Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Simple Practice

I wanted to return to an earlier post and present again a simple meditation technique that anyone can practice.  It’s called the Twenty Breaths Practice and I learned it at the Penn Program for Mindfulness.  It only takes a few minutes, can be performed almost anywhere, and can yield great stress relief.

Sit comfortably but with good posture.  Let your hands fall naturally onto your legs or into your lap.  Close your eyes.  Focus your mind on your breath and feel the rise and fall of your abdomen.  Begin counting.  On each exhale count one, then two, and up to ten.  Then count exhales down from nine to zero.  Your mind will certainly wander.  Don’t chase your thoughts, just let them go.  You may lose your place.  Just return to a number, to the breath, and continue.  When you reach zero sit for a moment longer, hearing the sounds around you, again sensing your breath.  Then open your eyes.

Try this three times each day for a few weeks.  I stuck with it and found that it helped me to focus and to relax.  If you find benefit from this practice too, come back.   I’ll keep putting up posts to help you deepen your practice.  I do believe that mental illness can be managed, and that mindfulness is key to successfully living with a mental illness.  Thanks for visiting here, and Happy New Year.

“The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character, and will.”
                                                                                                -William James

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