RELAXATION

State of general physical and psychological distension that favors muscular hypotonicity.

It is a state of physical, mental and emotional rest, without any stress, in which the restructuring and balancing of the whole body takes place. The relaxing response is completely opposite to the fight or flight one developed by our body during stressful situations, and therefore, it is useful to fight stress.

 


Types of Relaxation

1. Physical Relaxation

It is the elimination of the body/muscular stress. There are two levels of body relaxation: the outer, or more superficial one, involving muscles and tendons, and the deep one, in which internal organs are also involved.

 

2. Mental Relaxation

It is the reduction of mental activities and flow of thoughts and emotions.

 

 

Important Points

How can we relax physically and mentally? There are three basic ways of achieving physical and mental relaxation.

 

1. Adequate posture, alignment of the body and stretching of the muscles.

Muscular contraction, caused by physical and/or psychological stress, prevents blood flow, which causes a lack of oxygen in body structures and may damage them importantly. Adequate body alighnent is the most efficient and natural way for the body to relax when it is not asleep.

 

2. Breathe Control.

There is a close relation of body, breathing and mind. Breathing is a very useful tool to help us achieve deep levels of relaxation through the physiological states reached by slow, deep and rhythmic breathing.

In general, the following may be stated:

  • Inhaling and exhaling through the nose tends to calm the mind.
  • Inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth is used when we want to relax fast (in the form of a sigh).

 

3. Mind Control

The mind is, perhaps, the most powerful tool that we have to find inner peace, good health, happiness and well-being, as well as relaxation. Physical relaxation is achieved by sending mental relaxing messages to the different groups of muscles. There are several techniques to achieve mental relaxation, among which concentration and visualization, or images that stop the state of unrest or uneasiness, are worth mentioning.

 


Relaxation Techniques

1. Contraction-relaxation:

A muscle contraction is followed by relaxation. This voluntary muscular contraction, as well as the awareness of the corresponding relaxation when you let go, will help you recognize this state. Make a tight fist and then let go, being aware of the relaxation state.

 

2. Breathing twice with tension:

Inhale twice through the nose (the first one shorter and the second one longer) while you tense all your body, and then exhale twice (the first one shorter and the second one longer) the mouth. Repeat three times. This is a good exercise to free yourself of the tensions accumulated in your body and/or to get ready to face stressful situations.

 

3. The Tree:

Standing with your knees slightly bent, be aware of your body, and while you stand straight, relax your face, neck, shoulders, chest, stomach, abdomen, and lower back. Feel your feet standing firmly on the ground and your head touching the ceiling. This exercise is very good to learn body relaxation, balance and symmetry. It is also good to strengthen your legs and backbone muscles.

 

4. Immediate Decompression Formula:

This sequence is used, not only for fast relaxation and the elimination of stress, but also anytime when we want to be fully aware of the moment.

  1. Inhale twice through your nose and exhale twice through your mouth.
  2. Then make a deep inhalation through your nose and a long exhalation through your mouth. The latter is similar to the sigh that leads to deep relaxation. This breathing method is also known as the “Pressure Cooker”, because it acts the same way as a pressure cooker, eliminating its inside pressure by letting the air escape; a long exhalation through the mouth will not only expel used air to let new oxygen-rich air to purify our body, but will also reduce muscular contraction, which, like a shell, does not let us move and limits our freedom.
  3. Send mental relaxation messages to different groups of muscles and areas of your body.
  4. Smile and keep having positive thoughts.

 

5. Subsequent Decompression Formula:

Sit down comfortably on a chair, with your back straight… Separate your legs a few inches and place the palms of your hands on them.Make sure your feet touch the floor. In case you want to practice this decompression formula lying down, lie on your back and place your legs and arms apart, the latter with palms facing up.

All right……………now you are ready………you may close your eyes softly ……………now inhale twice through your nose ………….. And exhale twice through your mouth…
Continue being aware of your breathing……………Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose….exhale all the air slowly….
Inhale slowly……………and when you exhale, notice the way your body is loosened….it seems to go deep into yourself…………
Your body loses tension…………….and your breathing gets quieter……………more free……… Just watch your breathing, do not try to control it.

Now forget your breathing and make a trip through your body, being aware of these areas and send mental messages of relaxation to the different groups of muscles; allow them to achieve total rest.
Loosen the muscles of your forehead…..your eyelids………feel the weight of your eyelids…. relax your left eye…. now your right eye … your eyes are now fully relaxed……….your nose……..your cheek… are relaxed… your lips open a little ………. relax your mandibules……….
Your tongue……..your full mouth is free of tension……..your chin is relaxed….. quite relaxed………….be aware of the relaxation of your face…. total relaxation……..

Loosen your neck muscles…………the muscles of your throat………your nape…..your cervical vertebrae………..free them of tension……..relax them more……………Allow all of your body to relax, let it fall heavily…
Now feel the weight of your shoulders … they become heavier and heavier…….. Your arms feel heavy, completely loosened…… all of your fingers are heavy…..perfectly relaxed……..

Continue relaxing your chest muscles….., your sensation of peace grows…..you feel contented……….

Now go on by relaxing your back; loosen your back muscles……… the muscles of your back are now relaxed… free of tensions……… Now relax the muscles of your thorax……….they automatically losen up……. They are now relaxed….. Relax the left part of your chest………the right one ……

Observe your abdomen……..let it relax completely……. Loosen all your abdominal muscles, your abdomen is now fully relaxed, without any tension, more and more relaxed……..notice the way you are now breathing deeper…… more calmly……. with more freedom…….

Inhale through your nose and while you exhale through your mouth slowly, relax your face…..shoulders…. arms….chest….abdomen….back……

You feel better and better…….more and more relaxed……
Relax your hips……………your glutes…….feel the weight of your thighs………..they are now heavier……more relaxed……..feel your knees……..they feel heavy…….your calves……your ankles………your feet……..are now heavier, more relaxed………

Your whole body……….feels heavy…….more loosened….totally relaxed…………
Your internal organs are resting……………your nervous system is resting……………you feel well……at peace……..you know this rest is good for you ……….for your good health….for your well-being……..your mind is at ease…….like the water in a quiet lake……….a peaceful lake………your mind rests more and more, it turns to your inner self……..and you feel only peace……only harmony………….
Pay attention to your breathing once more, and then inhale and exhale several times through your nose, taking advantage of your exhalation to achieve a deeper state of relaxation; be aware of this state of peace, calm and silence, and enjoy it a few more minutes…
Now slowly open your eyes and look around you as if it were the first time……slowly start moving your fingers, now your toes…stretch your body slowly, there is no rush. Fell your body and mind rested, revitalized. Get up slowly and let this sensation be with you for the rest of the day.
You can also relax in your office, in the subway, on a plane, while you wait for someone, or any time you want to get all your energy back.