“Relax the mind; Renew the body; Revive the soul.”
Happy Thanksgiving! The holiday season is officially underway. The next few weeks will be filled with decorations, Christmas songs, holiday parties, family and friends, shopping, acts of kindness, and love. Though it is a wonderful season, it can also be overwhelming and stressful at times. It is important to take care of ourselves first so that we can then take care of those around us. Using our visualization practice for relaxation can help to calm the mind and release the tension our body is holding.
To begin this type of visualization, I like to start with the breath followed by a body scan. My favorite breath technique for relaxation is Yogi Breath, also known as 3 Part Breath. Laying on your back or sitting in a chair with a long spine, close your eyes and begin to observe your natural breath. Once you have settled, start to lengthen your inhales and exhales. Begin by inhaling through your nose and filling up your belly, then, ribs, then chest. Pause for a moment and then exhale through your nose chest, ribs, and belly. Continue this for at least five cycles. With every inhale you breathe in health, happiness, and harmony; with every exhale you breathe out tension, toxins, and troubles.
A body scan allows us to go even deeper in relaxation. I like to start at the crown of the head, the 7th chakra, and imagine a white light radiating above me. Invite this white light into your body and visualize it flowing, swirling, and filling up every nook and cranny. As this peaceful white light travels through your body, it gently massages and releases the tension and any negative emotions that do not serve you anymore. Once the white light has reached your toes, do one more quick scan and send your breath to the parts of your body needing a little extra attention.
For some people, this may be enough to relax your mind, body, and rejuvenate yourself. For others, you may want to go even further and begin to visualize a place that brings you peace and comfort. For example, walking on a beach at sunset, feeling the sand in between your toes, hearing the soothing sounds of the waves, smelling the cooling salt water, and seeing the beautiful colors of the sky as the sun goes to sleep. Continue to be vivid with your images and control outside and negative thoughts. Experiment with the perspective you are using and continue to use your breath as your foundation. The more you engage in this practice the stronger the impact the images will have on your mind and body. You can begin to use the words like beach, sand, or waves as trigger words for those times when life gets overbearing. A reminder that trigger words can be a single word or phrase that initiate a process or course of action. In this situation, the word “beach” initiates the feelings of relaxation, peace, and balance because of your visualization practice.
This week continue to keep your visualization log, but this time focus on relaxation. Begin with your breath and body scan. Then experiment with imagery. Try to maintain the 3 min a day or challenge yourself with longer sessions. This will increase your ability to focus and concentrate. At the end of the week, observe how you feel. Do you feel more grounded? Maybe more able to manage the stresses in your life? Maybe you can make it a habit to take at least 5-10 min a day to step away from the chaos and connect back to yourself.
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