Life is very stressful in today’s world. Relaxation is thus the key to survival today. Relaxing successfully also holds the key to a healthy body and a healthy mind. When our muscles are in a state of tension, it affects our internal organs. Our thought processes become fuzzy; even our sight can become blurred. We are unable to carry out daily activities successfully.
When in a state of mental tension, we should deliberately relax all the muscles of our body, one by one, and feel the difference. Relaxed muscles relax the mind. The secret of being more effective in daily life, without tiring the body or mind, is to have complete control over our body and learn to relax it at will. Every form of activity should be followed by an interval of rest, even the heart rests between beats. So, during practice of yoga, we must rest at regular intervals. Resting is not mere lying down or remaining inactive. The art of relaxation is an entire programme, which corrects the faulty pathway of the psychological system.
Learning to relax is an exercise that calls for attention and concentration. Relaxation contributes to concentration and concentration in turn leads to better understanding. Complete relaxation is possible only after prolonged and conscious effort. Sleep is a protective physiological phenomenon, which nature has provided us with to rejuvenate our body and mind. However, it is not so much the period of sleep as the depth of sleep that is important. Sleep will be more effective if the technique of voluntary relaxation is properly understood.
Voluntary relaxation has been found to be even more beneficial to both the body and mind than sleep. For example, in Yogic relaxation techniques, the fall in the number of respiration counts, blood pressure and pulse beats is nearly 10 per cent more than that obtainable in ordinary sleep. Voluntary relaxation becomes more effective when you gradually withdraw conscious attention from every part of the body, by engaging the mind in breathing.
One of the asanas that aids in relaxation is the Makarasana (crocodile pose). Yogis observed that the crocodile, when it comes out of the water, rests awhile on its abdomen. The body configuration in the Makarasana resembles that of the resting crocodile. Relaxation is not just about the physical body, bit also includes the mind. When we are worried about something, there is a constriction of energy in the nerves of the body resulting in a blockage. This causes tension.
Tension may also take place when, as in the case of mental healing, energy is consciously sent to any physical, mental, or spiritual self-healing. Relaxation not only induces regularity in breathing, but also helps one attain conscious control of the prana or life force. Learn to relax by directing the ever-present life force to a particular body part or the entire body simultaneously. Hold the tension for a few seconds, and then exhale quickly feeling the tension and fatigue leaving your body and mind.
The subconscious has the knowledge, power, wisdom and understanding to heal and maintain perfect health. It is the interference of negative suggestions that causes ill health and weakness. So, whenever we feel that something is not right, we use affirmation to get back on the right track. Here is a simple one that can be absorbed into our subconscious mind to keep our body fit: “Attuned with universal healing powers and the source of life, all my body organs are now becoming normal and fit, and they will function perfectly to maintain excellent health, strength and vitality up to a great age.”