Monday, July 01, 2013

Fundamentals of Relaxation Part 3

In this 8 part series , we are going to explore the fundamentals of relaxation, how each type works, the benefits and a little history.  We humans do not relax enough – we believe that sleeping or watching television is relaxation….nothing could be farther from the truth.  And it is so important to both mother and baby during pregnancy!

Meditation refers to a large variety of practices that produce relaxation and mindfulness, building positive energy, developing compassion and kindness.  Used for centuries, meditation has been shown to not only clear the mind, but also ease health issues such as hypertension, anxiety and depression. 

Those who meditate may use music, aromatherapy or other complementary therapies to help shut
out the world and focus only on that which is positive and good.

Meditation can be spiritual in nature; prayer or meditating on the word of God can be helpful in times of stress.  With a relaxed position, and some aromatherapy, focusing on one thing (such as the word of God), helps to free the mind from all of the chatter that many of us have.

Here are six steps to successful meditation:

1) Meditate regularly day and time
Many people find that meditating in the early morning hours before the beginning of the day is the prime time to do meditation.  It sets the intention for the day for positiveness and clears the mind for the events of the day.  Some people meditate more than once a day – remember that if you do, keep it regular both in time of day in length!  It can be as refreshing as a 20 minute power nap!

2) Set an environment

You do not need a formal environment for meditating, however having some of the same items close by such as crystals, a rosary, incense or similar will contribute to the relaxation process and encourage classical conditioning (Pavlov).  When you see a set focal point (see #7), smell a certain scent of aromatherapy or incense or hear certain music, this may hasten relaxation success.  (Build your own playlist for meditation! For a list of songs for relaxation and meditation, click here.

3) Be comfortable when you meditate

You can sit in a chair or couch or use a two part cushion system that allows for a comfortable lotus position.  You can also lie down, but often, it may feel so relaxing you might fall asleep!

4) Meditate for the same length of time - use an app timer

Meditate for the same length of time each time.  To do this, you can set a timer, on your phone for example, with an app such as Insight Timer by Spotlight Six Software.

5) Deep abdominal relaxing breathing

Different from the “Lamaze” type chest breathing done in labor, abdominal or belly breathing can be very powerful and simple.  This type of breathing relaxes you  and reduces the risk of hyperventilation.

6) Focus 

Either use a focal point, candle or guided imagery to enhance stillness and quiet the mental chatter that clogs our minds and floods our thoughts.


Great video for beginners!

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