Meditation Idea: 3 Minute Breath
I’ve been trying to meditate on a more regular basis. What I mean is, I’ve been trying to sit quietly in sukasana (easy pose) and calm my “monkey mind” (as they say in Buddhist meditation) that likes to jump from idea to idea with uncanny zig-zagging speed. I can easily find my zen place during a moving asana practice, flowing with my breath from pose to pose, stilling the mind and slipping almost effortlessly into “the zone”. But as soon as I sit down, my mind starts to race. I know I’m not alone in finding meditation to be a challenge sometimes, so I thought I’d share some relatively simple ideas to help you meditate as well. I’ve found these tidbits of meditation inspiration from a variety of sources, and I will certainly give credit when I can.
The first idea came from a book that I recently read by Max Strom called A Life Worth Breathing. The idea is simple: count your breath for 3 minutes. I set my handy dandy meditation timer widget on my laptop for 3 minutes, close my eyes, and count. Inhale slowly 1, exhale slowly 1. Inhaaaaale 2, exhaaaaale 2. And so on and so forth until the timer gently chimes that my 3 minutes are up. Strom says that eventually over time, after building up your lung resilience with this practice, you will be able to take just one full breath for the entire 3 minutes (1.5 min inhale, 1.5 min exhale). I’m not there yet, but this goal isn’t really the point for me. I find this exercise to be extremely helpful to simply bring me into the present moment. It soothes my shaky central nervous system, helps me to gently “settle into stillness” and is a really great way to start my meditation practice. After I do this 3 minute breath exercise, then I set the timer again for however long I want to meditate. Sometimes it’s only 7 minutes (for a total of a brief 10 minute meditation), and sometimes it’s 23 (for a longer 30 minute meditation). It varies by day. I say, ever little bit counts. Every little bit matters.
Please let me know if this meditation idea helps you!