A meditation teacher once told me not to underestimate the power of 5 minutes. As you can tell from my blog posts and newsletters, that advice has made an impression.
It is so easy to fall into the time trap, believing you don’t have enough time. You can’t take care of yourself. You don’t have enough time to do what is important to you.
But what if you do?
There is a saying that you should meditate for 20 minutes a day. Unless you are busy. Then you should meditate for an hour. And I appreciate both the humor and the point. But what if these 5 minute moments in our day snowball and create a powerful force in our lives.
This past winter, I went to a breathing workshop. One practice was to breathe in for the count of five and then breathe out for the count of five. The length of time was five minutes. The practice is to do this at least three times a day.
The idea behind the length of practice time and number of times practiced during the day is a structure of behavior that can make a big impact on how we feel, how we care for ourselves, how we think and behave. Because, the benefits of doing this breathwork for five minutes last for about 4 hours. If you practice this breathing at regular intervals, you are giving yourself doses of medicine throughout your day.
Powerful stuff. And the teacher was very clear: Do it at least three times a day for 5 minutes. Not once in the morning for 20 minutes.
Here is an exercise to help you expand the way you think about time and open yourself up to new possibilities.
Spend a day (or your life) noticing and ask yourself these three questions:
- How do you spend those small moments of downtime? Do you check your email or Facebook?
- Before you reach for your phone or computer, could you do a breathing practice or something else you find beneficial?
- What are you avoiding by remaining busy?
Now take action:
- Decide when you are going to take five minutes.
- Decide what you are going to practice.
- Put it into your calendar. If you use a calendar on your phone, set an alarm.
- You can also be more freeform about it: Take five minutes and decide what to do in the moment.
- Do it!
Did anything you observed or experienced surprise you? I'd love to hear about it! And I have focused this post on practicing yoga, but you can apply it to any activity that is meaningful to you. Always wanted to draw, but never "find the time?" Try this approach!
Leave a comment to share. You may become the inspiration someone else needed!