Using Yoga & Breath to Let Go of Tension

We all have activities or things that we find relaxing. However, we need to discriminate between activities that merely distract us from the stress in our lives and the internal awareness nurtured by a yoga practice that invokes a sense of wellbeing. Judith Lasater states in her book, Relax and Renew, that “relaxation is a state in which there is no movement, no effort, and the brain is quiet”.

The keys principles to relaxation, according to yoga, are breath and awareness. These two principles work together to relax the body and the mind. One technique you can practice is a simple breathing and awareness exercise done while lying in corpse pose.

Instructions

Come to the floor and lie in Savasana. Using your breath, bring your awareness and attention to each area of your body in turn – starting with your head and moving down. With each inhalation, bring your awareness to focus on a specific area of your body. Notice any tension and imagine bringing your breath (your attention) into that area. With each exhalation, release the tension. Stay in each area for as many breaths as it takes to release the tension and then continue your body scan. Try not to let your mind wander (or fall asleep!) during this exercise, but if your mind drifts off, just take notice and gently bring yourself back to your breath.

Achieving a state of relaxation may take a few sessions, a few weeks, or possibly a few months and it is an ongoing process.  However it is well worth the effort. Relaxation is the antidote to stress, which if left unchecked can greatly affect your health and enjoyment of life.

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