Mindfulness meditation, when practiced regularly, has several benefits. Reducing stress, anxiety, and helping one cope with depression are just a few of them. One study conducted by Harvard found that mindfulness meditation enhances cognitive function and increases the density of gray matter in the brain. While many people know the myriad benefits associated with mindfulness meditation, most people find it very difficult to cultivate mindfulness.
So how does one get better at mindfulness? The first thing to do would be to set aside just five minutes a day to meditate. And the way to meditate is to focus on your breath – the inhale and the exhale. Every time the mind wanders (as it most definitely will), bring your awareness back to the breath. The first week, just set aside five minutes a day to practice breathing meditation. As you familiarize yourself with this practice, you will notice yourself extending the meditation session and you will also find it much easier to be mindful of daily activities.
How to Do 5-Minute Breathing Meditation
1) Find a comfortable place. Be seated on the floor or cushion. Sit in sukhasana (cross-legged pose) if you’re comfortable in this pose. Otherwise, be seated on the chair with your hands resting on the knees. Make sure your spine is erect.
2) Breathe normally. Notice the sensations in your body. Relax completely and make sure you are comfortable in this position.
3) As you are breathing normally, notice the inhalation and exhalation. There will be a brief pause after the inhalation ends and exhalation begins. Notice this pause.
4) Now start taking deep breaths. As you inhale, count to four. Hold your breath for four seconds and then exhale slowly and completely for six seconds. This is the 4-4-6 breathing which is usually practiced in different Pranayama breathing techniques.
5) As you are meditating, your mind may wander. This is natural. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Whenever this happens, just bring your awareness back to the breath and continue taking deep breaths.
6) Practice breathing meditation for five minutes. Keep a timer beside you if it helps. As you approach the end of your meditation session, bring your awareness back to the room and slowly open your eyes. Notice the sensations in your body once again.
Continue to practice breathing meditation for five minutes every day and within no time, you will find yourself clocking in more minutes. This will also help you cultivate mindfulness in your daily life.
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