Two Minute Relaxation Meditation
We live in a stressful, fast changing, and busy world. Having the ability to relax can seem impossible on top of everything else we do each day. The following relaxation meditation may help and can be accomplished in two minutes or less. Always check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise.
This exercise can be practiced while standing, sitting in a chair, or lying down. Your eyes can be open or closed. It is easier to do while sitting quietly, but it can also be done while walking from place to place, waiting in a checkout line, or anytime you have a spare moment. The two minute relaxation meditation is comprised of three steps.
Step number one is to become aware and feel what is happening with your breath. Are you breathing through your mouth, nose, or both? Are you breathing deep starting low in the belly or shallow starting in your chest? Are you relaxed or stressed?
Step number two is to lengthen, smooth, and quiet the breath. Fast, shallow, and rough breathing triggers stress while slow, deep, and quiet breathing helps with relaxation. When we become stressed, the fight or flight response kicks in. This increases our blood pressure, heart rate, and breath rate. If we can lengthen and slow the breath, it may help us to relax.
To develop a larger more relaxed breath, breathe in a breath that fills your lungs with ease, starting low in your belly and working your way up. You want to breathe out to expel the maximum air possible while maintaining a gentle, easy, and comfortable breath. Allow your belly, lower ribs, middle ribs, and upper chest to expand on the in-breath and contract with the out-breath. Work to allow all areas to expand and contract all the way around your body and not just in the front.
The goal is to have a deep, slow, and smooth breath. The trick is to do it gently. The breath cannot be forced, but you can influence the breath to some degree. It needs to be easy and soft. Try to breathe through your nose at all times if possible.
The third step is focusing on your breath. Begin by giving your attention to the breath at the entrance to your nose. Focus on the movement of each and every in-breath and out-breath. If this is not possible, focus on where you feel the breath the strongest. Always keep the attention to only one area.
Try to breathe normally without changing the breath. If thoughts, emotions, or sensations take you away from your breath, this is normal. Our minds are extremely busy and move back and forth between thoughts frequently. As soon as you realize your focus is off the breath, just let go and move your attention back to your breathing. This helps to develop attention on the breath and, over time, will help with relaxation.
In the beginning, it might help to count your breaths. One full breath is one in-breath and one out-breath. Start with 3 full breaths for step 1 (the awareness breath), 5 full breaths for step 2 (the lengthening breath), and 5 full breaths for step 3 (the focusing breath). If necessary, adjust the number of breaths for comfort or time. Let go of the counting as soon as the exercise becomes comfortable.
This meditation exercise can be modified to fit each person’s needs. In the beginning, step number three (the focusing breath) may be too difficult. In this case, work with only step one (the awareness breath) and step two (the lengthening breath). Start with step number one and become aware of your breathing. Then use step number two and try to lengthen, quiet, and slow the breath. Go back to the awareness breath and if the breath is fast and rough, return to the lengthening breath. This could go back and forth several times until the breath slows and lengthens and you begin to feel relaxed.
You can also do just one of the three steps the entire time or combine one or more of the other relaxation exercises included in the website. There is no right or wrong way to do this exercise. If you are working with your breath, you are doing it right.