Balancing ceaseless mental and emotional activity requires stillness. Sitting still in meditation for some can be difficult, but integrating meditative techniques throughout daily routines is a practical approach that can still be rewarding. I call this "taking it with you."
There are many different meditative practices. Some patients often express that they don't know how to relax. Developing meditative skills for relaxation is a great self-care practice. Increasing awareness of the differences between relaxation and stress is fundamental to meditative practice.
Observe differences between states of stress and relaxation
How do you feel when you are stressed? How do you feel when you are relaxed? It is essential to make comparisons between states of stress and relaxation to develop awareness. Such relative elements may include observing posture, breathing patterns, emotions (how you feel), mind (how you think), surrounding environment, sleep, diet (what you eat and how you eat), relationships, work, daily habits and routines. Compare each element through states of relaxation and stress - how is my posture when I feel stressed? how is my posture when I feel relaxed? This practice can center the mind and increase self-awareness.
Breathing is the Strategy
Become aware of Normal Abdominal Breathing (NAB) as a starting point. Lay comfortably in a supine position with hands crossed over your abdomen. Feel the abdomen rise on inhalation and sink on exhalation like ocean waves calmly advancing and regressing. Avoid any chest movement. On inhalation only fill your lungs to 80 percent capacity. If it is at 100 percent capacity it will cause tension and disturb your mind. In a sitting position you may slouch and obstruct abdominal movement. If your back is weak you may find it difficult to sit upright for long periods of time so a supine position will be more comfortable.
Practicing Moments of Meditation
Practicing now and then is better than never. Maybe you can dedicate some time each day to practice and maybe not, but the principles are portable and can be taken with you throughout the daily grind. The goal is to make relaxation familiar. Be aware of the effects of stress. Observe how it constricts your breathing, changes your posture and disturbs your mind. Now practice restoring balance - adjust your posture, take a deep breath (NAB) and relax your mind.
A deep, calming breath (NAB) is the strategic key to unifying, centering and relaxing mind, body and breath. Make meditation practical by applying the principles throughout your day. Taking it with you promotes frequent practice pointing the way to natural conditioning so you don't have to practice because it just becomes natural.