Relaxation is an art. People are so tensed these days that they can't relax. When we think about relaxation, it sounds like “just close your eyes and sleep” to us. But, for most people, deep relaxation is very hard. The biggest obstacle in relaxation is the state of turmoil that people are continuously in with their muscles still twitching. I do not know how many problems from physical problems (like cramps, tightness) to mental problems (like stress, depression) happen just because people are unable to release their tension and relax properly.
Today we will talk about two very simple techniques that could help you relax explicitly. They are very basic techniques but over time, we have completely lost control over them.
You might be thinking that this sounds like something everybody does. Yes, everybody breathes but a very negligible amount of people does it properly. Next time when you are worried about something, notice your breathing pattern, you will realize that in a tensed state, you start breathing shallow. The goal is explicitly to start taking deep breaths. This immediately releases a lot of tension. The goal is to inhale in such a way that your chest and stomach both expand when you do it. Some people when they start breathing deeply make that ‘SSSSSs’ sound of air when they inhale and exhale. This means that they are breathing faster than necessary. The inhalation and the exhalation should be done with minimum possible sound so that the lungs could get enough time to absorb the air. Try this technique and you will instantly feel less tensed and more relaxed.
Shavasana (Corpse pose):
This yoga pose is very similar to the sleeping position. This is more
effective than the way people sleep because this is explicitly focused on
relaxing every muscle of the body and it is done on a mat instead of a bed
because due to heavy cushioning/mattresses, it is very hard to notice if you
are subconsciously holding/tightening some part/muscle of your body. Follow the
steps mentioned below to perform a Shavasana:
1. Lie flat on your back on a mat and place a small pillow below your head with the corners slightly under your shoulder so that your neck can relax properly.
2. The palms of your hand should face upwards.
3. The legs should be straight and should be slightly separated. Close your eyes.
4. Now try to feel various body parts, this is important to bring your awareness to the tensed parts of your body.
5. Feel the contact between your butt/glutes and floor, notice if they are clenched, if they are, try to relax them.
6. Now focus on your left foot, try to relax it as much as possible, and let go of any tension/hold on it. Repeat the same for your right foot.
7. Now focus your attention on your left leg and try to relax every muscle of your leg including your calves, thighs, and hamstring. You would now feel as if your left leg is sinking into the floor. If you don’t feel like that it is OK, with some practice you would start feeling that too over time. Repeat the same procedure for your right leg.
8. Now repeat the same procedure of relaxation for your hands, arms, and shoulders. Focus on each and every part of your body and try to let go of any tension that you notice in that part.
9. Now focus on your face and let your lower jaw sag a bit without opening your mouth. If you feel yourself frowning, try to release that muscular tension in your forehead.
10. Now you would feel much more relaxed. If you want, you may start from step 5 to step 9 again as many times as you want. Stay in Shavasana for 7-10 minutes.
Shavasana could be practiced as many times a day as you want, but remember not to fall asleep. In sleep, we lose our consciousness while in Shavasana, the whole attention is focused on relaxing our body. The relaxation caused by Shavasana can last for a couple of hours and you would notice that you feel very calm after performing it.