How to Relax and Meditate
Meditation is simple … really! It’s about letting go, relaxing the body, freeing the mind and releasing all worries (ahhh…) as you allow peace and love to gently flood your being.
Meditation can be practiced by just about anyone and involves muscle relaxation, focus on breathing and visualization techniques. It doesn’t have to be weighty or as serious! It’s really just another way to relax and release all your tensions and worries.
Meditation can help you quiet your mind and is one of the best techniques to improve your mood, sharpen your concentration and help you manage stress and even chronic pain.
I began my own meditation practice in 1991 when I joined a group in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada run by a lovely woman by the name of “Om” who had studied meditation with Sri Chinmoy. Meditating in a group can be a truly powerful experience and I recommend it highly, especially when you’re starting out!
Simple Meditation How-To
1. Find a space with few distractions. Close your eyes and relax your breathing. Focus on the physical sensation of your breath. Notice any tension or changes in your breathing. If your mind feels overwhelmed, return your attention to your breath: In. Out. In. Out.
Often your breathing will be shallow or irregular if you are feeling nervous or tense so spend a few minutes practicing and breathing slowly and steadily to restore a balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide to your body. You can also breathe in to a count of four and out for another count of four until you become relaxed. Make sure that you are comfortable and breathing gently without taking in big gulps of air.
2. Let your mind relax along with your muscles. If an emotion comes forward such as anxiety or anger, try not to attach to it, just let it float on by and disappear. In. Out. In. Out. You can also practice tensing and relaxing various muscle groups starting with your head and working your way down to your feet. Try tensing for five seconds and then relaxing for ten seconds. This is called progressive muscle relaxation and it can lead to deep levels of physical and mental relaxation.
3. Try visualizing scenes that are peaceful, calming, safe and. The more senses you can awaken, the more relaxing your meditation will be. For example, try imagining yourself walking down a tree lined path on a beautiful spring day, you can hear the birds tweet and you can see the light dancing through the trees and alighting in interesting patterns on your arm. Imagine that you can feel the cooling touch of a gentle spring breeze and smell the delicious scent of spring flowers in bloom.
Need more help? Here are two more meditations from my website:
How to Calm and Center (short and sweet!)