Three Tried and True Ways To Relax in Meditation
1. BREATH AWARENESS Allowing your awareness to rest upon the breath provides focus on a constant - your breath. So long as you are breathing it will be there for you.
One way to begin is by focusing at the tip of your nose. Notice the cool air gently flowing into the nostrils, and feel as the warm air slips out past the upper lip as you exhale.
Stay with the sensations and bear witness to the natural flow of your breath, your prana, your life force, flowing into and out of the nostrils. (1 minute)
Notice the natural rise and fall of your chest and belly. Allow the awareness to rest upon your natural rhythm of your body as breath comes and goes. (1 minute)
Gently bring your awareness to rest upon your right nostril. Notice the flow of breath in and out of your right nostril. Notice the quality of prana passing through your right nostril. Witness the coolness of the air on the inhale, and the warmth of the air upon exhale. (1 minute)
Gently shift your awareness to the left nostril, and once again notice the quality of breath passing through the left nostril. Notice its coolness on the inhale, and its warmth on the exhale. (1 minute)
Slowly inhale through both nostrils. Suspend the breath in briefly, and exhale.
Where you able to notice any shifts in the quantity of breath through the nostril where your attention was focused? This is an excellent example of where attention goes energy flows.
2. BODY AWARENESS Feeling into the sensations of your body with the eyes closed prior to meditation induces a profound sense of calmness.
Allow your eyes to softly close and draw your awareness down into the lower part of your body.
Feel your feet. Notice the toes, the soles of the feet, arches, top of the feet, heels and ankles. Allow your awareness to travel upwards over your shins, calves, and knees. Feel into your thighs, the long femur bone, your hamstrings and sit bones. Notice their connection points to the ground beneath you.
Feeling this foundation of your body: solid, supported. Sense it resting upon the earth and sense as though the earth opens up to cradle your body as it sits.
Allow your attention to rest upon the tip of your tailbone and gently rise up the spine to the sacrum, low back, mid back and upper back. Feel your belly softly as it rises on your inhale, and softens on your exhale. Sense your chest. Feel as the chest expands on the inhale, and gently falls on the exhale.
Tune into the sensations at your neck, throat, back of the neck and jaw. Gently move your jaw from side to side to relax your jaw. With the eyes remaining softly closed, draw the focus of the eyes to the brow point, the space between the eyebrows.
Relax the muscles of the face. Sense your chin, lips, cheeks, eyes, forehead and scalp, allowing any tension to melt away.
Allow your awareness to now rest at the top of your head. Feel the energy at the top of your head.
Imagine the energy flowing in from the top of your head, down your spine and through the sit bones into the earth. And imagine feeling the earth's energy flow up through your sit bones, along the spine and out the top of your head into the ethers. Allow this gentle flow of energy from ethers to earth, and earth to ethers.
3. SWADDLING Are you aware that by swaddling the body you stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) thereby engaging the relax and renew response? It's true! By cocooning the body the nervous system is cradled and therefore confident that you 'have its back' so it can relax.
Of course this may be accomplished in a number of ways but none more convenient or comforting as using a Lotus Wrap. The Lotus Wrap envelops your nervous system which allows you to easily drop into that state of meditation. And the body remembers this and so creates a cumulative effect each time you sit.
Sat Nam and happy meditating!