One of the most common instructions when learning to meditate is to start by relaxing. Because knowing how to relax your mind and your body is necessary to get into a meditative state.
But what if the place you get stuck is the “just relax” part?
What if you’re more skilled at getting tense than getting relaxed?
No problem, Grasshopper. We can play to your strengths.
Begin by getting into a comfortable position – maybe sitting in a supportive chair, or lying down on the sofa or your bed.
Next, we’re going to get tense… REALLY TENSE!
Start by taking in a breath. Hold it, and then make tight fists with both hands. Now bring that fist energy up your arms by flexing your forearms, then your biceps and upper arms.
By this time, you may be clenching your fists so hard that they’re trembling a little.
Good. Very good.
Still holding your breath, let’s move to your face and head. Really “squench” up your face. Try to engage every single muscle of your face and around your ears. And then your neck.
Moving down your body, flex those pecs! Keep holding your fists, your breath, and everything else you’ve flexed so far.
Now your belly. Now your butt. Thighs, knees, calves, ankles…. and finally, your feet and toes.
Got it? TWO MORE SECONDS….
Wow. Feel the difference?
This is what relaxing feels like. Sometimes we just have to remind ourselves, our muscles, by going to the other extreme.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled meditation…..
Photo credit: Allan Foster