100 Breaths Meditation
The 100 Breaths Meditation is a very simple breathing meditation that can be practised anytime you want to calm and centre your mind.
Try it in the morning for a gentle contemplative start to your day, or in the evening to clear and relax your mind before sleep. You could also practice a shorter version of just 10 breaths anytime you want to reduce stress and relax throughout your day.
By using your breath as the focus of your meditation you will find yourself settling into a peaceful inwardly focused practice, and the more you do it, the better you will feel.
If practising in the morning you may find it beneficial to shower first. Showering cleanses the mind as well as the body and will help you feel less sleepy during your meditation.
Sitting crossed legged on the floor is ideal, but not essential, the main thing is to be comfortable and have your back straight.
If candles, incense, or gentle music help you enter into a relaxed and contemplative state you can take a minute or two to set your space for meditation. And as you do, prepare your mind to open to the experience with no expectation.
When you are ready to begin, settle down and rest your hands loosely in your lap. Your eyes can be open, or closed, however you feel most comfortable. This breathing meditation will take about 10-15 minutes.
Breathing and Being
In this breathing practice you don't need to direct your breath in anyway, all you need to do is breath naturally and count each breath.
Begin at 100 and count backwards: 99, 98, 97 etc.
Give your full attention to each breath, feel it come and go of it's own accord and count it. Become curious about your breath, notice how it feels, notice how it sounds.
Count each breath and experience it fully.
Challenges and Tips
Your mind will wander. It's what the mind does! Don't be concerned about it, just bring your mind back as soon as you notice and continue counting and watching your breath.
Sometimes it helps to label your thoughts with detached acknowledgement. For example, just saying “thought”. This let's your mind know you heard it, but that you're not getting into it right now.
Your breathing pattern might change, it might deepen or become more steady and rhythmic. Just note it and continue. The aim of this practice is to just sit and breathe and count.
If your legs begin to ache, adjust your posture, have a blanket or cushion with you. Sometimes it helps to support your knees by placing a cushion under them. A blanket is also useful in case you begin to feel cold.
Benefits and New Beginnings
Your breath is a powerful tool. It is the only function in your body that can happen automatically or under your conscious direction.
By learning to notice your breath and taking time out to sit with it you will benefit from being able to pull your mind and senses away from all the noise and business of the world outside and retreat to a peaceful space within you where you can feel still and quiet and at peace.