I had a tough day. Added to it, had a bad argument with a car driver on the way. I was late and was rushing for the meeting. I just made it in time. Perhaps my anxiety was visible on my face and so a friend suggested, “Relax”.
I wondered about how one relaxes. Is it that you just sit for a while, perhaps have a glass of water, catch up the breath etc.? Or is there something more to it?
“There is a systematic way for relaxation. You need to practice it and once you master it you can relax almost instantaneously.”
I had heard the word “Relax” so frequently that I believed everyone must be aware of it. I was now hearing for the first time about a systematic way of relaxation. As usual, I flowed with the meeting.
We were asked to observe if there was any tension in certain parts of the body – the shoulders, chest, stomach, back of the neck, and face and were told not to worry much about arms and legs.
“Strongly increase the tension wherever you feel it the most.”
This was strange. We were being asked to increase the tension. But as I did it, I realised that with that I could get the clear register of the tension.
“Hold this tension for a few seconds until the muscles become tired. Then, abruptly release the excess tension.”
What is the meaning of relaxed shoulders? First tightening it and then relaxing, I could feel the sensation of relaxation. I could feel the difference.
“You have learned how to relax your most tense muscles by doing something opposite to what
you might expect; you have tensed your muscles even more in order to relax them.”
“Once you master this technique, proceed to mentally feel the external muscles of your body in a symmetrical way. That is, always feel both sides of your body, for example, both eyes, both shoulders, both hands, etc. at the same time.”
We were shown pictorially about the scheme to follow and then we followed a guided relaxation, focussing on each part of the body, feeling it, and relaxing it.
“The next step is to work on internal relaxation.”
I had so far heard about relaxing the body. I wondered, what would internal relaxation mean.
“Feel your eyes and try to feel your eyeballs and the muscles that surround both eyes very well. Now feel the inside of both of your eyes at the same time. Experience an internal and symmetrical sensation of both your eyes, and then move your attention toward the inside of your head, relaxing your eyes completely.”
Again, we followed a guided relaxation, this time internal parts of the body.
“When you finish, check to see whether any external muscles are still tense. All the external muscles should now be perfectly relaxed, and of course, you should also have achieved a good internal relaxation.
“Now we will work with mental relaxation. Feel your brain as if it is “tense.” Then, let that tension loosen up and “flow” inwards and down, towards the center of your head. Concentrate on this and move inward one layer at a time. Continue lowering the tension with a sensation of “falling” as the top of your brain begins to feel very soft and pleasant. Always move down, down towards the center of your head, down below the center, lower and lower. Feel a soft, warm, and fluffy sensation.”
We were advised to practice the external, internal and mental relaxation several times until we master it. Eventually we will be able to practice it almost instantaneously.
With these relaxations I was already feeling far relaxed, better in a totally new, refreshed mood with improved concentration.
What a great aspect to learn moving ahead in my journey of becoming better human being?