The Concentration Exercise

In addition to helping improve your overall focus and concentration, the Concentration Exercise can be used a pre-meditation exercise. Helping to prepare your mind so that you can meditate more effectively after having practiced it awhile. It can branch out into various visualization exercises, but it is initially taught as follows:

Close your eyes, and visualize a number in your mind. 50 is a good place to start, but some may want to start with 20. The goal is to count backwards in your mind, seeing each number clearly before going on to the next number. You can think of the number being up on a movie screen. Take notice how often you lose track, or you may even start again when you do to challenge yourself. See how many attempts it takes to get to zero without losing track.

When you reach zero, you are finished with the exercise and may just continue to sit quietly until it becomes uncomfortable. How long? That depends on you. If it is causing stress, then it is too long.

It is interesting to note how the Concentration Exercise naturally leads one to focus on the third eye point. As you visualize, it is as if you are creating a mental screen where you are seeing the numbers.

After you can consistently count down from 50 to zero without losing track, raise the bar by starting with a higher number. Next time try beginning with 75 or 100. Keep working your way from a higher number down to zero. You should not be counting too quickly. Counting back from 300 should take you about 15 minutes, give or take a few minutes.

Over time, as your ability to focus and concentrate on the numbers without losing track increases, you should find it easier to stay on your focal point during meditation practice. Added bonus: you will find your ability concentrate at work and home will also improve.

Remember, as with all training and exercises, consistency is key. Just keep at it and you’ll get there.

About the Author Laura

Leave a Comment:

Concentration Exercises says July 28, 2010

[…] Concentration Exercise – Learn to Improve your Concentration […]

Brian says August 4, 2010

I tried this concentration exercise and I must admit that it was difficult for me at first. I ended up just trying to do 10 and now, after a few days of doing this exercise before I go to bed I am now at 40! Thanks for sharing this.

Rain says August 4, 2010

Ditto, this concentration exercise is a great mind-warm up as I call it before I meditate. I would usually countdown from 60 visualizing the numbers passing thru a screen and watch as it fades from the frame as well. The moment I finish, I no longer have any notion of how much time have elapsed. I just sat there.

Chris says August 4, 2010

Interesting. This is the first time I have heard of a concentration exercise. This looks like something I can try out later. Thank you so much.

Becca says September 30, 2010

Because I am a mother I am always thinking in my mind, “how can this help the kids?” I got to thinking that this would really help a lot of those children out there who struggle with ADHD. I like that it is progressive in that you increase as you improve. I think that at my next Girl Scout meeting I may have to give these tricks a try with the kids! I think that they would like it and it would offer them the ability early in life to concentrate and meditate.

Carrie says September 30, 2010

I think that this is such an important thing to do! Too many people do not understand the medical benefits to meditation. It is a powerful thing and I always recommend that my patients give it a try!

carm says November 10, 2012

this looks like more of a beginers exercise.
i find it very easy to do. i have read this one before, but it was to cure insomnia.
you do the regular countdown, and at the same time visualize your day as if you have a camera,
you will probably get to zero before you finish, so then start up from 2 a ll the way up to the number
you started. not trying to take away from the original exercise, just thought would add something to it.

Shifu Ahles says November 12, 2012

Hello carm, thanks for the comment!

You are correct in saying that it is a beginner’s exercise. When we teach meditation the Concentration Exercise is considered the prerequisite. We have multiple ways to practice this, including going by 3s, 7s, or whatever you like. However, going forward is generally too easy and most can do that while still allowing their mind to wander.

Which brings me to your suggestion,

and at the same time visualize your day as if you have a camera,
you will probably get to zero before you finish

This idea to “visualize your day” is also a wonderful way to practice visualization and it is something that I teach people to do at the end of each day when they turn in to bed at night. But not at the same time as the numbers. We are not looking to multitask here! 🙂

The key to the Concentration Exercise is to ONLY focus on visualizing the numbers. See each clearly, giving yourself a few seconds to “see” the shape of each and every number.

The goal is less about getting through to zero as much as it is to improve your ability to focus your mind on ONE THING, and see in your mind’s eye, what you choose and nothing more. Getting through to zero, without losing track even once, is a way to measure your ability to stay on that one thing. Is it from 20? 100? 500?

Here is a more detailed article for those interested.

carm says November 14, 2012


Thank you for the comment, and clarification!! very well put.


Shifu Ahles says November 14, 2012

You’re very welcome.

Gohan says May 22, 2013

Nice and thanKs a lot..

Shifu Ahles says May 22, 2013

You’re welcome.

Add Your Reply