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Meditation for Inner Relaxation

Guideline to Associated Audio


By Glenn Belton

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Meditation for Inner Relaxation
Copyright
Copyright Glenn Belton June 2016. Please do not copy this Text Guideline or the associated Audio or use
for business or financial profit. Email: westnorfolktaichi@hotmail.co.uk Website: West Norfolk Tai Chi
www.west-norfolk-tai-chi.com

Audio-link for Streaming


https://soundcloud.com/user-241151778/sets/practical-exercises-for/s-qetEp

MP3 files
MP3 files for download are available on request to westnorfolktaichi@hotmail.co.uk

Website
There is a great deal of information about Tai Chi, Chi Gong and my classes on my website: www.west-
norfolk-tai-chi.com

Version 2 May 2017

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Contents

Introduction
Basic Abdominal Breathing
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
Whole Body Breath
Reverse Breath
Breath to Yongquan
Tai Chi as a Type of Chi Gong

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Introduction

Meditation for Inner Relaxation


This is the Guideline to be read in conjunction with the Audio 'Meditation for Inner Relaxation'. Please
see link above for streaming the Audio; the Audio is also available for purchase in CD format. These
types of exercises are commonly practiced in a Tai Chi class and are referred to as Chi Gong or
mindfulness meditation. Chi Gong originates from China and can be very wide in scope, including
exercises with medical aims and can be quite esoteric; this Guideline and associated Audio do not
address these types of applications and address only basic, practical and straightforward relaxation
applications. I hope these exercises will demystify meditation and make it easily accessible to everyone.

In Class / At Home
The exercises in this Guideline are supported in the classes of West Norfolk Tai Chi Chuan held in Norfolk
UK. This guide and the linked Audio are designed for self learning at home with the opportunity to ask
for guidance on the exercises from teacher Glenn at class. However, it is not necessary to attend a class
in Norfolk UK, and wherever you live you have all the information you need in this Guideline and the
linked Audio to practice and learn the exercises. I am also happy to receive questions via email at:
westnorfolktaichi@hotmail.co.uk

Purpose of Exercises
The exercises in this book and the accompanying Audio, teach techniques to develop inner relaxation.
There are two aims to these activities: the obvious one, to relax the mind and body, and the second,
when unable to relax, to learn what types of things get in the way of relaxation. For example, external
noises and interruptions, but mainly internal trains of thought that trigger emotional feelings.

Dispense with the Audio


The audios are a means to an end. After a while, you will learn the exercises and will no longer need the
Audio. When you begin practicing without the Audio, at first you will need a means of setting a length of
time that you wish to do the exercise. An alarm is best for this purpose; this will ensure that you can
relax without worrying that you are meditating for a longer period than you planned.

Formal and Informal Practice


Formal practice is when you set some time aside to practice and follow the exercise method closely.
Informal practice is how, through experience, you integrate the inner feeling developed through formal
practice into your daily life.

Adverse Effects
Relaxation techniques are generally considered safe for healthy people. However, occasionally, people
report unpleasant experiences such as increased anxiety, intrusive thoughts, or fear of losing control.
There have been rare reports that certain relaxation techniques might cause or worsen symptoms in
people with epilepsy or certain psychiatric conditions, or with a history of abuse or trauma. People with
heart disease should talk to their health care provider before doing Progressive Muscle Relaxation.

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Pregnant women should not lay on the back, particularly after 16 weeks, because the weight of the
bump presses on the main blood vessel bringing blood back to the heart and this can cause a feeling of
faintness.

Points in the Body


The exercises refer to traditional Chinese terms for points in the body, such as Dan-tien, Yongquan etc -
these are convenient descriptions of the relevant body locations. Dan-tien is the most often referred to
point and is located about three finger widths below and two finger widths behind the navel. But just
think of it as inside your own tummy.

Enter Quiescence
When the mind wanders to planning the future, or reflecting on the past, let go of those thoughts and
return the mind to the activity. In the present moment. This way, the mind can relax from its worries
and concerns - at least for a while! It is important to not try to block thoughts and feelings; rather to
allow thoughts and feelings to arise easily into the consciousness but not become attached to them. Just
let them come and let them pass; much like clouds passing through the sky.

Internal Feeling
Pay Attention
One brings the mind internal in these exercises and therefore the internal sensations of the body will be
particularly noticed. There may be an impact on blood circulation and oxygenation and stimulation of
the nervous system. There is the gentle contraction and relaxation of the musculature in co-ordination
with breathing; this movement can be very subtle, even to the extent that there is no external
movement at all, just a feeling of movement. Although there is no actual "external" movement (or there
may be just tiny movement) the brain and nervous system are activated.

Focus on Points in the Body


One has a sense of all of the various parts of the body simply by bringing the mind there; for example,
one has a sense of the center of the palm, or the bottom of the foot - this internal feeling is also
important. Focusing the mind on breathing and points within the body tends to absorb the mind and
distract from other thoughts and feelings that may occur; promoting relaxation. Moving the mind and
thus the "energy" around the body is commonly a way of dispersing and clearing anxiety and sadness.

Posture
These exercises can be practiced sitting upright on a chair or laying flat on the back. If laying down,
falling asleep is quite common - this is not really the aim but it is not necessarily a problem. Sleep for
longer than 15 minutes during the day may interfere with bedtime sleep. Breath to Yongquan can be
practiced in a standing posture. In standing posture; imagine that a string is attached to the center of
the top of the head, holding the head up, the shoulders are relaxed, muscles generally are relaxed,
weight sinking down through the body, into the feet and into the ground, knees are unlocked, arms and
hands hang by the side, chest relaxed and head not thrust back. Breath to Yongquan can also be
practiced in lying posture.

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Approach
Eyes should be closed or half closed. Adopt a calm and accepting attitude towards your practice and
don't worry about how well you're doing.

Listen Safely
The Audio will take your attention away from normal day to day activities and so please do not listen to
the Audio when this could interfere with safe attention; examples of this would be driving a car, taking
care of children or any activity that requires your full attention.

Be Alert
On completion of an Audio exercise, take a few seconds to open the eyes, stretch and move around a
little, just to ensure that you are fully alert before recommencing your normal daily activities

Not Alternative
Please do not use these exercises as an alternative to medical advice and treatment. Please see your GP
if you have anxiety, depression or other symptoms and follow advice and treatment plans.

Practical Application
As you become more skilled, try applying the techniques to specific situations that might otherwise be
anxiety provoking, such as tests, oral presentations, difficult social situations, job interviews, insomnia
and so forth.

Breathe Through the Nose or the Mouth?


Ideally, one should breath in and out of the nose. The air going into the lungs is somewhat warmed,
moistened and filtered in the nasal cavity. However, many people are not comfortable with breathing
through the nose; the sinuses may be blocked. One may breath in through the nose and out through the
mouth. Or in through the mouth and out through the mouth. The tip of the tongue should be placed on
the upper hard palate behind the teeth. Holding the tongue at the roof of the mouth is valuable in that it
makes it difficult to breath in through the mouth with the tongue in this position; encouraging nasal
breathing. If breathing out through the mouth, the tongue should be dropped on the out breath and
"reconnected" on the in breath.

Bringing the Mind Internal


This means to let go of your focus on the outside world and to instead bring your awareness inside your
own body. A way to get a feel for this is to sit and close your eyes and be aware of your feeling of in
front of your body, then your feeling of behind you. We have these senses in relation to our own body.
Now have a feeling of all that is above you and then your sense of below you to the left of you and to
the right of you. Next have a feeling of all that is external to your own body. And then the opposite,
bring your mind internal to your own body and let it be gently aware of inside your own lower abdomen.
Just rest your mind inside your own tummy.

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Exercise 1 Basic Abdominal Breathing
Breathe deeply to the lower abdomen (Dan-tien). Take long, thin, quiet, deep breaths. The tummy
expands on the in-breath and also simultaneously very gently the Hyunin point (perineum) expands and
the sphincter muscle relaxes. On the out-breath, the tummy contracts. and simultaneously, very gently,
the Hyunin point (perineum) raises and the sphincter muscle slightly contracts. These pelvic floor
relaxations and contractions of the muscles should be done so lightly that there may be no actual (or
very little) contraction of the muscles at all.

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Exercise 2 Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
Progress through the sequence twice. First time tense and relax muscles selectively. Second time, just
pay attention to relaxing the muscles only (not tense and relax). Once you are familiar with the feeling of
your muscles being physically relaxed, you will have a convenient and quick way to check your muscle
relaxation -by dispensing altogether with the tense aspect and to do the sequence once through -relax
only. Close the eyes, relax. Empty the mind. Breathe lightly and thinly, but deeply to the lower abdomen,
throughout the exercise. Tense and relax muscles, in sequence, from head down to feet.
Relax head and face/shoulders/chest/back/upper legs/lower legs/feet. To finish, bring the mind focus
back to the lower abdomen. Breathe normally. For a few minutes, enjoy the calm and relaxed feeling.

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Exercise 3 Whole Body Breath
The following exercise uses a technique of focusing the mind at points in the body. Take a relaxed and
calm approach to the exercise.

Relax the Muscles


Close your eyes and, in your mind, look through your body, working from your head down to your feet,
letting go of any unnecessary tension in the muscles. (see PMR exercise above for learning this
technique).

Empty the Mind


Bring your attention to a single point of focus: relax the mind internally at the Lower Abdomen (Chinese
term is Dan-tien). Your mind should have an awareness of this position, but be otherwise empty.
Breathe normally and adopt a calm relaxed approach. Your mind will wander, be disturbed by
distractions such as external noises and by internal emotions and trains of thought. Be comfortable with
this happening repeatedly. Just keep returning the mind to the exercise and continue.

Basic Abdominal Breathing


Breathe deeply to the lower abdomen (Dan-tien). Take long, thin, quiet, deep breaths. The tummy
expands on the in-breath and also simultaneously, very gently, the Hyunin point (perineum) expands
and the sphincter muscle relaxes. On the out-breath, the tummy contracts. and simultaneously, very
gently, the Hyunin point (perineum) raises and the sphincter muscle slightly contracts.

Whole Body Breath


Next, breathe into the lower abdomen and as you breathe in, not just the lower abdomen, but the
whole body has a gentle expansion feeling, away from the Dan-tien. The chest expands - to the top of
the head - to the center of the palms and the fingertips - outward away from the spine - to the bottom
of the feet. Also simultaneously, very gently, the Hyunin point (Perineum) expands and the Sphincter
Muscle relaxes. On the out Breath, all gently contracts back to the to the Dan-tien and simultaneously,
very gently, the Hyunin point (Perineum) raises and the Sphincter Muscle slightly contracts). The feeling
is subtle and gentle, as though not just the chest, but the whole body were gently breathing. Continue
for a few minutes.

Relax to Finish
To finish, bring the mind focus back to the lower abdomen. Breathe normally. For a few minutes, enjoy
the calm and relaxed feeling.

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Exercise 4 Reverse Breath
In Breath
This exercise can be substituted for Standard Breath Chi Gong above. It is a little counter-instinctive but
has better effect. Breathe into the lower abdomen and as you breathe in it contracts and simultaneously,
very gently, the Hyunin point (Perineum) raises and the Sphincter Muscle slightly contracts. The back
muscles subtly contract towards the spine as though squeezing the spine; although this contraction is
such a subtle feeling that there may be no actual contraction at all - just a feeling.

Out Breath
Breathe out and not just the lower abdomen, but the whole body has a gentle expansion feeling, away
from the Dan-tien. The chest expands - to the top of the head - to the center of the palms and the
fingertips - outward away from the spine - to the bottom of the feet. Also, simultaneously, very gently,
the Hyunin point (Perineum) expands and the Sphincter Muscle relaxes. Breathe in and all gently
contracts back to the to the Dan-tien. The feeling is subtle and gentle, as though not just the chest, but
the whole body were breathing. Continue for a few minutes.

(Try focusing on any particular area of the body. For example: breathing to and from the spine, or the
bones in the arm, or the chest. The feeling is subtle and gentle as though the "chi" is being sucked into
the bone on the in breath).

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Exercise 5 Breathe To Yongquan
Preparation
Take a good, upright but relaxed, standing posture. Focus the mind on a single point. Bring the mind
internal to the body focusing on Dan-tien (the internal lower abdomen). For a few minutes, allow the
mind to settle. Breathe normally. The mind will be distracted by external noises, trains of thought and
feelings and emotions associated with these trains of thought. Expect this to happen repeatedly and do
not try to block out these thoughts and feelings, but equally do not become attached to them. Just let
them come and just as easily pass, repeatedly returning your attention to the activity. The mind will
gradually clear and settle in its own time. Breathe to and from the Yongquan point at the bottom of the
feet (in the center just at the rear of the balls of the feet) to the top of the head.

In Breath
On Inhalation feel that you are breathing in through the bottom of the feet, up, through the legs and
torso to the center of the top of the head. On inhalation, there is a gentle and subtle rising feeling of the
body.

Out Breath
On exhalation, feel as though you are breathing out from the top of the head, down through the torso
and legs, out through Yongquan points and into the ground. On exhalation, there is a gentle and subtle
sinking feeling, down into the feet and ground.

To Finish
To finish the exercise, breathe normally and focus the mind at Dan-tien for a minute or two. If you are
able, relax your mind simultaneously on Dan-tien and Yongquan for a while. Finish with the mind focus
at Dan-tien.

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Tai Chi as a Type of Chi Gong
Some people practice Tai Chi as well as relaxation exercises and this enhances Tai Chi play. If Tai Chi is
practiced very very slowly and meditatively with empty mind focusing only on the movements, then it is
considered to be Chi Gong. Many people find relaxation easier when practicing Tai Chi than sitting doing
and thinking nothing. This is because the activity of Tai Chi distracts the mind from its worries. Similar
could be painting, playing ball, watching a nature programme on TV. But meeting the challenge
improves and develops ability to relax, which feeds back into the Tai Chi - and life in general. Doing what
is difficult and challenging leads to adaptation and development (as long as the challenge is not too
difficult; which can lead to failure). Practice of PMR, as above, will help with keeping your muscles
relaxed when playing Tai Chi. In general, the exercises in this Guideline and the associated Audio should
assist with developing relaxation that feeds back into Tai Chi practice.

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