Monday, June 25, 2007

How to relax deeply

In meditation during corpse pose today, it occurred to me you might be interested in a few techniques out there for relaxing deeply. This can be done sitting in a chair, cross-legged on the floor, or lying flat on your back. The key is to have the body soft but the spine straight so that you can breathe freely. While in one of these poses, breathe slowly and deeply yet unforced, and remind yourself to:

~ relax your forehead

~ relax your eyeballs

~ relax your teeth

~ relax your jaw

~ relax your tongue

Focusing just on those parts of your head will trigger everything else to relax. I think it's because our eyes and tongue are constantly moving that it feels so calming to set them free!

My first yoga teacher, Kathryn Beet of Yoga Space used to do the trick telling everyone in shivasana (corpse pose) to:

Relax your toes... toes, relax...
Relax your ankles... ankles, relax...
Relax your calves... calves, relax...

...and so on, every so slowly all the way up along the body. Try it next time you find your mind wandering during a reclined meditation. I like to say the first part (relax your toes) on the inhale, and the second part (toes, relax) on the exhale. Give it a try and see how you like it.

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