Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) Meditation VS Guided Meditation
A PMR meditation differs significantly from a guided meditation. A PMR meditation relaxes the body to relax the mind. A guided meditation relaxes the mind to relax the body.
Sometimes beginners find it easier to stay present during a PMR meditation as the PMR meditation keeps the mind occupied as it must focus on tightening and releasing different muscles throughout the meditation.
PMR Meditation asks four (4) things of us:
– To connect with our imagination.
– To connect with our breath.
– To create and release muscle tension.
– To remain present and enjoy the journey without expectations.
Accomplishing these four (4) things creates a place where self-healing can begin.
Both Guided Meditation and PMR Meditation ask us to connect to our imagination by using our 5 internal senses – seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Once activated, the imagination becomes the bridge to our subconscious. It is the subconscious that shapes the way we react to and interact with the world around us. It is the subconscious that never waivers from our highest purpose, our highest good, our true path.
Both types of meditation ask us to connect with our breath.
How we breath has an enormous effect on how our body functions. Chest or shallowing breathing occurs when we are stressed. By consciously breathing in deeply and releasing slowly, we can shift our body from the flight or flight mode to the rest and digest mode.
We are energetic beings. Our well-being depends on the unhindered flow of energy within the body. When we are stressed our muscles tighten up and the flow of energy is restricted. To open the energetic pathways within the body we must relax the body.
Although it sounds counterintuitive, an effective way to release muscle tension within the body is to consciously create and then release it.
PMR Meditation, unlike Guided Meditation, asks us to consciously create and then release muscle tension. The process not only allows us to acknowledge that tension exists, it allows us to create the memory that we have the power to release the tension.
PMR Meditation is, therefore, both empowering and relaxing.
The trickiest part of any Guided Meditation is to be present and to enjoy the journey as opposed to thinking about what needs to be done tomorrow or what we need to buy at the grocery store on the way home. When we worry, it causes our body to tense up.
Worrying, or being in the mind, creates stress in the body. In order to relax, we must be present and in our body. Often with Guided Meditation we need to employ a technique to get out of the mind to reconnect with our body.
There are a number of techniques that can be employed to tame the mind.
One technique is to focus on our breath. To focus on our breath means to purposefully follow one or more breath cycles with the intent to reconnect to our body. A breath cycle consists of an in breath and out breath. We follow our breath as the breath enters through our nose, travels down and into the belly and then as the breath rises up and out.
A second technique is to visualize a giant red stop sign in front of us. The stop sign can instantly bring our mind back to the present, to the here and now.
With PMR Meditation we often don’t have to employ additional techniques to stop the mind from wandering/worrying. PMR Meditation keeps the mind busy and focused through the process of consciously creating and releasing muscle tension from the top of our head to the tips of our toes.
PMR Meditation is often the preferred meditation for individuals who are new to meditation, individuals who have a busy mind or individuals who hold a lot of tension in their body.
My philosophy is that we will experience what we are meant to experience during a meditation. There is no right or wrong. Every experience is personal, every experience is unique and every experience is healing.