10 Relaxation Meditation Techniques You Need To Know

relaxing meditation techniques

As a meditation teacher, one of my most common requests I receive is for some simple relaxation meditation techniques and scripts.

Most people come to meditation for relaxation.

Sure, you know you can get significant health benefits from meditating, and that it can help with problems like stress. But deep down, I think the number one reason people meditate is for sheer serenity.

When you try the relaxation meditation techniques below you will find your stresses melting away as you truly relax into the present moment. 

Link Between Relaxation and Meditation Techniques

We all know what it feels like to relax. It feels calm and tranquil, harmonious, and stress-free.

Relaxation is the psychological state of living in the present moment without tension and without arousal from external or internal sources of anxiety, stress, or fear.

The Oxford Dictionary says that relaxation is when we are free of tension. This is the opposite of chronic stress, which causes headaches, increased heart rate, and negative thoughts.   

When we feel stressed, the sympathetic nervous system is active and stress hormones like cortisol, adrenalin and norepinephrine are released. In turn, this causes the “fight or flight” response and makes our muscles tense.

The body’s relaxation response is the opposite. Relaxation stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to create feelings of calmness and to relax the body.

Calmness is also associated with Alpha brain waves. These are brain was that are active when we are calmly aware.  They occur at 8-12 Hz. According to research from The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), meditation increases these brainwaves.

Meditation for Relaxation

Meditation and mindfulness are practices in which we focus the mind on the present moment without judgment. It is a psychological exercise stemming from Hinduism, yoga, and Buddhism. Today, it is also a form of therapy used in treatments like Jon Kabat Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.

When we use meditation for relaxation, we stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. In turn, this produces feelings of calmness and relaxes the body. Plus, it balances vagal tone to produce feelings of wellness.   

Of course, meditation is not the only solution, there is also yoga, tai chi, qigong, reiki, relaxing music, affirmations, mantras and many more options.

But my favourite way to relax is with meditation.

Let’s look at how to meditate for relaxation.

10 Most Relaxing Meditation Techniques To Try 

 10:  Music To Unwind

There are thousands of hours of relaxing meditation music available on Youtube and iTunes. Whether you just want to take 5 minutes at work listening to a relaxing YouTube video or spend an hour with your eyes closed at home, relaxing music will help.

 9: Zen Walking For Calm

One of my favourite relaxation meditation techniques is Zen walking.

Walking is massively beneficial for our health and one of the most relaxing activities in the world. And Zen Walking makes it even better.

Odds are you probably already spend quite a lot of time walking. Whether you’re the outdoors type who loves to go on hikes, or, like many of us, you just have to walk to work.

Because you’re doing it so much already, it’s a smart idea to start walking mindfully.

All you need to do is make an effort to be aware of your every step as you walk. Pay attention to the sensations in your legs, the sense of movement, as well as the scenery.

8:  Pranayama  

Pranayama is the rhythmic style of breathing used in yoga.

When we combine yoga with mindful breathing we enhance the mind-body connection. In turn, helps us relax both physically and mentally.

You don’t need to be a Yogi, either. To be honest, you don’t really need to know much about Yoga. To perform this technique, simply learn a few simple yoga poses, then perform them while being mindful of your breath and focussing on the sensations in your body

 7:   Muscle Relaxation Meditation Technique

If you’re feeling stiff, try this Muscle Relaxation meditation technique.

Releasing physical tension will help you to unwind. 

Lie down on the floor and begin to focus on your breath. Then start scanning your body gradually from tip to toe.

At various points in this scanning process, you will find that certain muscles are tense. When you get to these parts, focus on drawing your breath into that area. Observe your breath entering through your nose, reaching to the tense part of your body and relaxing it.

6: Meditating in the bath

I love meditating in the bath. BEcause the bath is already full of relaxing feelings, like soapy water, it is perfect for meditation.

Simply pour a warm bath, light some aromatherapy candles, and meditate in the bath. Easy. f

5: Tai Chi  

Tai Chi involves observing the breath moving around the body while performing slow and graceful movements. 

I find that Tai Chi is the number one way to promote the mind/body connection. It is also one of the best ways of relaxing, both physically and mentally. The slow and smooth moves encourage mindfulness while also relieving bodily tension.

4: Binaural beats  

Binaural beats are soothing and straightforward ways to unwind. And there are many excellent examples of both on Youtube.  All you need do is close your eyes and listen. No effort required. Try this video on Youtube.

3: Mantras (Japa)

Mantras involve meditating on a specific spiritual phrase.

A relaxing mantra might involve focusing on the words “I am feeling calm and relaxed, free as a bird.” Naturally, this is just an example. You may choose whichever mantra works for you.

By focussing on a positive and relaxing line, we train the mind to think in relaxing ways. In turn, this promotes inner calm and relaxation. A great mantra for relaxation is “Om.”

2: Taoist meditation for relaxation

I love Taoist meditations. And research shows that Taoist meditations are very relaxing.

Techniques like Tai Chi, QiGong and Zhuangi (a breathing technique) are powerful ways of tending to the mind and cultivating inner peace.

You can find a complete list of Taoist methods and instructions via our main menu.  

1: Guided Meditation For Relaxation

There are lots of good relaxing apps that include relaxing guided meditation scripts and audio.

Guided meditations use audio scripts specially written to guide you towards relaxation and inner peace

Guided meditations are great. And especially for beginners. I often think that guided meditations are like a visit to the spa. They are quick and easy. Just make sure you also use other meditation techniques alongside guided meditations.

what makes something relaxing
what makes something relaxing

Benefits of relaxing and meditating

Scientific research confirms that we are at our best when we are relaxed. Just take a look at this list of the benefits of relaxation. 

  • Slows heart rate
  • Massively reduces anxiety
  • Helps us to overcome depression
  • Increases blood flow to major muscles
  • Reduces muscle tension and chronic pain
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves concentration and mood
  • Helps with maintaining normal blood sugar levels
  • Reduces anger and frustration
  • Boosts confidence to handle problems
  • Reduces activity of stress hormones
  • Slows breathing rate
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Improves digestion
  • Lowers fatigue

Our brains are at their best when relaxed too, largely because relaxation massively reduces stress.

Stress inhibits cognitive functioning and heavily impacts brain health.

When we are stressed, the brain releases cortisol and adrenalin, prompting the body to enter the ‘fight-or-flight’ response.

When we are stressed, we fixate on whatever we are stressed about, and we become so singularly focused on the negative that we simply cannot function. At these times, the relaxing meditations that I have shared above will come in handy.

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By Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.

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