One of the major reasons people take up meditation is to help them relax. Somehow with the advancement in technology and sophistication in our modern lives, one would think we would have less stress and more free time, but instead we seem to be more and more busy. Much of this stress comes from the increasing expectations we have of ourselves and others, and also from the fact that we are constantly available via mobile phones and computers. We are often trying to juggle several things at once, rather than giving people or tasks our full attention.
Make Time To Relax
Relaxation does not always therefore spring naturally from our regular activities, so it is essential that we deliberately make time for it. Often we are rushing around but not necessarily getting much done. Watching television or chatting with friends can be relaxing in one sense, but for deeper and more powerful relaxation, it is good to set aside a certain time to do some simple exercises – either as part of the daily routine, or at times of increased stress.
Relaxation is not only a genuine goal of meditation, but also a precursor. If we try to dive into meditation straight after rushing home from work, or when our mind is crowded with recent conversations and lists of things to do, we will find it difficult to make that leap. If we first take time to relax a little, meditation will be easier.
Before You Begin
It is as well to take some basic outer steps towards relaxation before even beginning any relaxation or meditation exercises:
- Take a bath or shower if you have been busy doing other things. The purifying, refreshing and soothing quality of water can help us feel like we are making a fresh start, washing away the tensions of the day
- Decide on a certain length of time purely for these relaxation exercises. Switch off your mobile phone, television, radio and computer, take your landline off the hook, ask the people in your house not to disturb you during this time.
- The mind can sometimes try to convince us that relaxation is not as important as other things. If thoughts are repeatedly bothering you in the biginning, just write them down and promise yourself you will deal with them afterwards. Are they really so urgent?
- Put on clean, light clothing. Set aside a certain space and try to create a relaxing atmosphere, maybe with flowers, peaceful music, candles and fragrances.