I can speak from experience when I say that I know just how busy life can get at times. Often we stretch ourselves so much between work, family commitments and keeping fit, as well as spending time having fun with friends, that we hardly get much time to think, let alone relax and unwind!
Yet relaxing is an important part of keeping our bodies and minds healthy and active. By making time each day to stop what we are doing and relax, we are essentially recharging our batteries. This means we will have sharper and happier minds as well as healthy and energised bodies.
Free time isn’t always available in abundance however I try to fit in a quick 20 minute relaxation meditation during the day, to help me unwind. There are many relaxation meditations available online. Yet sometimes I don’t have the equipment needed to listen to one, so I just run through a quick meditation myself.
Here are the basic steps I run though, when practicing my own relaxation meditation.
1. Get comfortable: I prefer to lie down on a yoga mat. This way I’m comfortable, but not so comfortable I will fall asleep! I lie down on my back and have my arms alongside my body without touching, and my legs just slightly apart.
2. Take a few deep breaths: Once I am comfortable I take a few full, deep breaths in through my nose and then out through my mouth. I like to imagine that my body is sinking into the mat with each exhalation, as a way to help me release any tension from my body.
3. Body awareness: Then I begin to rotate my awareness around the different parts of my body. Starting from my right thumb and fingers and moving over the whole right side of my body, then switching over to my left thumb and fingers and again taking my attention over each part of my body on the left hand side. As I focus on each part I take a breath in and out, trying to consciously release and relax any tension that may be in that area. This helps me to systematically relax my whole body. I practice this part nice and slowly taking my time to cover my whole body.
4. Feel the breath: Then I focus my attention on the flow of my breath. I try and notice the gentle rise and fall of my chest and belly, feeling where the breath is coming from. Then I begin to imagine that my whole body is expanding with each inhalation and then shrinking back down again with each exhalation. I find it helps if I mentally follow the breath by repeating “Breathing in…. Breathing out” with each inhalation and each exhalation.
5. Listening to Sounds: Then when I am finished practicing breath awareness I start to notice the different sounds that are happening around me. Listening for ones close to me, and then the ones coming from off in the distance.
6. Waking up the body: When I am ready to finish, I slowly start to introduce movement to my body by wiggling my fingers and toes, then slowly stretching through my whole body and finally opening my eyes.
Remember that if you find it difficult to focus, then you may find it easier using a recorded meditation to help guide you.