If you run a lot of workshops or facilitate group work, you probably have times when you are inviting people to work in small groups for short periods of time. You might want people to reflect on a question for a couple of minutes, or work in small groups for a half an hour or even just take 30 seconds to write an insight. Some people like to time this stuff out, pull out a stop watch and count the seconds, but there is a 2 for 1 technique you can use that gets the job done and sneaks in a few moments of meditation and mindfulness.
Your mileage may vary but it turns out that for me, a full in breath and out breath lasts about six seconds. So now instead of timing things with a stop watch, i just sit and breathe. Ten breaths equals a minute. When I give a thirty second warning, I just take five breaths and call the group back. Counting breaths is a well known meditation technique which focuses the mind, stills the thoughts and promotes mindfulness. And if you are anything like me, that is a welcome practice in hosting strategic conversations and learning. It’s good for you, and as a host, good for the group.