Five Breaths

While it’s not a full blown sitting-on-a-cushion meditation, when practiced each morning it can set the tone for the day. It’s not long, so it can be inserted easily into your morning routine.

How to Practice

Your usual morning routine plays a part in this meditation. Choose a time when you normally step outside – whether it’s for a breath of air first thing after waking up, or when you are rushing out to work.

Then go about the rest of your routine.

Through the day you may or may not remember that moment of quiet joy first thing. If you do remember it, take a breath while you remember the pleasant sensation the meditation brought, and to intend to repeat the experience the next morning. If you don’t remember it, know that these quiet moments are being carried by you and colouring your day – whatever your day brings.


If you breathe quickly, you may want to give each step two or three breaths.

I find the best time for me to do this is right after I awaken, when my mind is still a bit lazy and foggy and I feel that there’s not much to think about. It helps sidestep my tendency to have an opinion about the weather and gives me a better chance to just enjoy it.

This is another of those simple meditations that can fool us into thinking it’s not powerful. If you have strong habits in the morning that make it difficult to insert a routine like this, don’t give up. Strong habits can take strong intention to change. Write a note for yourself that you might see when you awaken. Or imagine yourself doing it – picture yourself remembering and taking pleasure in it. Or remind yourself that you have time to take five simple conscious breaths.

Don’t worry if by the fifth breath you don’t feel much of a sense of joy. We all cycle in and out of different levels of joy. Just do the meditation anyhow and know that something in it is working for you.

You can repeat this meditation anytime, even right after having done it in the morning.