Posted on October 22, 2009

The Importance of Relaxation

The other day, a lady told me she couldn’t take on Yoga as relaxation makes her even more anxious. We didn’t have time to discuss it further. I wanted to reassure her by telling her asanas (postures) generally involve hard work and one is more than happy to release (collapse …) for a few moments at the end of the session.

There is one book I often refer to when I’m looking into the effects of Yoga on body and mind.
This book is written by H. David Coulter: Anatomy of Hatha Yoga: A Manual for Students, Teachers and Practitioners

Quote1
“Quieting the mind is just as important to relaxation as quieting the body.”
Quote 2
“Relaxation and meditation ususally work better after a session of hatha yoga postures.”
Quote 3
Hatha Yoga postures pull the mind inward , and physical exercises (aerobic or heavy musculoskeletal workouts) tend to scatter it.”

Coulter’s Tips

For self- guided savasana shavasana_image_550_w ( most famous pose for relaxation), Coulter recommends focussing on:

Rise and the fall of the abdomen: concentrate on the movements of the abdomen, make breath as even as possible and watch its pace gradually diminish.

Sixty-one points exercise: at the beginning of each exhalation, lock your attention onto a specific point on the body, hold it there throughout exhalation and the ensuing inhalation and then move on to the next point.

These 61 points are

Between the eyebrows, pit of the throat, right soulder – elbow-wrist and  each finger of the right hand; back to right wrist- elbow-shoulder, pit of the throat. Move on to left shoulder- elbow-wrist and each finger of the left hand. Back to left wrist-elbow- shoulder and pit of the throat.

Move down to heart center (between the nipples), navel center, pelvic center, right hip-knee-ankle and each toe of the right foot; back to right ankle-knee- hip, pelvic center. Move on to left hip-knee-ankle and each toe of the left foot. Back to left ankle-knee-hip, pelvic center, navel center, heart center, pit of the throat and point between the eyebrows..

Always prepare for relaxation

Stretch the body out before settling down. Thrust the hips down from the shoulders, the hands down from the shoulder , the heels dowwn from the hips and lift the head away from the body stretching the neck (you can use a pillow or a folded blanket to support the head and the neck.) AND LET GO!

Come back slowly

When you are ready to come out, bring the arms overhead and stretch from the tips of the fingers to the tips of the toes. Or you can first wriggle the fingers and toes, roll over to one side and sit up slowly.