Relax Into Health

Relax Into Health
Copyright 2005 Wayne McDonald

I’d like to share a little secret about relaxation
techniques for athletes (or health-minded people that
workout) and anyone that wants to feel more focused, calm,
healthy and peaceful.

But first, let’s define relaxation techniques, or more
specifically, meditation. To begin, it’s not necessary to
be a Zen master to learn meditation. Anyone can jump-in at
any time and start meditating. You should put any
expectations aside; do not try to force the outcome; don’t
try to over-analyze “what meditation is”; and in general,
just turn-off the brain and be in the moment. When
meditating it is not necessary to blank out your mind or
chase thoughts away. You’ll learn that as you progress with
meditation, your mind will become quieter. Sit comfortably,
with your spine reasonably straight. You can rest against a
chair, a wall or headboard. Your hands can rest comfortably
at your side or on your lap. Your legs can also be in any
comfortable position (crossing them or any complicated
pretzel position is not necessary). Overall, allow your
body to sit comfortably so your body-mind-spirit can be
open to relax.

There are different types of meditations that you can use
in your daily practice. Here are a few:

* Mindfulness – A process focusing on physical sensations
and being present of the moment. It is being attentive to
the sensory information entering your mind through your
five senses. Beneficial to athletes, people in body pain or
someone with a health challenge, dieters and overall for
body awareness.

* Visualization – This process creates in the mind specific
places or situations, such as a green forest or the calming
waves of the ocean. This can be used for goal setting or
for quieting the mind.

* Breath mediation – A process focusing on the rhythm of
breathing.

* Walking meditation – This Zen Buddhist form of meditation
focuses on the sensation of the feet against the ground.
Some people have discovered its benefits without realizing
it was meditative. Pacing back and forth can be very
calming on the mind.

This next meditation I strongly recommend learning first.
In fact, I do a “sandwich” – I start with grounding then
one of the meditations listed above and end my meditation
practice with grounding.

Grounding – This process is being fully present mentally
and emotionally and will help you feel more centered and
focused. Practicing grounding will put you in control of
your environment and focus your energies in your daily
routine. Anyone learning meditation for the first time will
gain great benefits by practicing grounding on a daily
basis.

The Tree Meditation is the simplest exercise to feel more
relaxed and energized. Yes, you can actually experience
both of these at the same time! Familiarize yourself with
this meditation by reading it two or three times and then
begin. If you want, you can set a timer for ten minutes.

* Close your eyes and breathe in calmly. Each breath,
imagine sipping air with a straw.
* Breathe in — slow — and relaxed.
* Imagine a beautiful, majestic tree. As you think of this
tree, breathing in more relaxed, imagine YOU are the tree.
With each calming breath your spine lengthens. See your
body as the trunk of the tree; and as you continue
breathing down from your head to your spine, down to your
hips —continue breathing down, feeling more relaxed and
calm; down your legs — your feet —supporting you like
the trunk of the tree.
* As you continue breathing, imagine healthy strong roots
extending from the bottom of your feet. Your roots extend
deep into Mother Earth, anchoring your body. You’re
healthy-whole-and complete; fully supported as you breathe
deep into the earth. You are a beautiful tree; you feel
strong, solid and fully grounded where you are.
* Continue relaxing and breathing. When you are ready, come
back to the present — alert, confident and fully
energized.

The last type of meditation is Transcendental. This is a
specific type of meditation that must be learned from a
certified teacher of the Transcendental Meditation program.
Introduced in the late 1950s, this meditation focuses on a
mantra (a sound, word or phrase that is repeated over and
over, either aloud, as a chant or silently).

Studies of relaxation techniques have shown overall
improvements of the body-mind connection for athletes and
many health benefits for individuals. Taking the time to
meditate and quiet our mind gives us the time to pause in
our daily lives. It is the greatest power we hold, to be in
the moment, alive and aware of our surroundings and our
body. Relaxation gives us time to better organize our day,
focus our energy and work more efficiently.

Start your meditation practice in the morning for ten to
fifteen minutes. Many of the types of meditations –
Grounding, Mindfulness, Visualization, Breath, Walking or
Transcendental – can be done at home, work or
out-and-about. There are hundreds of meditations to match
the needs of the individual or to meet a specific purpose.
You can find meditations online, in books, on CD and by
taking a class. Over time you will have increased
self-esteem and self-confidence; greater creativity; a
greater ability to problem solve; and a more calming effect
on your surroundings and the people you interact with.

About the Author:

Wayne McDonald is the author of “Relax Into Health” – a
comprehensive guide to completely relax your body in five
minutes. He is the founder of
http://www.HolisticWebDirectory.com – an on-line health
directory of complementary health care professionals. For
more health articles, signup for the monthly Health
Newsletter. Send an email to submit-ezine@…

**Editors Note: For what amounts to the best meditation
practice in this editor’s mind try Falun Dafa
http://falundafa.org

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