The Raisin Exercise and How it Can Help You Relax

The raisin exercise is particularly recommended for those who want to start practicing meditation, but feel that it's too difficult for them. It's also useful for stabilizing the mind and emotions in difficult times.
The Raisin Exercise and How it Can Help You Relax
Gema Sánchez Cuevas

Written and verified by the psychologist Gema Sánchez Cuevas.

Last update: 20 October, 2022

Although there’s a lot of talk about the benefits of meditation these days, you may think it’s too complex or demanding to practice yourself. The raisin exercise is proof that this isn’t true. In this regard, meditating is a simple activity that doesn’t take up too much of your time and will help relax you in a matter of minutes.

The raisin exercise is a training technique that aims to develop concentration and attention, but also to practice breathing. The action of breathing is fundamental in all types of meditation, since everything else depends on it.

“When you’re present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it.”

-Eckhart Tolle-

You’ll be pleased to know that the raisin exercise is especially recommended for those who don’t have a lot of experience with meditation. It’s an exercise that’ll help you to become familiar with this type of practice. Thus, it’s highly recommended when you’re feeling particularly anxious or when you’ve gone through a difficult experience.

An anxious woman.

The importance of breathing

Managing your breathing is fundamental to any relaxation exercise. If you breathe correctly, you’ll oxygenate your whole body, particularly your brain. This will help your body and mind start working at a slower pace.

Usually, anxious people take quick and shallow breaths. However, if you’re able to stop for a moment and breathe deeply, your mind and emotions will stabilize.

The first thing you have to keep in mind is that you should breathe through your nose, with your mouth closed. Also, you should always breathe through your nose and never with your lips half-open. Likewise, when you breathe in and out deeply, your belly should move in and out.

It’s best to start by simply focusing your attention on the way you breathe. Don’t try to control or change your breathing. That desire to want to control everything or do everything correctly is an obstacle. If you pay attention to your breathing in a natural and spontaneous way, then it’ll automatically start to slow down.

The raisin exercise

The raisin exercise is actually very simple. To do it, you only need three raisins. You also need to find a quiet place, somewhere where you’ll be alone and know you won’t be interrupted. Then, simply take one of the raisins and eat it as naturally as you normally would.

The second part of the exercise consists of concentrating on your breathing. After that, you have to put the second raisin in your mouth. This time, don’t eat it mechanically. Instead, from the moment you put it in your mouth, try to perceive its texture and flavor.

Take your time and chew it slowly, trying to perceive how the fruit touches your tongue, teeth, palate, and throat. Try to follow its movements as far as you’re able to.

Finally, you have to eat the third raisin. However, before moving it towards your mouth, observe it carefully. Move it slowly in your fingers to feel its texture and smell it with your eyes closed in order to capture its aroma. Then, if you want, you can cut it in half. After that, put it in your mouth, without following any particular pattern. And that’s it!

A bowl of raisins.

The meaning of the exercise

The goal of meditation is to slow down the ideas and emotions that are in your mind. However, this isn’t easy to achieve, as your emotions constantly invade your life and influence your thoughts. In fact, you’ll probably initially reject the idea of emptying your mind.

The raisin exercise is a training exercise that’ll help you, little by little, to achieve the goal of eradicating the ideas and emotions that are invading your mind. By focusing your attention on a single point and letting yourself contemplate it completely, you’ll start to empty your mind. This will produce a sense of tranquility and renewal.

If you’re feeling upset or anxious, this exercise is an excellent way to calm down. The great thing about it is that you can do it with any fruit. However, raisins are highly recommended because they’re small and have many interesting properties.

What are you waiting for? Try this exercise to see if it works for you 0r not!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Kornfield, J. (2012). Meditación para principiantes. Editorial Kairós.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.