Meditation is the art of focusing one’s mind into a highly concentrated state that induces clarity, calm, and joy. There are numerous styles and different meditation techniques from all corners of the world. While most people think of meditation in the more formal style (cross-legged on the floor with eyes closed and hands folded), meditation can really take on many different and unexpected forms. Massage is an absolutely wonderful time to practice meditation. By it’s very nature massage has a very meditative quality that often draws the client’s mind into a very still and spacious place. This quiet place of mind is what so often draws people to massage, in hopes of totally unwinding for an hour. Yet, over the years I have seen so many clients who struggle with being able to get their mind to quiet down enough to really be able to enjoy their time on the table. Some people have a whirlwind of thoughts flying through their heads and just can’t seem to get them to slow down, even for an hour. This is what Buddhist teaching refers to as “Monkey Mind”. This is where meditation steps in.
Every style of meditation requires a meditation object. This is the focus point for your meditation. While there are countless different meditation objects that are available, the most popular is the breath. Using breath as the object of meditation, one will simply focuses all of their attention on their breathing. Do not try to control the breath in any way, but just focus intently on the natural rhythms of your inhalation and exhalation. Very regularly you’ll notice a thought come into your mind (“What am I going to do after this?” “ I need to remember to call Grandma later.” “I’m totally having a cheeseburger for lunch!”). Thoughts are not something to try to shut off immediately every time one arises. They are not our enemies, something to be fighting against. When thoughts arise, just recognize them as a thought, gently let them pass away like a cloud, and then bring your awareness back to your breath. Every time your attention slips away, just bring it gently back to the breath. Smile! This is about being at ease, relaxed, and joyful.
Now knowing these basic meditation techniques, you can easily bring them to the massage table. During your massage, just simply be aware of your breath. Feel as if with every inhalation your are breathing in a warm, soft, light. With every exhalation imagine you are exhaling all of the stress and worry that you’ve been carrying around. As your mind starts to naturally become more focused on your breathing, you will be greeted with feelings of spaciousness, peace, and calm. Also, by not being so caught up in your head, you’ll notice that you are appreciating the massage in a whole new way. By being present, you are able to notice all of the subtle movements of the Massage Therapist’s hands. Every moment of the massage can truly be savored and enjoyed, leaving you feeling totally relaxed and rejuvenated.
Don’t let your monkey mind take back over the minute you are off the table. Continue focusing on your breathing and enjoying the relaxation you helped create during the massage. Carry this feeling with you throughout your day and see what a difference it can make!
May you be well.
CaloSpa LMT, Jordan Cox