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Week 1 Flourishing: Counting Breath Practice

Counting Breath Practice


One of the biggest challenges we come across when we start to meditate or put our attention on anything for a period of time for that matter is staying present on the task at hand and not getting caught up in a variety of distractions that range from thoughts about the future, worrying, ruminating about the past, daydreaming, or lost in the running commentary that your mind creates about whatever you’re experiencing. Being able to be aware, focused, present, and hold our concentration at will on an object form the foundation of flourishing in all dimensions of our life experience ranging from personal relationships to professional careers.


This exercise is a meditation with counting breaths.  In 5-10 minutes of practice, the aim to reach 10 breaths without losing track or having your minds wander.  If you suddenly realize your mind has been wandering, then start over at 1 again. If you reach 10, then start over again.  The objective is not to approach the exercise as a competition, but to notice that your ability to focus is dependent upon what is happening to you each day.  Aim to  conduct the exercise simply with curiosity and an intention to practice strengthening your capacity for focus.


Guided Practice

Begin by finding a stable and comfortable position for your body.  If you are seated in a chair sit upright with your back straight but not stiff and your feet planted on the ground underneath you.  If you are seated on a cushion, gently cross your ankles or place one foot in front of the other and allow your knees to rest gently as you sit towards the end of your cushion with your spine straight but not still.  No matter what position you are in allow your shoulders to be at ease, relax the muscles in your face, and rest your hands intentionally either on your thighs or together in the center of your lap.

Start by noticing your breath as it is in this moment.  How deep is your breath, what is its pace, how far into your body can you feel it moving, what is its temperature?


Now, begin counting your breaths – one full breath (inhale and exhale) count as one.

Aim to reach 10 breaths without losing track or your mind wandering.  If you suddenly realize you have had your mind wandering, then start over at 1 again.

Remember, this is not a competition to see who can or can’t do it.  In fact, at different times we will have different capacities so as we practice in whatever state our mind is in, refrain from judging yourself.  There is just curiosity and practice.  

So now begin.  If you get to 10, then start over again until you hear the sound of the bell to signify the end of our time for this exercise.




Ring Bell  

Now when you are ready slowly open your eyes and begin to reawaken your body to subtle movement, stretching gently or massaging your feet if you are seated on a cushion.


Week 1 Flourishing: Counting Breath Practice
Collection Art and Science of Human Flourishing 2018
Visibility Public - accessible to all site users (default)
UID mandala-texts-47841