I have taken it for granted that relaxation is a key part of my meditation practices. Although my meditation times have become less intense lately as I go through some really tough emotional healing, I still use the relaxation techniques to help me handle stress. I want to share one technique that I still use today to help me relax.
I have used this technique for so many years that it has become almost second nature. The one drawback to relaxing is that in order to relax, it requires quiet time. That means it is not likely going to work while someone is screaming in your face, while something is cooking or in the middle of a stressful moment. However, after or between stressful moments and as a preparation step before beginning a meditation session or a ritual, this technique is especially helpful.
Find a safe place where you will not be disturbed, you can let your guard down and your attention isn’t being drawn to your surroundings. It is difficult to relax if you are worried about your safety or interruptions. Sometimes I begin with settling in with a few minutes of relaxing music. Preferably without lyrics. Lyrics interrupt concentration and focus.
Get comfortable. Some people like to sit on the floor with legs crossed. Now that I am a bit older, it is difficult for me to get down on the floor or to get up off of the floor. In this case, I simply get comfortable in a chair, on the bed, or the sofa. I make sure I am comfortably clean and in comfortable clothes. That way, I don’t get distracted by little itches or tight clothing tugging at me.
Start with relaxing the body. I find it easier to relax my hands first. Open and close your hands a few times. then, consciously focus on relaxing your hands working your way up from your fingers to your arms up to your neck and down your spine and when you get to your feet, move your feet in a circle a few times. Start with a few circles inward and then reverse in outward circles. Then you should be ready to focus on relaxing your feet one toe at a time.
Focus on your breath. It’s best to control your breathing. First, listen to your breathing and become consciously aware of each breath you take. Inhale deeply and slowly then exhale deeply and slowly. In through your nose, out through your mouth. As you inhale, you bring in all the good and kindness of the mother. As you exhale, you release the tension and stress of the day. Then work on taking full deep and rhythmic breaths. Slowing your breath until your breathing is slow, deep and even.
Listen to your heart beat. Find the rhythm of your heartbeat and continue breathing slowly, you breath in even paced and rhythmic breaths. Allow your body to remain relaxed. Sit for a moment and listen to the rhythm of your heart beating. Feel your life force pumping through your body. Regenerating and cleansing beats.
Allow your thoughts to come and go and try not to hold on to them. Try not to focus on them. Allow your thoughts to pass through your mind in a rhythm with each breath and each rhythmic beat of your heart. Let them pass through and let them go. If you have an itch or if you have to move, allow yourself to move, but try to keep your movements slow and fluid.
As with anything new, especially when it comes to slowing down and relaxing after a busy or stressful day, it is not easy and requires practice. At first, I recommend becoming familiar with each step before moving to the next step. This is best done by starting with step 1. Once that step becomes easier, begin with practicing step 1 and step 2. Once those two steps become easier, follow with Step 1, Step 2 and Step 3.
Each night, begin to practice for about 10 – 15 minutes and at the beginning of each new week, add 5 minutes. Do this daily and you will eventually be able to get into a fully relaxed state finishing through step 6.
Once relaxation is achieved, it will be easier to meditate and you may even fall asleep faster after a stressful or busy day. I choose to do this at the end of the day after I have finished with all of my daily work, meetings, appointments, and chores. When I have finished with the day’s activities I am ready to relax. Sometimes, during the day, I will use this relaxation technique on my break to feel refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day. The most important part of being able to relax is that moment of undisturbed quiet time.
I truly hope this helps you as much as it does me.
In Love and Light,