August 15 is Relaxation Day, a day in the middle of summer devoted to deep relaxation. Knowing how to relax like a buddha is a special way to relax stress and calm frazzled nerves. Relax like a buddha means relaxation into wakefulness, without the sleepiness that often accompanies trying to get away from it all. Relax like a buddha means to “zone in,” not “zone out.” The added benefit of this way to relax is that it makes us stronger, and more capable to enjoy being in the world we live in.
Just use your ordinary activities to relax like a buddha
These five relaxation tips that show how to relax like a buddha have been practiced for thousands of years. Don’t let their simplicity fool you! They are highly effective. By tuning into our bodies in whatever activity we are engaged in, ordinary activities become vehicles for us to deeply relax, and be present at the same time. When our bodies become relaxed, then our minds are more present, we are grounded and feel extremely good.
5 relaxation tips
Learning how to relax includes using your body in a specific way. Since we are always engaged in either sitting, standing, walking, lying down or eating, we can use any one of these natural activities to relax fully, completely and wakefully. Follow these five relaxation tips and relax like a buddha just about anywhere.
1) How to relax sitting
Usually we think of sitting as the posture most associated with meditative mind. Think of a small child sitting up naturally and comfortably without any support. By keeping your spine straight, hands on your thighs, and looking softly towards the ground, this natural posture magically helps you to relax. Because you are relating to your body, your body can help your mind to relax. Then when the mind relaxes a little, the body relaxes a little more. Try it, starting with 5 minutes! The trick is to simply be with your body, making sure that it is held in a good upright posture. This is the best of all relaxation tips!
2) How to relax standing
Standing is one of the most comfortable postures I know. In the yoga world, this is called “tadāsana.” Press the toes down into the earth, strengthen your legs, stand upright like a flagpole planted in the ground. Relax the arms, look straight ahead, and again feel the body. Intersperse your day with mindful standing and learn how to relax more and more.
3) How to relax walking
Walking like a buddha is simply enjoying a walk, preferably in nature. Here the moving body and environment help you to relax. First pay attention to the feeling of your feet as they meet the ground — heel, sole, toe — over and over again. Bringing your attention into the body in this way relaxes the mind. When you feel a little more settled and relaxed let your attention move toward the scene around you. Let the peacefulness of the park or woods, wherever you are, come into you, deep inside the body. Feel all the senses: how the light is, the colors and sounds. When you walk (and this applies to running too) start with the feet, and then move out from there.
4) How to relax eating
Eating like a Buddha means enjoying your food to the max. Even before beginning your meal, think about where it came from, the different stages of reaching your table. Thinking of the food in this way gives you pause to appreciate and enjoy more. Rather than just gobbling down, there is greater relaxation and the food is tastier. Any meal can become like a feast. I like to think of the Slow Food movement as a good approach to eating like a buddha.
5) How to relax lying down
Lying like a Budda is a great way to learn how to relax. We are probably already tired at this stage. In the twilight zone between being awake and asleep there is a unique opportunity. Lying on your right side, place your hand under your cheek. Feel the body, with knees slightly bent. We can gently and softly be with our tiredness while tuned into the body. This can help our sleep to be more peaceful, and might even help us recognize our dreams. Then we can learn how to relax while we are dreaming and have good dreams! Of the 5 relaxation tips, you might find this the most challenging. Try to feel the body completely before falling asleep.
Come and join us at the next Morocco Countryside retreat, from 23 – 29 September 2017. Relax like a buddha in style at one of the best kept secrets in Morocco.