It’s of this hippy’s opinion that if the average person could experience the feeling one has in deep meditation they would be hooked. Not only is it supremely blissful and relaxing, but the benefits of a meditation practice include reduced stress, increased happiness and can improve health in some astonishing ways.
Studies have show that meditators have longer telomeres (an indicator of biological age), a stronger immune system, more gray matter in their brains, and healthier hearts. In fact, a 2008 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a study showing that 40 of 60 high blood pressure patients who started meditating could stop taking their blood pressure medication.
So the advantages are obvious, but why doesn’t everyone take part in this easy and free way of increasing their vitality?
“Meditation is too hard, my mind is too chaotic and I don’t have time” is usually the response I get from people when I ask them if they partake. Sitting in silence for 20 minutes can seem pretty daunting for someone who’s never meditated before. Even intermediate meditators might feel like 20 minutes is unrealistic.
But what if I told you that you could get most of meditation’s physical and mental benefits in under two minutes?
This method begins and ends with the breath. Focusing on the breath is a huge part of yoga and meditation, and promotes a calm state within the body. Many forms of meditation focus on the breath as an anchor for concentration and this short meditation is no different.
Now on to the method:
10 Breath 4-2-6 Meditation
How to do it:
1. Sit comfortably with a straight spine. I like doing this before bed and after I wake up, so I usually just sit back against the bed’s headboard.
2. Gently place the tip of your tongue at the intersection of your front teeth and the roof of your mouth, and keep it there through the entire exercise.
3. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
4. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
5. Hold your breath for a count of two.
6. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of six.
7. This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle nine more times for a total of ten breaths.
By keeping your mind focused on counting and visualizing each number, much like in mantra meditation, your mind has an anchor that will dissuade peripheral thoughts from entering your space. Inevitably, random thoughts will enter your mind. In those instances give them a moment of acknowledgment and then return to the numbers.
Ideally, you should do this twice a day, and after a month you can increase from ten to twenty breaths. After doing my ten breaths I feel very light and relaxed, but if you don’t get this feeling right away don’t be discouraged. With practice, you’ll sink deeper and deeper into bliss. Personally, I do the exercise before my morning meditation and right before sleeping. It does a great job of relaxing my mind before I settle into either activity.
You can also use this breathing technique to get through moments of stress and anxiety. For that, focus less on the number of breaths and more on being present with the feeling until it naturally subsides.
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