6 Easy Methods of Relaxation
Meditation is a term used for relaxing the body and releasing the mind from active thought. Fifteen minutes of meditation or mental relaxation a day can change your life. This is enough time to interrupt any patterns of behavior that are disrupting your lifestyle. At the end of fifteen minutes, you can choose a new direction for thoughts. The pause for meditation allows you to change your thinking to a new mood, a new program, and a new groove on the record, as it’s a new choice.
Methods of relaxation can be as simple as sitting and focusing on your breath, taking a walk in nature, listening to relaxation music, dancing as if there is no tomorrow, or petting your dog. There are many methods of meditation that offer you peace and tranquility, and that is their purpose.
“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.”
If you have difficulty sitting and relaxing for fifteen minutes, then remember that this is a new pattern you are developing, so let go of expectations and make a commitment to yourself to persist gently for twenty-one days. This consistency will help you develop a new pattern, which will become easier and easier to adhere to. As this method becomes your default pattern, stress levels will fall dramatically.
Here are six relaxation exercises, and practicing one of these daily can change your life.
When you find fifteen minutes out of your twenty-four hours is not available, or the mind is too active, then the first method offered takes just two minutes and when you have practiced the Two-Minute Method, it can be done anywhere, even in a traffic jam or waiting in line at the bank. Read through the whole set of processes before starting so you will be aware of the choices you could make.
1. Two-Minute Method of Relaxation
Sit comfortably in a quiet place as you breathe in and out. Look out the window at nature or focus on a picture on your desk; sing in the car, or just close your eyes on the train (not when driving) and focus on your breathing. If you can’t find a quiet place, use some earbuds, and listen to gentle background music for just two minutes. Do this three times per day. Simply focus on your gentle breathing, and allow your thoughts to float past.
Use this simple Two-Minute Method a few times throughout the day. You may start off three times a day and increase to ten times a day. This is something you will enjoy, and no doubt the two minutes will become longer until, eventually you can string all your two-minute breaks together. It is a handy method to practice as you are commuting, taking a lunch-break, or waiting in line at a bank, all the while performing these gentle breathing exercises. It may be helpful at first (but it is not necessary) to close your eyes, so no one will ever know what you are doing, but it will change how you feel and allow your body to move into its natural healing place. This balances your body from the inside out.
It can take a while to find the peaceful space you are looking for, but practicing relaxation exercises regularly will create a new habit pattern, as this is a lifestyle and not a fad.
2. Focused Breathing (Twenty minutes)
Focus on your breath, gently breathing in and out. Notice how your breath winds through your entire body. As you breathe out, expel all the air in your lungs, then gently breathe in the beautiful life-giving energy again throughout your body. This is a gentle and easy exercise that brings focus to your body, and lets go of all the clutter of your mind. In Hindu philosophy, the breath is known as kundalini or energy and it ignites the chakras as you breathe and focus.
You breathe because you are alive, so enjoy this amazing process that happens without you even thinking about it. You don’t need to work out how to pump the air through your body; it happens automatically. Your heart beats by itself without your help, and your breath oxygenates your blood cells automatically. Not once do you have to think about how this process works; it is an amazing system, a marvel of creation.
Sit comfortably upright, close your eyes, and bring your awareness inward. Follow your breath in and out. As you breathe out, breathe out all the tension in your body. Breathe in relaxation. Occasionally, gently say to yourself, ” With every breath I take I feel more relaxed, and more peaceful.” Then focus on your breathing once more.
Repeat this process for fifteen minutes. If unwanted thoughts appear, just watch them float by and focus on your breathing again.
A slightly different method of following your breath is the body-breathing method of relaxation. It helps to release tension from the body, and occupies your mind as it requires you to talk to yourself when relaxing one area, and then another. This gets easier with practice, but the words aren’t as important as the relaxation so you are welcome to ad-lib.
Lie down in some place where you won’t be disturbed for fifteen minutes. Just lie comfortably on the bed or a floor, or whatever other surface you choose. You can record the following instructions in a slow, gentle voice and play them back, or you can make up your own.
◦ Close your eyes and gently focus on your breathing in and out. In your mind’s eye watch the easy breaths moving in and out of your body.
◦ With each breath, your body feels more relaxed, and more and more peaceful.
◦ Each time you breathe out, allow the tension to leave your body and relax.
◦ Focus attention down at your feet.
◦ As you breathe in, tense your feet, and hold the tension for a few seconds, then relax and breathe out. Breathe in and out. In and out.
◦ Next, your calves. Tense them for a few seconds as you breathe and relax.
◦ Breathe out the tension in the calves.
◦ Tense your buttocks for a few seconds breathing in and out, and relax. Breathe in and out. In and out.
◦ Tense your stomach for a few seconds breathing in and out, and relax. Breathe in and out. In and out.
◦ Tense your back for a few seconds breathing in and out, and relax. Breathe in and out. In and out. In and out.
◦ Tense your chest for a few seconds breathing in and out, and relax. Breathe in and out. In and out.
◦ Tense your shoulders for a few seconds breathing in and out, and relax. Breathe in and out. In and out.
◦ Tense your arms for a few seconds breathing out the tension from your body, and relax. Breathe in and out. In and out.
◦ Tense your hands and fingers for a few seconds, still breathing and letting go of any tension, and relax. Breathe in and out.
◦ Tense your neck and hold for a few seconds, then breathe out all the tension, and relax. Breathe in and out. In and out.
◦ Tense your head and hold for a few seconds breathing out any tension, and relax. Breathe in and out. In and out.
◦ Tense your face and jaw for a few seconds, then breathe out the tension, and relax. Breathe in and out. In and out.
◦ Tense your whole body, every part and hold for a few seconds. Breathe out any tension, so that your whole body is more relaxed than it has ever been before.
◦ Gently breathe in and out. Notice the tingling in your body, as the tension is released, and a balance is achieved.
◦ Breathe in and out. In and out.
This is a great method to use in bed at night, if you can’t sleep. It helps both your body and your mind to relax.
4. Healing Light Visualization
° Use the Body-Breathing method. When you are relaxed and gently breathing at the end of the Body-Breathing exercise, imagine a light, a healing light of a color you choose coming in through the top of your head.
° Imagine the light coming in through the top of your head, and spreading its way through your body. Everywhere it touches it heals and rejuvenates.
° Imagine this beautiful healing light spreading through your head, and around your face and jaw. It’s now dancing around your head, and flowing around inside your neck, rejuvenating every cell it touches, as it winds its way gently through your shoulders and down your arms to your fingertips.
° The beautiful healing light flows across your chest, and into your heart.
° It expands your heart, and dances down your spine, flicking color in every direction so that all the cells encounter this beautiful healing light, as it dances its way through your body.
° It expands down to your stomach and your thighs, through your knees and down around your ankles and feet, moving into every toe. It dances in and through every part of your body, healing and rejuvenating and energizing.
° Your whole body feels alive, it feels alive and fresh and new.
° This beautiful, vibrant, healing light expands to fill your whole body and bursts outward from your body so that it is flowing in, through and around your body with effervescent rays of light.
° It feels wonderful and rejuvenating as you breathe healing light; it is one with you, and feels gentle and loving. You feel as though you could stay in this light forever, as this is the best you’ve ever felt.
5. Expanding Light Visualization
You can use the healing light method, or just breathe and imagine yourself filled with light, any color healing light you are attracted to.
° Breathe the light, so that it fills your body, and expands so much that it is bursting out of your body, and flowing all around you. Breathe the light so that you can feel the effervescence of this beautiful healing color.
° As the light dances around you, it becomes one with the room, and expands its way through the room to incorporate the trees in your yard. You watch it flow from tree to tree, and it moves farther afield flowing into the trees of the whole town and city as it expands through the ground and the trees and everyone who walks on the ground or touches the trees, absorbs this beautiful light.
° Everyone who absorbs the light walks around with this healing effervescence, that flows into all that they meet.
° It spreads through the ground, incorporates the water and the lakes, flowing across the sea and whilst it spreads its way across your city, state and continent, this beautiful healing light also travels through the sea to other continents and cities, and spreads through the trees and the ground there also. This glowing effervescence affects each and every thing it touches, until the whole world is a pulsating, vibrating glowing light.
° Everyone who meets this light is filled with the effervescent glow of love.
° The light keeps expanding out into the sky and the universe, as it reaches its arms out to embrace the moon, the stars and the planets. The whole universe pulsates with this beautiful glowing effervescent light.
° Breathe in the energy of this beautiful light, as you are experience being at the center of the Universe, — the center of this beautiful loving, all-encompassing light.
6. Flower Focus (fifteen minutes)
This was the first meditation we were ever taught. It was at a Sri Chinmoy meditation weekend in Melbourne Australia many years ago. I have used it successfully over the years in Healing Conferences and workshops for people who haven’t been able to relax their mind. It offers something tangible to focus upon, rather than relying on your imagination.
° Sit comfortably with a flower propped up in front of you, a red rose, or another flower.
° Focus on your breathing and relax; notice how your breath flows gently in and out.
° Look at the flower. Notice all the colors and the shades. See how it starts with one color and blends into another. Spend some time looking at the colors blended together, see how they change from the base to the tip and take note of the colors of the petals inside.
° Gently look at the folds of the flower, and note how they move into the other petals. Notice the shape of the petals, and how uniquely different they are, and how each is perfect in its own way.
° As you breathe, start to appreciate how the flower is formed, the texture of the flower, the fragrance.
° Notice how the flower connects to the stem, and how robust the stem is that supports the leaves and the thorns etc.
° Focus on your own breathing now, and notice how your breath encompasses the flower. You have become one with the gentle peacefulness of the flower.
° There are so many more aspects to focus upon, so form your own observations as you go. You want to absorb yourself in this exercise for ten to fifteen minutes, or longer if you prefer. You are slowly moving from one aspect of the flower to the next. It really depends on the type of flower you have as to what questions you ask. When you are first using this process, it can be helpful to record the questions, giving yourself time to form an appreciation of what you’re observing.
Once you have started practicing these, you might like to take on the “30 Day Refocus Challenge” and begin to create your very best reality.
Empower Your Journey with my new book
These methods are all excerpts from 6 Dimensions of Healing – Handbook.
Gayle Maree is Life Engineer, Counselor, Mother, Entrepreneur and Eternal Optimist.
She runs a healing centre Stewart Natural Health, in Australia with her husband and Natural Therapist Allan Herring and has over 20 years of Personal Development Coaching behind her.
Gayle is Director and creator of 6 Dimensions of Healing, and designs bridges for people to build to get themselves from where they are now to where they want to be. Her book 6 Dimensions of Healing – Handbook is available now.