Creating A Visualization Practice

Path to bamboo forest, Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan

When we visualize by conjuring an image in our minds, we can actually activate the brain’s neural pathways in the same way we would when we are having the actual experience. Visualization is a way of programming our minds by envisioning an event or goal and believing that we will one day live out these moments in real life. If practiced regularly, Visualization can assist in all aspects of our lives, like accomplishing goals, positive growth, stress reduction, a healing aide – to name a few benefits.

There is no wrong way to use Visualization. Although, there are ways to improve your technique in order to achieve the best possible result. I use visualization to assist my body’s innate ability to heal. When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, my favorite holistic doctor recommended I try visualization in order to empower my mind to aide in fighting my cancer.

My doctor recommended I get into a prone position on my bed or sit in a meditative position, close my eyes and focus on my body attacking the cancer cells and replacing them with healthy cells. I would visualize in my mind how this would play out in my body. It made me feel empowered.

Feeling empowered alone, can help us heal and gain strength and clarity. Our minds are so powerful!
Today, I still use visualization. I have come to use it to help me feel better about issues in everyday life. For example, I am someone who appreciates the healing power of the sunshine. If I am denied sun and warmth for an extended period of time, I start to feel it in my spirit.

If I lay down in a warm room, close my eyes, and imagine I am lying on a beach or being somewhere warm and sunny, it does wonders for my soul.

Tips for Getting The Most Out of Your Visualization Practice

Find a Quiet Place Or A Way To Quiet Your Mind

If you are first starting out, you may find it easier to Visualize while you are in a quiet room lying down. Lowering the lights or pulling down the shades to dim the lighting in the room will also help you achieve a more dreamlike state.

Try not to overthink things. Wear something comfortable and lie down, relax, close your eyes and start to think about whatever it is you are trying to Visualize. It is important to feel relaxed and at ease. Don’t try to rush or hurry the process. Enjoy it and give yourself the time you need to achieve your Visualization goals.

When I started out, I would sometimes fell asleep because I was so relaxed. It is not bad if this happens, although you will probably not get through a Visualization session if you fall asleep.

Use All Your Senses

It may help you to visualize if you incorporate your senses. Sight, sound, touch, smell – all have a place in visualization. Incorporating more senses in your practice may help you get more out of your practice.

Sea Caves near Ayia Napa, Cyprus.

The more detailed the scene, the greater the effect the visualization will have on both mind and body. If you have trouble conjuring images, making use of your other senses may actually help you to achieve a more complete experience.

When I started doing yoga, I would have difficulty lying still at the end of practice in Shavasana. This is the portion of class where we are winding down and relaxing during the final minutes of practice. When I was new to yoga, my mind would race and I would have a hard time keeping still. Visualization helped me learn how to get the most out of this portion of class. The studio I was going to at the time was on a busy road with a constant flow of cars going by. The sound of cars, to me, can mimic the sound of ocean waves. The yoga room was warmed to about 85 degrees. When I was lying in Shavasana, listening to the cars roll by, I would imagine I was lying on the beach listening to the waves crash to shore. It was an amazing Visualization that helped me transform my practice of Shavasana.

Use Sound to Help Set the Mood

Try turning on some soft music or sound like waves crashing to shore, wind chimes or rain. This will help to set the mood of your visualization. The addition of sound will enhance your experience. Use a sound that fits the theme of your visualization. This video on YouTube has wonderful sounds of nature that may help you to set the tone for your visualization practice.

Practice Visualization Regularly

Nothing in life improves without practice. Like most other things, the more you practice your technique, the more benefit you will reap.

For optimal benefits, try setting aside 10 minutes each day for your practice. The more seasoned you become, the easier the practice will get for you.

Allow Yourself to Connect to the Emotion Of Visualization

A powerful aspect of Visualization are the emotions we experience each time we practice. Depending on the scene you are setting, you may stir up some emotion. If this happens, go with it. The result will be a more powerful visualization.

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