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Think meditation's for cheese cloth-wearing hippies with too much time on their hands? Making it a part of every day, says Cardiff-based Buddhism teacher Ngakma Nor'dzin, is one of the easiest ways to combat stress. And all you need is 10 minutes ...

relax the body Either lying down or sitting in a chair, systematically tense muscle groups throughout the body and then breathe away tension on the out-breath.

Tense the arms and then relax them as you breathe out. Tense the hands and then relax them as you breathe out. Then do the same with the legs and feet.

Next move to the shoulders tensing them forwards and then relaxing backwards and then relaxing and bringing them up to your ears and then relaxing.

Always relax on the out-breath.

Then follow the same procedure with the stomach muscles and then the buttock muscles, tensing and relaxing. Finally, stretch the neck muscles relaxing into the stretch on the out-breath and gently roll the neck first to the left and then to the right, lift the head back to stretch the neck under the chin, and then bring your chin to your chest to stretch the back of the neck.

Tip your head first to the left and then to the right trying to bring your ear to your shoulder to stretch the sides of the neck. Relax into the stretch on the out-breath.

Repeat this process of tense and relaxing until your body feels heavy and relaxed and your breathing is slow and regular.

sit comfortably Once your body is relaxed and your breathing calm, you are ready to move into meditation. Slowly and gradually adjust your posture so that you are sitting with the back upright, the body supported, and in a position that the blood can flow freely around your body.

meditate Meditate by bringing your attention to your breathing, particularly noticing the out-breath. As you breathe out let go of thought - let go of whatever is in your mind.

If you find this difficult, count the out-breaths from one up to 21 and then back down to one. If you get lost in a thought - from planning your next shopping trip, revisiting a memory to going over a problem at work - just let it go on the next out-breath.

Gradually it will become easier to let go of thought and remain focused, and you will start to experience moments of mind without thought.

practise Get into the habit of this meditation of letting go of thought for 10 minutes every day and you'll start to discover a real quality of mind when it's no longer dominated and defined by thought.

Thought is a natural process of mind but it's not the essence of mind. The nature of mind is spacious, clarity, and when it's discovered in meditation it will start to sparkle in everyday life. Meditate every day for just 10 minutes and you will become more open, patient, tolerant and kind through the spaciousness of mind you have discovered. Ngakma Nor'dzin's new book, Relaxing into Meditation, published by Aro Books, is available from
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 11, 2011
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