You might have heard many meditation teachers talking about the importance of stretching before your meditation session. Many meditation classes start with a short stretching session during the relaxation procedure. In yoga, a meditation lifestyle, there are plenty of stretching exercises. So, why is stretching so crucial for your meditation journey? Let’s start with the basics.
If you have already practiced some meditation, you already know that the most critical subject we work with is our energy. Energy is a magnetic field full of vibrations which flow inside your body. Imagine energy like a river which flows inside your body. Take some time to imagine this river flowing inside you. Use your mind to feel this river. Watch it flow from your coccyx to your spine, to your neck and head, and then move downwards from your tongue to your throat, chest, solar plexus, belly, perineum, and back to your coccyx. Now imagine that river flowing in any direction inside your body. Watch it flow towards your arms and legs. Watch it move towards your whole torso, your vital organs, everywhere. Can you feel it?
Now, let’s briefly introduce energy to understand its nature and needs. Energy is the transmission of vibrations from one part of your body to the other. To fully understand this, observe a wave in the sea. Can you see how a wave moves toward the coast? Can you see how this energy that forces the water to move upwards is transmitted from one part of the water to the other? The same way your energy moves inside you from one group of cells to the next. Now imagine your energy trying to pass through your neck area. If the muscles around your neck are loose, the energy will pass unobstructed. This can happen because a loose muscle is flexible and can receive and transmit this wave of energy more accessible. To understand this, do the following experiment: Take a rope in your hands. Tight one end on a steady surface. Take the other end to your hand. Let the rope loose. Now with the other hand, try to move the rope in any direction. It is easy. Now tighten it as much as possible and try to move it again. It must be pretty challenging now. In the same way, work your muscles. If a muscle is too tightened, the energy cannot pass due to inflexibility. If your muscle is loose, the energy will pass easier.
This flexibility is what we are looking for. That’s why stretching is so important. Stretching techniques help your muscles and organs stay loose. They also help your bones move a bit away from each other so they can move unobstructed. When you do some stretching, your body is in a better condition to move your energy. The higher the energy, the deeper the meditation experience. Therefore, I recommend doing some easy stretching exercises before practicing any meditation. Be careful, though, not to overdo it. Stretching, like meditation in general, must be joyful, not painful!
Fotis Tampas (De Tao).