The body and vision directly respond to the mind. If you are anxious your body creates tension leading to strain. On the other hand you can consciously use the mind to relax the body through activities like meditation, visualization and general relaxation techniques.
Meditation can focus your mind and at the same time make your body more open and relaxed. Start with ten minutes a day and see how you respond to the technique, after some practice try to increase the sitting. What follows is a very simple meditation on breathing, but there are many different kinds of meditation so do some research and find one that appeals to you. If you are someone who finds sitting difficult there are moving meditations as well.
- Sit in a chair or on a meditation cushion.
- Keep you back as straight as possible.
- Put your hands on your knees or thighs.
- Eyes can be open, closed or half open, whichever works best for you.
- Begin to notice your breath moving in and out of your nose.
- Focus your attention on the subtle intricacies of each breath, the pause and change from inhalation to exhalation.
- As your mind wanders and becomes distracted (as it always will) gently bring your awareness back to your breath.
Visualizations are a very powerful way to heal oneself, because what happens first in the mind can then happen in the body. Even athletes know this to be true; they visualize their body carrying out idealized movements in order to enhance their sporting performance. The following visualization is a simple one designed to help bring space and relaxation to the entire body.
- Sit comfortable and close your eyes
- Visualize that the heel sinks into the floor and the shoulders drop down.
- Take a deep breathe whilst imagining your head moving up towards the sky, deep breath out.
- Take another deep breathe in, and visualize your left shoulder moving to one side of the room and take a deep breathe out.
- Now take another deep breathe in and your right shoulder moves to the other side of the room, take a deep breathe out.
- Whilst maintaining this breathing pattern feel the sense of expansion in your back, feel it expand as you breath in and fill the entire room.
- Slowly imagine your face is now lengthening, your eyes are expanding, your toes are stretching and getting longer. There should be a sense of constant lengthening.
General Relaxation Techniques
It is sad to think that we allot very little time in our days to relaxation. and when we do we can feel guilty for not “doing something.” The reality is that resting can play a very important role in general health and can be as important as doing self healing exercise. Don’t forget that the body is able to heal itself, and sometimes all it needs is for “us” to move out the way and let the body do its job.
Obvious examples of relaxation can be taking a bath, listening to music, taking a time out on the couch, self hypnosis tape, going for a brisk walk etc. Everybody has their own way of relaxing, someones Bach can be another persons Death Metal. So try an array of activities and see what works best for you.