Close your eyes. Ok well, maybe not quite yet, but go ahead and get comfortable because in a moment, I really do want you to close your eyes. Here’s what I’m going to ask you to do: take a deep, long breath in. The kind that makes your lungs full and your belly feel like it’s going to burst. Now exhale slowly but powerfully. Do it again. And again. Listen to the sound of your breath.
Have you ever experienced a time when you tried to execute a certain action and your body or muscles failed you? Perhaps it was due to a moment of inattention or clumsiness, or perhaps your muscles instinctively tensed or turned to mush under pressure.
Even though we frequently associate the word “relaxation” with our physical condition, it’s good to remember that relaxation is also a state of mind; practicing the habit of relaxed concentration includes cultivating an awareness of the power of the mind.
I chose to address mindfulness last because it a beneficial way to practice all the previous skills cumulatively. It is a skill that combines physical relaxation with clear, careful cognitive awareness and the passive direction of thoughts.