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What are the differences between relaxation and meditation?

How it is done, what it brings, what underlines the approach?

How do you find good places to learn to practice relaxation? I live in London (England).

Many thanks
Great responses, thanks.

Wondering how you call the “exercise” through which you lay down on the floor with your eyes closed and someone else guides you (through words, music etc) to reach a more relaxed state.

6 Comments

  • Hi Claire,

    Actually, they are very different, but they are often confused.
    Relaxing is usually a side-effect of meditation, but traditional meditation is quite hard work.
    In traditional meditation, one tries to understand and control the mind, by learning to concentrate better and to observe the mind; and that is certainly not easy at all.

    At the same time, when one gets better at meditation with some practice, the mind usually calms down, and this is a kind of relaxing, as it relieves us from the stress of worries and all kind of confused thoughts and emotions.

    Of course, nowadays (especially in New-Age circles), any type of relaxation is quickly called meditation, but that is pretty misleading; many of these techniques are merely relaxing and have very little in common with meditation. For example ‘spacing out’ with music is actually the opposite of traditional meditation.

    Nothing wrong with relaxing of course, but calling an apple an orange is simply confusing and misleading…

  • its all to do with brain waves actually.
    when you’re in a state of relaxation your brain waves are quite slow, but when you’re meditating (30min or longer) your brain waves are much much slower. relaxation can be walking, listening to music, talking a bath, reading etc…but meditating is quieting the mind and focusing on something; you usually have an intention (i.e some people meditate on a picture or a word and try to make sense of it..or to make it have a more profound meaning) with meditation, its important not to strain yourself, trying to hard to be quiet, spiritual because that will block the purpose. just allow your mind to unfold.

  • Here is an “opinion” on both: relaxation is anything that you can or will do to get your body to ease tension. Example…walking with your shoulders back, as opposed to hunched forward will relax your back muscles. Lying down when exhausted…will relax your mind, and body. .

    Meditation…is “concentrating” on a person, place, or thing…consistently! You are playing it over and over in your mind. Some people meditate by saying “phrases or words” over and over.

    The difference is you can relax in many ways..i.e. reading, walking, singing, dancing…all these things can help to to relax.

    You can meditate…or constantly think things over, and over. Meditation is performed by the mind.
    .
    Relaxation is performed BY THE BODY…..FOR THE MIND!

  • Meditation is when you concentrate on your breathing and focus your self, relaxation is when you un wind your mind from stress; meditation helps you relax. You can learn meditation from different yogi guru’s – check you tube for videos, but its basically when you sit crossed legged and close ur eyes, you can start with deep breathing, then do one thing where you close one nostril with your thumb and deep breath once through you other nostril, then swap nostrils but close it with you ring finger instead – hoped it helped

  • Relaxation is Relaxing the body whereas meditation is Relaxing the soul. There’s some great sites that can teach you for free how to relax your chakras but if you need help look round your local community and ask about. I’m sure someone knows where you can be taught and can practice.

  • relaxing is just doing anything to relax yourself and calm down – things you enjoy can relax you, even if they’re quite active

    meditation is rather concentrating on your inner-self, soul-searching and trying not to think of anything

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