Tuesday, June 21, 2011

5 Ways to Keep Yourself Relaxed

The need for relaxation cannot be overemphasized. You need to be relaxed to function at your optimum potential. Without relaxation, you may miss the ideas and solutions that your subconscious throws at you. You are not able to listen to conversations with balance, you are not able to handle crises. It will be just a blur of thoughts and emotions and we react in the same old conditioned way- KABOOM!! I'd dare to say that many relationships run aground just because people are perpetually tense, they do not take the time and effort to relax.

I can see your brows going up. Effort to Relax? Is not Relaxation a state of being? How can one reach a state of being through effort? Will not that make us more tense, further away from Relaxation? Perhaps you imagine a person working himself into a frenzy trying to relax himself.

Agreed, relaxation is a natural event; but you need to give the time and space for it to occur. A bucket of muddy water needs to stand still for some time, if the mud is to settle and the water to become clear.

Here are some exercises that can help you be more relaxed. Relaxation is a common result if you do any of them. That is, you do not have to do all of them. They have other effects as well, which are different. For example, Taichi and Yoga aim at physical development also.

1.Taichi
Taichi is a form of dynamic meditation. It was developed by Taoist masters in ancient China. It is a series of poses which progress in an uninterrupted flow. It resembles slowed down Kungfu Kattas (forms or series of postures). One derives the maximum benefit when the attention is held in the movement or on the breath or in the Tan tien, the energy centre in the abdomen.
It heightens awareness and speeds up response time, while also making you relaxed.
The type of the energy experienced is slightly warm and quite buoyant (like the solar (Pingala) energy in Yoga). Ideally, one should acquire preliminary training in Taichi from a good teacher.


2.Yoga
Yoga of the body (Hatha Yoga) originated in ancient India. It is believed to have been handed down by the great Yogi God Siva himself. Yoga consists of static poses (Asanas) that you hold for extended periods. You will  pay attention to:
  • Relaxation (avoid forcing your body into difficult postures but approach them gradually-over days/weeks/months)
  • Slowness (while approaching a pose and descending from it)
  • Awareness (of your movements and breath)
However, in recent times, variations like Vinyasa yoga (Power Yoga) have developed, which are more dynamic.

The energy experienced in the traditional Hatha Yoga is very cool, soothing, and refreshing. The internal organs receive a good, invigorating massage. After performing Yoga asanas as above for some time, you are ready for a session of meditation.

3.Meditation
Meditation for the modern man consists of two types:
(1)Sitting meditation in which the practitioner becomes aware of his thoughts and bodily movements so that they gradually reduce to zero (this can take quite a long period of practice). This need be practiced only for 15 to 30 minutes in the beginning.

(2)Dynamic meditation for the rest of the day:
The practitioner tries to maintain relaxation and focus throughout all daily activities. This is possible through awareness. Again, it requires sustained practice.

The benefits of Meditation have never been fully documented. This is partly because, as the practitioners go deeper into it, they are interested more and more in self-effacement (merging individuality), as they become aware of the Infinite Truth within. They are interested then only in experiencing it, not in communicating it.


4.Free Writing
Also known as Stream-of-Consciousness writing, in Free Writing we let our mind express itself freely on the paper-without the limits of grammar, meaning, punctuation, logic, or spelling. You can set a timer for 5-15 minutes and write non-stop- whatever comes to you.

CAUTION:In case you find an (unpleasant) issue recurring again and again, keep writing: Why am I feeling this way? You will get answers in due course. Some people get them immediately, for others it is a gradual calming in which things become clearer. Dr. James.W.Pennebaker has analysed Free Writing in detail in his book "Opening Up: The Hidden Power of Expressing Emotions."

Free Writing can cause you to enter a state of altered (heightened) consciousness.
5.Laughter Therapy
You can perform Laughter Therapy by yourself in privacy. In this, you laugh as much as possible, for no reason, for 5-10 minutes.You will feel a bit artificial at first, then you start enjoying the laughter, and you feel the relaxation spreading in your insides.

Nothing can frighten a man who can laugh. And we have the choice to laugh in any situation, it is our choice. Obviously, people in authority may misunderstand.  If you are apprehensive of offending others, laugh silently inside you.
Here is a post on Laughter therapy in Gaza.
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