In this article, we’ll walk through everything you will need to know about meditation, and especially how to meditate for relaxation. Whether you are a beginner, or you have meditated for a number of years, I trust you’ll find value in this guide.
Overview to meditation
Meditation has been around for centuries, however it has become super popular in mainstream society over the last few decades. Millions of people use it every day, to meditate for relaxation.
Benefits of learning how to meditate
When people begin learn how to meditate for relaxation for the first time, they find that a simple routine of five minutes a day makes a big difference in their life.
Meditation in its simplest terms is to be in a state of emptiness. In light of the frenetic pace that most of us support in their busy lives and full of stress, is an enviable state to achieve.
When you sit down to quiet the flow of thought, which creates a constant chatter in the mind, often stimulated by emotions, meditation can induce a state of calm in the interior. The reader will see that as you relax and concentrate, your physical and mental health improves.
Eliminate the stress of your life by learning how to meditate
It is proven that learning how to meditate holds many benefits for the individual. Deep and controlled breathing increases the oxygen supply to the body and calms the nervous system, this increase airflow and blood oxygen lowers cardiac output (the heart does not have to pump as much to meet the needs of the body).
There is also evidence that a session of deep breathing and controlled lowers high blood pressure almost immediately. That’s why many Australians meditate for relaxation.
Meditate regularly helps to release the head of your constant mental chatter, so that thought becomes more concentrated, less confusing and more effective decisions are taken. Better control the mind and any compulsive reactions, allows us to have a clearer perspective of the situations and also does away with trial impulsive, obsessive ingrained in our thinking – and the emotions they conducted – are predominantly driven by our ego, the part the self that contains all our programming and conditioning.
These are the result of our individual experience of life that shapes our personal perception of the world and how we adapt to it.
Any emotional trauma trapped in the ego can generating disguises, can also motivate our actions and make us conformed rigidly to our moral and social codes.
Meditation is a powerful tool that can quiet the mind, change of mind and centre the mind, which ultimately helps us live authentic, more peaceful and relaxed.
Inner calm creates exterior calm
By giving the mind time and space to reduce their hyperactivity, find that it is motivated by its own common sense, or inner wisdom. Thus, when you meditate for relaxation, you are learning to act on the basis of personal reality that is more ‘real’, as this will enter the realm of purely intuitive faculties. However, intuition does not manifest itself when the mind is caught up in analysis, criticism, judgments and perceptions programs.
Eastern thought is called intuition ‘higher wisdom’ because it is not influenced by streamlining processes and analytical mind. Intuition is a higher form of intelligence because it leads to insight, wisdom and understanding. In instance, we align our inner world with the outside world and thus live with greater integrity.
Essentially, the meditative state is a living presence, calm and focused at the moment – an inner stillness and a sense of ‘being’ at a level not rational, since the cognitive mind does not interfere. Interesting fact is that people who have true and lasting success in life, not just in business, some aspects have all contemplative, or a haven for relaxation, not your life, whether it be yoga, dance, swimming, golf, gardening or fishing.
How to meditate
Nowadays, we usually fit the things in our life when we have time and obviously it’s preferable to learn how to meditate whenever you can.
At first, it is a good idea to try to meditate at various times of the day. This, as you will find the period that suits you – that is, when your mind is more relaxed however also more wide awake.
Early morning is an excellent time to practice, since the mind is relaxed and rested and fresh and beautiful day. At this time there is less likelihood of distraction and less noise. After months or years, getting up early becomes a habit – and rightly so, because this is the most wonderful time of day, full of energy.
The middle of the day is also a good time, providing an opportunity to do something positive in our lunch hour, which is often wasted because it is a limbo period between the hours of work. It is a good time to build a meditation habit, and has the added benefit of helping you to relax, focus and recharges your spirit, allowing you to deal more effectively with their energy, which in most people, tends to go into a downward spiral in the afternoon.
At night it is an option, since it is at this point that the pressures of the day were outdated and now you have time to meditate. However, be careful if you meditate before going to sleep, because for many people, can be energetic and can cause them to have their eyes open until dawn. On the other hand, if you wake up at night and unable to sleep, then meditation will relax you and then sleep soundly.
There are few people who can learn how to meditate properly on the bed because it is closely associated with the state to sleep. It is more difficult to make a connection to the inside of yourself.
There are people who, at night, are usually very tired and fall asleep during meditation. If this is the case, a good practice is to meditate with eyes open, focusing on a point at some distance from each other, slightly below eye level.
At week-ends is a good time to try a longer period of meditation (the beginning do it in one day).
Try adding half the time you have – or double the time if you feel you can. Like any other recent activity, it is useful to have a time to practice, and then make sure you stick to it.
Meals should be very slight (for example fruit or soup), if you have to eat before meditating.
It is preferable not to meditate on a full stomach, because the body’s energy is channeled into the digestive process and will eventually get tired.
Set a time for meditation, to overcome the cunning mind, I made very plausible excuses and things ‘more important’ to do.
Spray water before the face of meditating – and even during the day – as a method, simple however very underrated, to replenish their energy levels. The water spray is an excellent agent refreshing when one meditates in a warm environment.
If you join a meditation group is relaxed and not feel embarrassed s move in case of cramps. Joining other meditators can generate a chemical group, which helps boost their practice of meditation.
Guided meditation or not?
There is a wide range of us out there meditating, from beginners to those who have been meditating for years. Meditation is essentially about getting in touch with one’s inner, deeper and most natural self. Which approach to meditation is most likely to help us along this path?
Is it guided meditation or not? Let me clarify what I mean when I refer to the most natural self. The most natural self would have a conscious awareness that is free. Free from an accumulation of facts, mental frameworks and what we so often call “knowledge” that has a tendency to bog awareness down. To drop all this would allow us to recover our original sense of wonder.
I believe that wonder is the whole point. The level of life appreciation and gratitude that comes with wonder is unsurpassed. After all, we cannot approach each moment anew unless we clear the mind of all assumption and presumption. The folks who have been meditating for years might just have well started meditating today.
Guided and unguided meditation
The difference between guided meditation or not (i.e. unguided meditation) is pretty obvious. In the case of guided meditation one allows oneself to be guided by an outside source via media (a recorded voice). In the case of unguided meditation there is no real directive. One simply meditates freely. Both can be good when you meditate for relaxation.
We should also consider music a form of guidance. Music is powerful and can draw us in to its mood. Though there is practically no agenda, there is still a regulated scope, range and directive.
Music is wonderful. Guided meditation may well be good for starters as it has a shape that can be followed. There is a strong sense of accomplishment with guided meditation as there is an obvious path and end-point. There is no confusion about the goal. We complete the meditation and feel the results. The unknown plays very little part in guided meditation.
The benefits are clear. We feel relaxed and more deeply grounded. It is rejuvenating and restores health. Still, what if we want more? What if we feel there is much more to recover?
I use the term “unguided” meditation to distinguish it from “guided” meditation. However, in truth, unguided meditation has its own form of guidance. Unguided meditation is not as easily done, for one. We have to strip away all motive in order to engage fully in unguided meditation.
It is guided, however not by ourselves. Unguided meditation is guided by the unknown and its expression as organic and raw nature. There is a special purity to it.
Human beings will never manage to artificially emulate nature. It is impossible. Nature is far too complex and integrated. The wisdom of nature cannot be duplicated. It is itself only. Our bodies are a beautiful example of its incredible wisdom in biological expression. Our very lives as individual creatures is due to Mother Nature. Meditating freely allows nature to do its best work. This is true regardless of whether it is healing or simply moving us along our path.
In unguided meditation we simply sit. I say sit however we just as readily walk (or do anything for that matter). The point is that there is no point. There is plenty of paradox present in unguided meditation. It is not a simple task to let go of motive. After all we are sitting (or doing whatever) in meditation for the purpose of meditating.
The whole thing begins with purpose, so how are we to let go of motive? The unknown will take the place of motive if we accept it.
Here are a few pitfalls to watch out for. It is much easier to fall asleep while doing unguided meditation. There is no shame in this however know that it is not the same as meditation. Zoning out and losing track of yourself is the same— not a big deal however not to be confused with meditation. Meditation is about remaining alert and aware.
Guided meditation can be likened to watching television. When you meditate for relaxation, the distraction is likely to be far more positive that television programming however it is still a program and one loses contact with self. When I use the term “self” here I speak of a self that is far deeper than the ego. I speak of pure awareness. The term “self” can be confusing for it is readily used to refer to both the individual and the deeper self.
To continue with unguided meditation sit still and do nothing. In zen practice this is called Zazen which is just sitting. The mind will engage and you will start thinking. One of your first series of thoughts will likely be about how ridiculous it is to be sitting still doing nothing.
As you let go of these doubts and commit once again to meditating the thoughts will change. Try to acknowledge the thoughts. Allow yourself to be aware of the thoughts.
This is an important step as it differentiates you from your thoughts. There is the thinker and the thought. Focus on the thinker. Stripped of thought this thinker is your deeper self— pure awareness. As you might have suspected it is this stripping oneself of thoughts that is the most formidable obstacle. This is the goal and yet it can only be achieved by not trying to achieve it. Phew!
Spend a few focused thoughts choosing to think about not doing anything. Entertain the absurdity of letting go of motive. See clearly that trying to let go of motive is a motive itself. Just spend some time looking at all this. As you may have guessed we have not yet got to the unguided part of the unguided meditation. We must persevere— without persevering of course.
Beyond your thought
As you sit still looking deeply at the problem and the absurdity of it all— a feeling of clarity will emerge. What occurs is a synthesis of the two opposites. Motive and lack of motive come together as one. They are both the same problem— thought. This will get you in touch with feelings. Motive and will have a feeling associated with them— a tension.
Guided meditation can certainly relax you however without you fully knowing about it. In the case of unguided meditation you are absolutely aware and alert as well as relaxed all at the same time. We are inching our way towards bliss here. There is tremendous joy in this awareness. There is a great wonder and simplicity present in this. It feels incredible and that is why they call it bliss.
Just a glimpse of this is all you need. Stick with it until you get this first real tangible glimpse of bliss. The thoughts are relentless until you look closely at them and differentiate yourself from them. The boredom can be unbearable until you look at it squarely in the face and realise it is fear— not boredom. Your ego is arguing its value and pointing out how much you need it. Don’t listen to it.
If you are patient it will become more about feelings and sensations than thoughts. When this happens you are making real progress. Your time with mindful meditation is spent working out old emotional aches and pains that have no name— though they will often be accompanied by images of the past. This is good. Keep working. You will feel lighter and more alive every time you meditate and let go of more ghosts.
These are ghosts of thought and ghosts of identity and ego. Keep moving through them. This all happens naturally. You are in unguided meditation territory now. Nature is healing you. Your very own nature is expelling toxins and grief. Nature is restoring joy and wonder where it belongs. You are a vibrant and alive being that can see possibility in everything. Life equals joy. They are the same thing.
There are two ways to meditate for relaxation – they are for the attention and consciousness.
Meditation for attention’s main goal is a state of peace, quiet and calming the mind, learning to rest in the state of clarity that is inherent, while at the same time, fully conscious of the moment.
The purpose of meditation is to explore the consciousness and acquire a thorough knowledge of the mind. This deep knowledge comes only when one has reached the tranquility of clarity – therefore consciousness is only possible after the attention.
Both approaches are always present in any type of meditation, whether it be the central prayers of the Christian faith, want of meditation with controlled breathing of someone focused on freedom from stress.
By train you to have an acute awareness of the present moment, meditation for attention leads him to focus exclusively on ‘support’, which can be a beautiful object, from a stone, statue, or a crystal, up to a mantra or breathing. The role of support and help you fix your attention.
Before you start meditating, should focus on your breathing. Breathe deeply three times (usually referred to as ‘three breaths to centre’), filling the bottom of the lungs first, then the centre and finally the upper third, before expiring, slowly and regularly. Is to do abdominal breathing – breathing in the air to the base of the rib cage, instead of to the top of the lungs, can feel the diaphragm to expand outward as you inhale.
This breathing helps to maintain posture, because it is naturally straighten the spine as it is to breathe a little deeper than normal.
Instruments of meditation versus support
In essence, attempting to get a clear mind that is free of thoughts, although only the most experienced meditators able to get rid of them. When you meditate for relaxation, a mind that created interior space and thus reached the state of enlightenment that is inherent is more powerful.
The use of a support serves as a reminder to prevail on the mind so that she realises mused. It is not possible to completely eliminate all thoughts, so beginners should take heart. The mind is being able to turn its back on them, not embark on them, will dissolve and disappear.
However, obsessive thoughts continue to invade your mental space. The use of a support is here invaluable. By focusing on him, his attention is distracted from the thoughts and compulsive drawn to the stand.
This meditation can be easier for beginners to start because they are given something to ‘do’: a mantra to repeat, an object to focus on it. Serve up the instrument to prevent the mind wandering, forcing her to concentrate on one thing – the passage of air, the vibrations of a mantra, or the contours of an object hidden. It is, however, a form of meditation as valid as any other.
The Importance of Breathing
The breath is our life force, and it keeps us alive. Providing oxygen to the lungs and then infusing every cell of the body, our systems and organs are repopulated and revitalised. Not only keeps us physically, so our thoughts, emotions, beliefs and power systems are supported by subtle breath.
Because of this powerful connection, the act of breathing can be used as a pacifying influence on anxiety, panic and fear. This is why people meditate for relaxation. It is very important that people understand that in a situation of panic, if they react with a controlled breathing slowly and deeply, calms the nervous system, reduce cardiac output and make them think more clearly.
Breathing also has a direct relationship with our vitality and can increase or decrease our energy reserves, depending on make a poor and shallow breathing, or a full breath, deep and nourishing.
Breathing therefore plays a crucial role in meditation, focusing first and relaxing the meditator and thus introducing a sensation in his practice of appeasement, then working as a point of focus in which the mind can concentrate, rather than wandering, and finally through the stillness that follows it, persuaded the mind of the meditator into the deep alpha state.
In the Buddhist tradition, meditation on the breath reminds us how the movement of life is mirrored by the endless flow of breath and reflection, reinforcing in us the fact that the only thing certain in this life is the impertinence and change, as the ripple of breath, up and down.
Meditation from the breath
Here, the breath is used to soothe and sharpen the mind in general and to invite positive energy to penetrate our being. In its role of support, breathing acts as single point of focus for the mind to return each time you notice that your mind is wandering.
It should inhale through the nose, because the hairs of the nostrils purify the air, warm it to the throat and lungs. Exhale, too, by the nose. Focus on the nose, particularly in the sensation of the air, coming and going, coming and going. Note the passage of air in and out through your nose. Feel the tranquility it creates itself.
Then fix your attention on the breath itself and follow the path of air entering and leaving the body. Travel with him to the deep chasms, and felt the gentle rhythm of regular breathing. Relax at it and feel the peace that pervades your whole body.
If your mind wanders easily, try counting breaths, count to four, or in sequence. The Zen method is to count to 10 and then repeat. Remember that it may take months until you feel that dominates this process. Do not strain yourself too much, nor be angry if you are having difficulty.
Be patient and loving with you. The idea is that the ‘wandering’ becomes and leave to renew their concentration. He had come to find that your mind can quiet easily.
Walk and meditate at the same time
It is well known that through meditation we can reduce stress, increase concentration power, feel good and have peaceful days even in the midst of a storm. It is important to meditate for relaxation.
But what’s to do if you can’t stay long enough to relax or seek formal meditations on the spiritual practices? Here’s the answer: get out and take a walk!
Four things with meditation
Going outdoors can become a walking meditation if you will allow four things: to pay attention to your breath, to take account of everything around you, to track movements and keep your body in time to return home and reflect on this experience.
A walking meditation is a simple exercise in awareness, so this exercise and movement can also be called consciousness.
A first – breathe deeply several times
For starters you should pay attention to your breath when you meditate for relaxation. If you are stressed and often tend to breathe shallow, realise that is not good either for your health or your silence.
In this case inhale deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth three times. This is very important because in this way, you are focusing on your breath, your body warned your mind and spirit that you are ready to step into a different state and space, a world apart.
You will depart from all of your problems: the boss, work, children, domestic problems, worries etc. (If these aren’t specifically the problems that are currently stressing you out, then you should think of the ones that really upset you). The idea is that you will have to forget those problems in the time you take that ride. Do not worry, you will find all the problems there when you return, nobody will take them from you!
Focus on your breathing will help to make this wonderful passage.
A second factor – pay attention to environment
The next step is to pay attention to everything around you. What season is it? Whether you’re in a city or country, in downtown or the suburbs, take a few moments to listen to the noises around you. Try to feel the wind, sun, fog or rain that will fall on your face. Sky, trees, buildings, birds, animals or people who happen to be around.
Then pull air deeply into your chest a few times and realise that you are a part of that universe that surrounds you, exactly where you are at that moment. This connection with the natural world will help you target your path, seen both in the literal sense, as well as metaphorically.
A third factor – pay attention to your body
Pay attention to your body, start to watch you and see how tense is your body. The most common places where tension builds are the neck and shoulders, the solar plexus, hips and legs. Try to relax your tense areas and visualise that tense dropping down from you into the earth, where it is transformed into something else.
To meditate for relaxation, remember your position. Walk in a comfortable way, which is not cumbersome or bent. Your body should be easy and, if possible, right. Then make that walk as natural as you can – put one foot in front of another and move forward so.
There is an exercise lasting a minimum of 10-15 minutes which is enough to get started. When you walk, pay attention to the experience that movement gives you. Can you feel how your leg muscles contract and relax? Can you feel the wind breeze on your face and body?
Set your mind freely as possible, and don’t allow the stressors distract your attention. Yes, allow your thoughts/cares to come to you, watch them, however then let them go on.
A fourth factor – reflect the lived experience
Finally, when you get home, try that for 5-10 minutes to reflect on the experience that you just passed. This is how it must end so you can walk and recover more easily than ordinary people, everyday.
If you walk a meandering path that turns and twists what are you experience in your life right now?
If you are walking on a hill, where do you wish to go and do you feel tired? If so, what are you facing? It is easy to climb a hill? If you dare to do this, where do you get your strength and endurance?
You feel in shape at all times of the day? If so, what should you celebrate or make sure to celebrate from now on.
Walking conscious will allow you to step outside of an everyday life for a short period of time, however having long-term implications. It is an ideal practice for people of action, always busy, because they forget of, or consciously neglect, their body, soul and spirit.
Conclusion: how to meditate for relaxation
You by now should have a full understanding about the value of meditation, and why learning to meditate for relaxation and good health is something that millions of people across the globe are doing literally every single day.
We’ve covered a fair bit in this guide to meditation. To recap, the main sections above, are;
- Overview of meditation
- Benefits of learning how to meditate
- Different types of meditation
- How to meditate
- Guided meditation
- Walking meditation
I trust you found this meditation guide useful, and that you will soon build a habit of meditation practice of your own. All the best of luck!