Meditation: Easy Relaxation Practices

by dena on August 10, 2013

Would you like to learn how to stop stress in its tracks and play with new ways to relax?

In this moment, you might ask yourself what you are feeling, physically and emotionally. What number would you assign to your current stress level, 0 through 10, with 10 being extreme stress? You can use your observations to notice how you feel after exploring the following practices.

Each of the 3 following practices can be done as
* a very simple form of meditation, or
* a way to move from stress to an experience of focus and calmness, or
* a bridge from busyness into your favorite form of meditation.

To start, I will include a reminder of the Stretch & Yawn, from an earlier post. Also, I want to share 2 of many centering practices. Within a minute of starting to engage any of these practices, I begin to feel calmer and my focus moves away from the inner chatter or other tensions and mind distraction.

Stretch & Yawn

In this moment, you might ask yourself what you are feeling, physically and emotionally. What number would you assign to your current stress level, 0 through 10, with 10 being extreme stress? You can use your observations to notice how you feel after exploring the following practices.

In my experience, the quickest and easiest method to both interrupt stress and help the mind-body begin to relax is to stretch and yawn.

These actions are so effective, I make a point to incorporate them into the beginning of the meditation classes I teach on the telephone. Just yawn and stretch, with the knowledge that each of these actions initiates the relaxation response in the body. It is vitally important to create opportunities to relax, because it is during relaxation that each cell begins to self heal.

Right now, how about giving yourself a few moments to let yourself yawn and stretch? Notice what ways your body wants to stretch. Notice how you feel when you are in the midst of experiencing both yawning and stretching – stretching slowly, yawning deeply.

~ * ~

Both of the next 2 practices I am introducing today are sometimes called Centering practices or exercises. One approach focuses on physical motion, the other enlists the mind toward becoming more quiet and centered.

Rocking Chair

The name refers to the small physical movement you will use while seated in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. With your back comfortably straight, rest your hands on the tops of your thighs, palms down and your fingertips only a few inches from your knees. Now, slide only your fingertips toward your palms a couple inches which results in raising the palms off the leg surfaces; only the fingertips and heels of the hands are resting on the thighs.

In the 1980’s, my first meditation teacher shared this in a weekend class. Jim Greene always smiled patiently and sweetly at us as he explained each of the many meditation approaches. The Rocking Chair was one of several he suggested we do with eyes closed. (Thank you, Jim, wherever you are!)

After closing the eyes and positioning the feet and hands as described, the next part is the Rocking Chair action. These are very small and subtle movements, and they are done very s-l-o-w-l-y. Simultaneously lift up the heels of the feet and of the hands less than 1/2 inch. Then, as you let them down gently, lift the toes and fingertips less than 1/2 inch. Keep repeating these motions, as you focus on the sensations of the movements.

Give yourself a Rocking Chair break right now. You might engage in it for five minutes or so. Notice how you feel when you begin it and after you stop.

~ * ~

Inhale-Exhale

You are invited to focus on your breathing. As you breathe in, think the word “inhale” to yourself; as you breathe out,”exhale” is the word. If you prefer, you might think the words “breathe in, breathe out” as you experience the rhythm of breathing. Notice what depth and speed of breathing become most comfortable to you. This is not a race, of course. You can allow the descriptive words of breathing and the connected sensations to meet, to blend.

I invite you to experiment with it right now for a few minutes.

~ * ~

Links to related posts and resources: * Samyama Meditation and focusing on a heartfelt word;

* mellowing stress through breath counting and breath surfing and stretch-&-yawn.

* affordable Meditation classes by telephone.

Blissings, Dena

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2 comments
Ellen Collins
Ellen Collins

Interesting. Relaxation and meditation are habits of mine.

dena
dena

So wonderful, and I am not surprised in the least! When our paths re-crossed about twenty years ago, we had a few interests in common in this general area of life. Thank you for writing today, Ellen.

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