Is not having enough time your big excuse for why you can’t meditate? How about not being able to quiet your mind? Well guess what? Meditation problem: solved! You can get so many of the benefits of a regular meditation practice from just 1 minute a day of breathing. Just breathing! I think a big part of the anxiety people have around meditation is that it is this big hard thing that takes years to master. When you stop thinking about it as Meditation with a capital M, and start thinking of it just as sitting quietly and breathing with intention, so much of that anxiety and aversion goes away! Below, you’ll find a sequence of two types of breathing that you can do in conjunction with one another for just one minute… Or extend the meditation for as long as you want. Harnessing the powerful Bhastrika breath described below is all you need to bring your attention back to your breath when your mind starts to wander. And it’s really as simple as that!
Sit comfortably, upright in your chair, with your hands in your lap.
Start by breathing for about 30 seconds using a Bhastrika or bellows breath: Breathe deep through your nose, in and out, using all five lobes of your lungs like a big bellows. Use your lungs in and out as much as you can, only in and only out through your nose. You do that for about 30 seconds. Our upper lungs have stress receptors that get activated when our breath is shallow, which is how most of us breath throughout the day. When we use our lower lungs, like in bhastrika, we activate calm receptors that soothe our nervous system.
Next, breathe for the next 30 seconds doing an Ujjayi breath: This is kind of the classic yoga breath where you actually do a snoring or ocean sound through your nose. Constrict your stomach muscles and force that snoring sound out through your nose. You do that for about 30 seconds. You can repeat this one-minute sequence as many times as you like. Do bellows breath as deep in and as deep out as you can for 30 seconds and follow this with 30 seconds of silence breathing through an ujjayi or ocean breath.
Extended Meditation: If you would like to meditate longer, you can start by doing Bhastrika breath for 30 seconds.Then use Ujjayi breath and sit quietly until you start thinking again. When you feel thoughts resurfacing do Bhastrika for 10-20 seconds to quiet your mind. Sit quietly again using Ujjayi breath until thoughts arise and follow once again with Bhastrika for 10-20 seconds. Follow this cycle until you feel you are done meditating.