust me, it’s harder than it sounds!
Step 3. Close your eyes and breathe naturally
Try to relax your body, even if it feels awkward. Notice your breath in the belly for five cycles or so.
Now shift your awareness higher into the ribs and notice how your breath feels in the ribs for five cycles. Next, bring your attention to how your breath feels in your chest for five cycles.
Step 4. Pick a region (belly, ribs, chest) that seems like the easiest spot for you to pay attention to your breath
Keep watching your breath, and when your mind wanders, accept your mind wandering with kindness, and restart watching your breath again (and again, and again).
Continue to do this until the timer runs out! It may be difficult at first, and you may able to do it for a few minutes. Trust that it will get easier with time and how frequently you practice!
How did that work for you? Please share your experience in the comments below.