Saturday, April 5, 2014

"Journey On" Relaxation Exercise (Unit 2)

     I have tried breathing exercises numerous times before, but never guided by an instructor as with the "Journey On" activity.  What an experience...

     To begin the activity I sat comfortably in my computer chair with my legs folded one on top of the other (yoga style), my hands resting on my thighs, and my upper body leaned back into the chair.  I took note that at first my surroundings were filled with the sounds of my nieces and nephews playing downstairs and lots of traffic going by outside; however, not long into the exercise all of these sounds seemed to drift away and were replaced by only the soothing music playing in the background.  The music also had an effect on my breathing, making each breath I took slow and steady.  I immediately felt relaxed merely by the instructor's suggestion and further as I felt the word "relax" on my tongue with each exhale. 

     As the speaker began guiding me through the process of redirecting the blood flow to my hands I visualized the blood coming up into my shoulders with each inhale and down to my fingertips with each exhale, still breathing as rhythmically as before.  I found that my hands did not necessarily have the sense of heaviness that he described but they were indeed warm and I could feel the blood and energy coursing through my fingertips.  When I was guided to move my arms I still did not feel the heaviness or difficulty in doing so, yet there was a surreal quality to the experience like they were just floating into position and back with no real effort at all.  I followed a similar visualization process as before in returning the blood flow back to my abdominal area by visualizing the blood flowing back into my shoulders with each inhale and down to fill my center with each exhale.  

     The end of the relaxation activity was my favorite part.  As the instructor guided me back into reality I noticed a serene-like smile had formed on my face that I was previously unaware of.  Slowly all the sights and sounds started drifting back to me.  With previous similar exercises I always had a hard time actually blocking out my thoughts, which was not even an issue at all during this attempt, and I am sure I can thank that success to the guidance of the instructor.  While this was impressive, the most amazing part to the whole activity was the fact that prior to starting I had a muscle spasm throbbing in my shoulder and after the activity the pain was still there yet the throbbing had dissipated.  

     I was truly impressed and happy with my experiences through the "Journey On" relaxation activity.  I cannot believe the difference in performing breathing exercises on my own compared with having an instructor guide me.  I am intrigued by my body's responses and cannot wait to try it again!


  1. Megan, I use a similar routine to relax if I'm having trouble sleeping. While I lay in bed, I mentally turn my body off piece by piece, starting at my toes and working upward to the top of my head--it actually works, I feel really relaxed, and I end up getting a good night's sleep. Great post!

  2. That's a great tip Teresa, thanks for sharing! I tried something similar today after work because my whole entire body ached. So I laid on the floor and did a similar I breathed in and out I visualized a white light flowing up over my body piece by piece as you mentioned. This only took me about 10 minutes and I felt great after!

  3. Megan, I rather enjoyed reading about your experience, and though you put it much more eloquently than I did, I felt as though my experience was very similar to yours. The few guided meditations I've done were always pretty simple; one was a chakra meditation that only incorporated ethereal background music and a tone and note for each chakra.
    I have to express that I did not feel that sense of heaviness, either, though I did feel warmth and a tingling sensation in my hands. I feel that this denotes that each individual is affected differently because we're all unique.
    I have to admit that some times while meditating, I find that my mind wanders, even if it is just for a fraction of a second. Though my mind did wander the first time I performed this exercise, I had managed a second attempt and found that my mind was more receptive to my intent.
    Thank you for such a thorough post; I really enjoyed reading it and responding to it.

  4. Hi Meghan, thanks so much for your comments! I admittedly have trouble with my mind wandering most of the time as well, but it did not with this exercise which is the major reason I enjoyed it so much. I do agree that each person would likely have a unique response to the guided meditation. I was curious if I would have different responses if I tried it again...such as possibly feeling the heaviness in my hands or whatnot. I guess I shall have to try and see!