Feel free to use this meditation technique any time that you feel you need to relax.
This can be a great relaxation exercise for when you return from work, when you’ve completed a workout, or even at lunch time – as it has the same effect as a power nap.
Step 1: Preparation
Turn off your mobile phone, let everyone in the house know that you don’t want to be disturbed, and divert your home phone to voicemail.
Make sure that where you meditate there are no TV’s or radios turned on. Make sure that your computer is turned off so that you’re not distracted by the light or the sound of your instant messenger or incoming e-mail alerts.
It would help if you had a clean environment, so tidy up and keep it tidy for your future meditations.
You may wish to light a candle, in which case I would suggest that you don’t light incense or any fragrances, as these can be distracting. A simple tea light would do, but this is completely up to you.
Step 2: Entering the Meditative State
Sit down in a comfortable position of your choice. On a chair, pillow, on the floor – it doesn’t really matter, just be comfortable.
At this point, you should lightly close your eyes, and relax your body as best as you can.
Take a deep breath in for the count of 4 and make sure that your lungs are at capacity, and then breathe out for the count of 8, making sure that you’ve emptied your lungs completely. This counts as one breath, and this technique is called “yogic breathing”.
Do this a total of 5 times. With every breath, feel your body progressively relaxing further, starting with your head, then your neck and shoulders, your arms all the way down to your finger tips, your chest, solar plexus and back, your thighs, knees, shins, ankles, feet and through the tips of your toes.
If you feel the need to visualise to give you a focal point, then I suggest that you visualise yourself rising out of your body and observing yourself meditating, noticing how with every breath, your relaxation is increasing and you’re going deeper into a meditative state.
Step 3: Maintaining the Relaxation
Now that your body is relaxed you can maintain this state of meditation by maintaining the breathing pattern. Focus on your head area, and ensure that with every breath you take, that the muscles in your head and scalp maintain their relaxation.
Check in on the other parts of your body, and make sure that you’re maintaining relaxation. Where you feel you have tighter muscles, breathe out and feel the muscles relax. When complete, return to your head, and ensure that the muscles in your head are completely relaxed.
Step 4: Relax Your Mind
At this point, you should be completely physically relaxed. The next step is to relax mentally, and it is something you have to intend to do.
Thoughts will come into your mind, so at this point let them come, do not fight them. Acknowledge the thoughts, and let them go. Do that for every thought that you have.
Focus on the silence between your thoughts – this will take practice, so be patient and kind to yourself. Hold onto the silence, but don’t be forceful, otherwise you won’t be relaxed. If thoughts, come, acknowledge them, let them go, and return to the silence between the thoughts.
The longer you can maintain silence in your mind, the more relaxed your mind will be.
Step 5: Returning to Consciousness
Breathe in again for the count of 4 and ensure your lungs are filled, and breathe out for the count of 8 and make sure you empty your lungs.
Do this 5 times in total, and progressively remove the relaxation and return the movement back to your body.
Start in reverse order with your toes, feet, ankles, knees and your thighs, and then your back, solar plexus, and your chest, then your fingertips, all the way to the top of your arms, your shoulders and your neck, and finally your head.
Let your breathe return to normal, and count backwards from 5 to 1. When you reach the count of 1, open your eyes slowly.
Sit for while, and then stand up slowly, and stretch.
Return to your day, your relaxation meditation is complete.