I held a 20-minute plank once. Navy SEALs -- the very elite special operations unit of the military -- go through training where they hold a plank for 45 minutes.
Yep! Totally nuts! ...or is it? What is your limit? After all, your body can only go as far as your mind will take it.
Navy SEALs do several things to pull off a 45-minute plank. But, one, in particular, is my favorite, and I've adopted it into my day-to-day life.
It's called box breathing, takes 1-minute, and you can do it anywhere -- when I feel overwhelmed, stressed, or just need to focus and gather my thoughts and energy, I box breathe. I do so at my desk at work, in the car, and, of course, while pushing myself exercising.
For me, meditation is a way to focus my thoughts, energy, and to find calm at any given moment. That's what box breathing has helped me do and I love that it's so simple and can do it whenever I need it.
How it works:
1. Whatever you may be doing, stop for a minute (literally!), so you can focus on your thoughts, energy, and breathing. The goal is to focus your thoughts and energy. So if you're writing an email, for example, your thoughts and energy are focused on the email. But if you're running, then your body is focused on running and your thoughts and mental energy can focus on breathing. So, put yourself in a place where you can focus on just breathing.
2. Be present with your body. Focus on your body and what it's doing. What are your feet doing? Are your legs crossed? Are your arms crossed? Are you punching a heavy bag? Be present with your body.
3. Be present with your energy. How are you feeling? Are you calm? Are your thoughts racing? Do you feel tired? Do you feel energetic? Tap into how you feel and just honor that and be present with your energy.
4. Now, the breathing. It's called box breathing because it has 4 'sides', but it's more like 4 parts:
- Breathe in deeply for 5 seconds.
- Hold the air in for 5 seconds.
- Breathe out deeply for 5 seconds.
- Hold no air for 5 seconds.
Do this 3 times, that's 1 minute. So in 1 minute, you take only breathes.
Sometimes I even just do this once (so for 20 seconds), and I feel refreshed -- like when I restart my computer, I do this to sort of restart my focus and energy.
This is what I do to meditate and collect my energy. But modify it to make it work for you -- close your eyes, breathe standing, do a 60-minute plank(!) -- whatever works for you.
Here's an in-depth video if you'd like to go deeper.
QUESTION FOR YOU: Do you use a meditation app? Is there something you use to focus your energy? Feel free to comment to share it with others.
CHALLENGE: Try box breathing right now. Where ever you are. Just take a minute. Or, the next time you go to check social media, do a minute of box breathing first.