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author: mkalinow@onet.eu

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi

Life Balance

Complementary Self-practice

In Harmonize your Inner-self

Proper Relaxation

There are a great many benefits to be gained from relaxation:

  • calming and soothing the mind;
  • relief from depression and anxiety;
  • relief from stress;
  • control of unproductive, worrying thoughts;
  • promotion of feelings of well-being and inner peace;
  • an increased ability to cope with the stresses of everyday life;
  • enhanced physical, mental and spiritual awareness.

Learning to relax the whole body can slow down or eradicate symptoms caused by stress and tension. The key to controlling anxiety is being able to relax. Stress causes the muscles to tense up and this leads to many different kinds of aches and pains, such as tightness in the chest or headaches. The aches and pains can themselves then cause worry and stress levels increase. The constant tension causes fatigue, which depletes our healing resources still further.

Here are some general tips to bear in mind to get the most out of your relaxation exercises:

  • Allow a regular time for your relaxation practice, preferably the same time each day
  • Make sure that you won’t be disturbed during your relaxation period
  • Make sure that the room is warm and comfortable. Have a light blanket handy as the body can quickly start to feel chilly
  • Use music to create a relaxing mood and mask outside noise
  • Use aromatherapy candles or oils if you wish
  • Avoid practicing if you are hungry or have just had a large meal
  • Don’t judge your attempts - relaxation is not a competitive activity - just allow it to happen
  • Breathe slowly and regularly, in and out through your nose
  • Breathe from the diaphragm
  • Practice once or twice a day for 20 to 30 minutes
  • Finally, practice relaxation generally by making time for yourself; just enjoy being who you are (have a soak in the bath, read a book, treat yourself to a massage)

Exercise

To relax the body, first lie in a comfortable position on the floor (Savasan position for yoga practice). Ensure that the room is warm and there are no draughts. Lying on a rug or blanket is best, with possibly a cushion under the knees and/or head for support and comfort.

  • Starting with the toes of the right foot, tense them as hard as possible and then relax them fully. Feel the experience of your toes relaxing. Do this several times until you are sure they are fully relaxed
  • Next, move on to the whole foot. Tense it and relax it several times
  • Progress this way up the right leg, thigh and buttocks
  • Repeat with the left leg, thigh and buttocks
  • Next tense and relax the lower back, stomach and chest areas
  • Move on to the right arm and shoulder, followed by the left arm and shoulder
  • Finish with the neck, throat, face and head
  • Remain in this position and experience the relaxation for as long as you like, allowing your thoughts to drift without directing them

Relaxation takes practice and it is easy to think you are relaxed, when in fact there can still be many tense areas in the body. The only way to know you are totally physically relaxed is to go systematically through each area and relax it. It is often helpful to first tense the area and then release it. This demonstrates the difference in feeling between relaxed and tense muscles.



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