Relaxing your mind and body
One of the immediate benefits of a guided meditation is the relaxation of the body and mind. Personally, that alone is worth the small amount of time and commitment required to develop a regular meditation practice. There are other worthwhile benefits to meditating such as a way to reduce stress and anxiety, help with restful sleep, decrease emotional reactivity and deepen your connection with your inner being. Bringing relaxation into your life on a regular basis (daily would be great) is a wonderful addition to your life!
Here are some simple tips to using a guided meditation to get the best relaxation:
Start with your intention
Quietly or silently say to yourself that this meditation is to relax your mind and body.
Find a place with no or little distractions
Turn your phone off. You want to be able to leave all your duties to the side just for this short amount of time. You will go back to them.
Ideally you will want your spine staright and this can be done by sitting in a chair, floor or lying down. There is a little bit of balance here where you want to be comfortable but not so that your body drops to sleep soon after you close your eyes. Tell yourself that you will stay awake and aware during the meditation. Use props to get your body comfortable like pillows or blankets. If your body is in discomfort, your mind will go there and relaxation becomes very difficult.
Choose a guided meditation with a soothing voice
This is important for your relaxation. Make sure you’ve sampled a recording of the meditation guide so you know that you like her or his voice. It matters for your overall experience. During the meditation you will follow the teacher’s guidance and be going inward and the right voice for you can help with that journey.
Calming the central nervous system
Being guided to deepen your breath so that the belly inflates and the exhale is slow as the air releases from chest out your nostrils, gives a signal to your body to start the relaxation process. You start to bring your focus inward and using the breath work along with some body sensing guidance, relaxes your central nervous system. You begin to turn off the fight, flight or freeze response and activate the rest and digest parasympathetic nervous system. Your body is relaxing which allows for your mind to follow.
Awareness of physical holding
As you calm the body down, you will be more able to internally scan your body to feel if or where you are holding any tension. Your back? Shoulders? Throat? You can bring awareness to those areas which allows them to soften.
How much time do you have?
You will want a range of time durations for the guided meditations. Choose one that you can commit that time to being still. If you are uncomfortable keeping still for 20 minutes than start with 5 or 10-minute meditations. When you have time restraints, you will want to choose a meditation that fits your schedule instead or trying to cram one in.
Soft music playing in the background of the guide’s voice can be relaxing and helpful. There may be some days though where you prefer not to have that music and want silence between the gaps of guidance. Try meditations with both options and its best to have some of each available to you.
Keep it personal
Having the choice to use our phones, tablets or laptops to listen to guided meditations, I prefer to use head or earphones. It keeps the experience personal and intimate and this helps me to drop deeper and relax even further.
With gratitude, Theresa