Mindfulness Meditation 6 – Focus on Counting & Breathing

Mindful Mondays wk 13


This week, I decided to focus on another technique I was taught to use when practicing mindfulness meditation. For this technique, it combines counting and breathing as the basis for the practice.

Focus: counting, breathing

Time: continue until you reach the end of the counting exercise

Body: sitting or lying

Technique: for this technique, choose a comfortable position and spend the initial minute or so just trying to get into a state of relaxation.

Pay attention to your shoulders and jaw where we can hold tension. Allow those parts of the body – and any other area you might hold tension – to relax.

For this technique, you will combine breathing with a specified counting technique. When you are ready to start, take a breath in and in your head count ‘1’ and then as you breathe out, again count ‘1’.

On the next breath in, again count ‘1’ and as you breathe out count ‘2’.

For the next cycle, the breath in will again be ‘1’ and the breath out will be ‘3’.

Continue to do so until you reach 1-10 after which you will take a deep breath (no counting) and then start from 2-1.

Basically, you will start at 1-1 and work all the way up to ’10-10’ at which point the exercise can finish. It sounds easy but it is a good exercise in not only awareness, but focus. You mind will naturally wander so it is easy to get distracted and forget where you were up to. If you lose track, you should either start again or start from the last number you can remember.

As a reminder, the counting should proceed like so:

1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6, 1-7, 1-8, 1-9, 1-10 / Finish with a breath in and out but no counting

2-1, 2-2, 2-3, 2-4, 2-5, 2-6, 2-7, 2-8, 2-9, 2-10 / Finishing with a breath in and out but no counting

3-1, 3-2….and so on until you reach 10-10.

It’s quite a tricky task but as I noted, it is a good exercise in being mindful of the breath and counting.

About the Author:

Toby Mizzi (Counselling Psychologist)

Toby shares his time between the Strong Minds Psychology team, Swinburne University, and his young family. He is passionate about providing individualised support, and empowering people to enhance their mental health. Toby provides counselling and therapy for children, adolescents, adults and couples – helping with depression, anxiety, self-esteem, relationship difficulties, grief & loss, and family conflict. Mindful Mondays will be a regular blog on our website and Facebook page. 

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