Buddhist exercises

Free your mind: Buddhist exercises for relaxation in everyday life

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Do you sometimes feel totally under stress with no idea how to get your breath back? Buddhism teaches, among other things, the practice of mindfulness and, worked into your daily routine, these exercises can lift the weight of the world from your shoulders

Who would not like to go through life a bit more relaxed? Whether in private or in our jobs, there are plenty of experiences that tug at our nerves and get our blood boiling.

The Buddhist concept of mindfulness provides a counterweight that can reduce those tension levels. Studies suggest such meditation may have beneficial effects such as stress reduction, relaxation, and improvements in your quality of life.

Here are a few exercises that can be easily fitted into your everyday schedule to help you declare war against the rat race:

 

Where does mindfulness come from?

Mindfulness is not only a part of Buddhism or Western psychology, it can also be a personal state of mind. It’s all about getting rid of stress and suffering, and focusing on yourself. Sounds like something that we could all find useful now and again.

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Training is everything

Every athlete knows the importance of training. This is also true in the case of mindfulness exercises to truly notice a reduction in stress levels. Especially at the beginning, this might mean dampening expectations but only by repeating the flow can the “training effect” kick in. The good thing in this case is the exercises can be practiced anywhere, any time and in any position.

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Four positions of the body

Our body is always in one of four positions, moving, lying, sitting or standing. Perform the exercises below in all four. They don’t need to directly follow each other but can be scattered throughout the day. The greatest effect is established by regular repetition.

Exercises

1. Practise breathing in the respective positions, deliberately feeling or ‘following’ your breath as it goes in and out. Let go of your thoughts and allow yourself to be still.

2. Focus on the current posture of your body, either sitting, lying down, standing or walking. Tell yourself: “Now I’m sitting.”

3. Take your time to figure out why and how you do something. If the position of your body has a special purpose, visualise it. 

4. Ask yourself how you sit/lie/stand or walk and what you perceive. 


It’s also important during the exercises to focus your mind on your body. Don’t let your thoughts drift inwards to other things like making plans on how you’ll tackle the next work meeting, for example. 

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The goal

By learning through exercise to become more mind and body aware, the effects can be felt in other areas of our lives. Perhaps you will succeed in distinguishing between the really important things in life. Maybe you will be more focused and able to complete tasks better or perhaps your stress levels will drop. Whatever the outcome, the benefits of regular mindfulness exercises can be really positive.

 

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08 2016 The Red Bulletin

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