Have you ever finished a chapter in a book and had no idea what you just read? Or driven home without ‘knowing’ how you got there? That’s what I thought.

We spend a lot of time in auto-pilot or thinking mode, without being really focussed on the present. Instead, we’re all the more focussed on past happenings, future worries and every other stressor in today’s society. Just as training your physical body through different activities and sports, you can also train your mind through different meditation techniques.

De-stress Retreats and Digital Detox Holidays are great options if you want to learn more about meditation and mindfulness practices. But why not start today from the comfort of your own home!

Now, I can tell you to ‘prepare’ for meditation (wear comfortable clothes, find a nice cushion, stretch first, decide how long you want to meditate and more of that) but the truth is, all you need is your body and your breath.

1. First thing in the morning

Meditating is easier said than done, and chances are you’ll end up being ‘too busy’ to do it. So the best thing is to practice first thing in the morning. Check in with yourself after waking up and simply accept how you feel (anxious, content, happy).

2. Start with 5 minutes

Or even 2 minutes if needs be. You don’t have to set a timer (unless you need to be somewhere), just try to meditate as long as you are comfortable with and gradually increase your ‘me-time’. You can check what time it is before you begin if you want to monitor your progress.

3. Find a comfortable place to sit

You can choose to lie down to meditate but chances are, you’ll fall back asleep.. So find a comfortable place to sit, cross-legged or kneeling, on a cushion, mat or chair, with a straight spine. Close your eyes, try to relax your body and start to concentrate on your breath.

 4. Relax and Breathe

When I started my practice, it was because I got hooked on ‘moving meditation’. I went to yoga 5 days per week and often participated in Vinyasa classes in which you follow a flowing sequence of postures that is coordinated with your breath. And I felt amazing afterwards. My mind was clear, I felt happy, energetic and genuinely calm. I figured I wanted to be able to use my breath to create the same result in the comfort of my own home, which is why I looked into breathing meditation.

It’s usually nice to start with an exaggerated breath: Inhale deeply but slowly through your nose, hold your breath and let it go through your mouth by literally sighing. Then simply follow your breath in and out of your nose. You don’t necessarily have to ‘do’ anything to your breath. You can let it flow naturally in and out of your chest or belly and just observe it.


5. Mantra and counting

Your mind will wander. It’s completely normal and almost definitely a given. Meditating is not about ‘clearing your mind’ of your thoughts, it’s about observing your thoughts and accepting them.

If you do notice your mind is racing and you’re getting distracted easily, using a mantra or counting your breaths during your practice will help. A mantra can be as simple as silently saying ‘let’ when you inhale and ‘go’ when you exhale.

When counting, take deep and slow breaths and count from 1 to 8 on the in-breath and back from 8 to 1 on the out-breath. The more relaxed you become, the longer and slower you’ll be able to breathe in and out. Taking these nourishing breaths really calms your nervous system and makes you feel less anxious.

6. Pranayama

Pranayama is another form of breathing meditation. Prana means ‘life force’ or ‘breath’. Ayama means ‘to control the breath’.

This ancient Indian practice will allow you to physically calm your nervous system which in turn sends a message to your brain that all is well and peaceful so your mind starts to relax. It’s a very powerful technique to reduce stress, anxiety and to bring awareness to body and mind.

Follow these 4 steps:


Slowly take a deep inhale, breathing in from your belly and up into your lungs using the diaphragm (your main muscle for respiration, located just below the lungs) for a count of 4.

Hold Your Breath 

Retain the air you just inhaled for a count of 4.


Slowly and steadily start to exhale the air in your lungs for a count of 8. Really push the air out of your lungs by moving your diaphragm inwards and upwards.


When your lungs are empty, pause for a count of 4 before you inhale again. Try to keep your muscles relaxed before you start the next cycle of breath. You can adjust the number of counts to whatever you’re comfortable with, but try to either make your in- and exhale the same length or double the exhales. In the advanced version, you can slowly start to move your chin towards your chest when you inhale, hold that posture when you retain your breath and move your head back up when you exhale. Pause and repeat for as long as comfortable. Try at least 5 minutes.

7. Body scan

Once you’ve familiarised yourself with breathing meditation, you can start doing a body scan. During a body scan you focus on a particular body part at a time. Start at the soles of your feet (or the top of your head) and make your way up through your toes, ankles, shins etc. Pay attention to each body part. How do they feel? Is there any discomfort or pain? Are you holding any tension? If so, just let it go and relax each part as you move along.

If you’re not comfortable meditating on your own, there are some great apps that provide guided meditations and body scans. My favourites are Insight Timer, Headspace and Calm.

For more tips and techniques on how to reduce stress and improve your wellbeing in general, download our free Wellness Guide.