21-Day Meditation Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 17

Day 5: Count Down to Calm

20 min - Practice


Lets change things up a bit and explore a new technique and sitting position for today's meditation. We find our seat and alignment, move inward, and explore a simple counting practice to invite in a sense of focus and calm.
What You'll Need: No props needed


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Hi yogis, welcome to day five of your meditation challenge. I'm changing things up on us today. First of all, a new way to sit, Virasana. Some bodies like this better than crossed leg shapes. You may not find it works for you, but I'm offering it as a different way to sit.

So I'm up on a nice cushion. I've got my legs extending straight back, outer ankles draw in, and all of the toes spread down. So no rounding or sickling in your ankles. And then the inner thighs release down, just as we spent so much time aligning our spine and pelvis in the first four days. Be sure that your pelvis is aligned here, not rolling backwards, nor pitch too far forward.

Remember that idea of the bowl, the basin, nice and centered. So a new way, try it out to sit. Additionally, we're going to add new technique today. So we spent quite a bit of time as our meditation, aligning the body, getting the lift, relaxing, and then moving through those layers internally, mind, emotion, prana, energy. We'll do that today, but far more quickly.

That should start to just feel natural. That's what you do. You find your seat, you find your alignment, and you move inward. That begins to just feel how you meditate. So we'll do that.

I will guide you. But then instead of simply observing the breath, we're going to use a counting breath meditation. I learned this many years ago from one of my teachers, Eric Schiffman, and I used it for many years, and it was incredibly helpful. So once you're in rhythm with your natural breathing, you'll begin to count. Every exhalation, you'll count 50.

And on inhale, 49. And on exhale, 48. And you'll do that all the way down to 20. And when you get to 20, you will then only count exhalations. Exhale 20.

Inhale is silent. Exhale 19. Inhale is silent, just like that. So again, I'm going to guide you, but I wanted you to have an overview of how this meditation will start. I think you'll find it very calming and very grounding and a really helpful technique.

So let's begin. Now that you have your posture, I want you to close your eyes. Place the hands any way that's comfortable, at your lap, palms down, palms up, whatever you prefer. And then make that awareness, that adjustment and alignment of your physical body. If anything is not comfortable, feet, knees, thighs, make an adjustment.

You can always add more height to take unnecessary pressure out of your knees or feet. Just as we've done up through the spine, all the curves intact and that sense of lifting and lengthening. And there is that effort to stay aligned, but now there's a very clear sense of relaxing. Moving attention down the front of your body and scanning any pockets of tension or gripping that you can now release. So be sure to go all the way to the belly.

And all the way down through the sitting bones, thighs and feet. And then that internalization check-in. Hopefully you're finding this easier and easier and it's more natural, monitoring emotions, your current mood and feeling state, noticing quality of mind and attention today, general mental state, serving your own energy body, flow of prana, quality of energy. And then noticing your breath. So just as we've done in the first set of meditations, just noticing inhalation, exhalation, and even just what your breath feels like today.

Does it feel smooth, does it feel choppy, does it feel easy or maybe kind of tight? Simply paying attention. And resist any urge to shape your breath or deepen your breath. Let it be purely, purely natural. And then we're going to shift into our technique.

So the technique is here to support you and to keep you present and to give your mind a beneficial task. Don't get worried about getting the technique perfect or right. And if you find that you're suddenly distracted and you're thinking of something else and you've completely lost technique, you're just going to start back over. You're going to go back to the top, which will be 50. So when you're ready, the breath will stay natural and the counting will simply be linked to your natural breathing.

So when you exhale in your mind's eye, 50. And as inhale occurs, 49, exhale 48, inhale 47, and exhale 46, just like that, all the way down from 50 to 20. Again, if you realize you've stopped counting or you're thinking of something else, gently check yourself. Start over. You're counting to 50.

So you are counting each half of the breath. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, ten, ten, ten, ten, ten, ten, ten, ten, ten, ten, ten, ten, ten, tenΓ’?Β¦ Now, if you make it all the way down to 20, then it changes. If you don't make it to 20, remember you start back at 50 any time you distract or lose count. Once you hit 20, only count exhalations in your mind. Inhale is silent, exhale goes 20, and then 19.

So it feels like things are slowing down. And then 18. And the same rule applies. If you catch yourself thinking of something else, you've lost the meditative technique, go back to 50. Now.

Thank you. So keep counting wherever you are in the process. Unless you find yourself just very quietly, presently focused. And then the technique might just dissolve. That's different from being distracted.

That's different from being mentally busy. So if you simply find yourself quietly present, free of technique, excellent. Be there. But if you're distracted, go back to 50. Now if you successfully make it all the way through, make it all the way down to one.

Then you simply start again. Go back to 50, counting each half of the breath to 20, and then only count exhalations. And then you start again. So you start again. So you start again.

Now if you're noticing any kind of sinking or collapse in your body, rounding into the low back, you may need to realign your posture. So sit nice and tall. Find that plumb line. Relax around that internal lift. And we'll stay just about five more minutes.

Using the technique as your framework, but allowing yourself to become free of technique if you kind of get into that gap, that place of quiet, present stillness. All right. All right. All right. All right.

All right. All right. All right. And just last moments here, coming to the close of your meditation, noticing emotional content, mind, mental state, energy body, and spiritual connection. Observing the benefits of this particular meditation and technique.

Let's bring our palms together now to close, hands together at the heart. Namaste. And thank you for trying this new technique. I'm curious how it goes for you. Let me know.

Are you changing up your posture? Are you finding that the new technique is easier? Maybe you resonated more with the original technique. Check in. Let me know how it's going.

Thank you.


Curtis Hamilton
I like your guided meditation better. Using this technique, I never made it down to 1. I had to keep going back to 50 and starting over. But if I had to meditate without your guidance, I would try this technique more often.
Jenny S
3 people like this.
I love a good counting meditation, and this was a new one for me. It was very effective and calming. What I like about a counting meditation is that my mind does not wander as much as it does in a guided meditation. For me, a guided practice holds too many triggers for my imagination to run wild.

As for the posture, I always sit this way in meditation πŸ‘Œ
Debra D
2 people like this.
Thank you Nikki. This particular counting technique was new to me and I found it very serene. I find meditations guided by imagery rather too distracting. I like the neutrality of counting. But each to her own, right? I’m really enjoying this series πŸ“ΏπŸŽπŸ™πŸ»
Nikki Estrada
excellent Debra - yes to each their own which is why I offered so many techniques within this challenge. It is important to find what works for us!
2 people like this.
nice to try something different, with the seating and counting - though ended up moving back to crossed legs and ignoring the counting (after about 15 mins). missed the initial more detailed direction with the body scan. still interesting though, thanks.
Glenford N
1 person likes this.
Hi Nikki. I found the counting technique distracting so went back to simply observing my breath . I didn't change my posture. I enjoyed being in meditation longer and the sense of calm peace and contentment. Namaste
Kate M
1 person likes this.
I second what Jenny says above. This counting technique is a bit different from others I've used - I found it very effective.  My knees are not happy sitting for any length of time cross-legged, so seiza is my preferred posture. 
Nikola J
2 people like this.
Really loved this counting technique, very effective. Still finding I have to alter my seating position at some point due to damaged achillies /shortened hamstrings. But I find that's its not breaking my flow. Thank you, Namaste and Awen πŸ™
1 person likes this.
Hi Nikki, I have found all of your guided meditations helpful, including this one. I have really enjoyed checking in each day with my emotions and energy and have been surprised at the very different feelings and energy states each day. Today I felt very jumpy as I am attending a conference and will be presenting a paper. It was good to recognise my jumpiness.
Is it ok to visualise the numbers? I had so many distracting thoughts that I imagined them being contained within balloons shaped like the numbers! This was the way I found for containing them, and staying with the counting.
Samantha P
1 person likes this.
I loved this technique. I found myself really relaxing into it when I got below 20. I will definitely do this one often.
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