Relaxing into meditation

By Ngakma Nor`dzin

June 2011

Meditation teaches us to live contentedly, which brings us peace of mind even in adverse circumstances

One can achieve deep relaxation, if one follows some simple routines. These procedures teach us to relax the body and enter meditation, which can take us into an even deeper state of relaxation of the body and mind, which is our natural condition.

1. Relaxing the body

Stress and unhappiness are stored in the body, so we begin by relaxing our muscles. We can achieve this by systematically tensing muscle groups throughout the body and then relaxing the tension on the out-breath. We can stretch the body and move into various postures, relaxing as we breathe out.

2. Relaxing the breath

When we are agitated, our breathing becomes faster and more shallow. When we slow down and deepen our breathing we become calmer. We can harness awareness of the out-breath through visualising tension streaming out of the body as we breath out. We can cleanse the breath through alternate nostril breathing.

3. Relaxing the voice

When we are happy we may spontaneously burst into song, but it is hard to sing when we are sad or stressed. We can therefore learn to relax through free energetic sound. We can chant yogic mantras and give ourselves permission to make as much noise as we wish without caring about the harmony or disharmony of our voice. We sing the sound Ahhhhhh for the length of an out-breath and release energetic tension with the sound.

4. Ready for meditation

Having relaxed the body we wish to retain this sense of comfort and calm when we start to meditate. It is therefore essential to find a sitting posture for meditation in which we can be relaxed but alert. Relaxing the mind is more difficult than relaxing the body. We want to be as physically comfortable as possible so that the body does not distract the mind. The body should be upright, balanced and unrestricted. The spine should be erect but relaxed. The body should be balanced and not twisted or placed in a position that requires effort to maintain. Blood needs to flow freely to all parts of the body and in particular to the limbs without constriction or pressure.

5. Relaxing the mind

Meditation relaxes the mind by letting go of thought to experience mind without thought. Thought is an intricate conceptual mesh that surrounds the still deep quietness of the empty mind and acts as a filter for everything that we
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