Learning To Master The Relaxation Reflex

Learning To Master The Relaxation Reflex

This is a simple technique that can be used daily to gain mastery of a deep state of relaxation. It is perfect for dealing with the stresses of modern life. This technique can be used by anyone, even children, and is an excellent complement to any lifestyle.

You might be surprised to find that you don’t have to do hours of deep meditation to see such profound benefits. This relaxation technique can be practiced from 5-30 minutes each day. Make sure to set a timer though, so you don’t drift off too far! You can practice at night before bed in order to facilitate a great night’s sleep.

Remember, true relaxation is a skill. It takes time and practice to master. The more regular and focused your practice, the greater results you will see. Much like exercise, it won’t provide much benefit if you don’t do it regularly.

Getting Started

First, you want to choose a quiet, private area to practice. Somewhere that you feel comfortable and will not be disturbed.

  1. Lie down on your back on a comfortable surface. This could be the floor or your bed. For added comfort, you can place a pillow under your knees or head. Lie on your back in the position pictured below with your arms to your sides with palms facing up. savasana
  2. Once in this position, place your hands over your abdomen and take 5 even and relaxed full deep breaths. Feel the tension leaving your body as you exhale. After 5 breaths, place your hands back at your side and let them fall open. Now start to sense the weight of your body on the floor. Feel as though the floor is pushing up against your body. Feel its pressure and support.
  3. Now start to sense the weight of your body on the floor. Feel as though the floor is pushing up against your body. Feel its pressure and support.
  4. Starting with your ankles and feet, feel the floor underneath. Then move up to your calf, knee, and thigh. Now you should really feel the floor underneath your legs, starting from your ankles, going all the way up to your thighs and buttocks.
  5. Now that you have a really deep sense of the floor supporting and pushing up against your lower body, begin to feel this sensation underneath your hands and wrists. From there, sense it underneath your elbow, triceps, and shoulders. You should now have a deep sense of the floor supporting your arms, starting from your hands, all the way up to your shoulders.
  6. You should feel the support and pressure of the floor underneath your arms and legs, now begin to feel this sensation in your tailbone and lower back. Allow this sensation to move from your lower back, to your middle back, all the way up to your shoulders.
  7. Now that you have this sensation in your legs, arms, and torso, begin to feel the floor underneath your head. Feel the support and pressure of the floor on the back of your head. Now take a few moments to breath and sense your entire body as its support by the floor underneath you.

Going Deeper

That is the basic technique. The tension you are holding on to in your body should begin to melt away. Now continue with these steps to take your awareness even deeper and start to release even more tension.

  1. Bring your awareness back down into your feet and ankles. Tense your feet and ankles while lifting them slightly, then release and let them fall to the floor. As you do this, mentally repeat “tensing feet and ankles” and “relaxing feet and ankles.” Repeat this 3–5 times.
  2. Move your awareness to your knees, hamstrings, and quads. Tense all three while slightly lifting off of the floor. Then release and allow them to fall to the floor. As you do this, mentally repeat “tensing knees, hamstrings, and quads” and “relaxing knees, hamstrings, and quads.” Repeat this 3–5 times.
  3. Now move on to your buttocks and the repeat the process. Inhale and tense, then exhale and release. Repeat this 3–5 times.
  4. Now move on to your lower back and the repeat the process. Inhale and tense, then exhale and release. Repeat this 3–5 times.
  5. Next move on to your middle and upper back and the repeat the process. Inhale and tense, then exhale and release. Repeat this 3–5 times.
  6. This time for the backs for your shoulders. Inhale and tense, then exhale and release. Repeat this 3–5 times.
  7. Now for your abdomen and chest muscles. Inhale and tense, then exhale and release. Repeat this 3–5 times.
  8. Next put your awareness in your hands and arms. Make two fists while contracting your arm muscles. Inhale and tense, then exhale and release. Repeat this 3–5 times.
  9. Now for your neck, slowly move your head to the left, then to the right. Repeat this a few times on each side until you come back to a comfortable and relaxed position.
  10. Finally to release tension for your face, stick out your tongue while tensing all of your face muscles. This is called Lion pose in Yoga culture. Repeat this a few times,then make the opposite movement where in you attempt to contract all of your facial muscles inwards towards your nose. Repeat this a few times.

Wrapping Up

Keep focusing on your breathing, just being aware of the air going in your nose, and out your nose. At this point you should have really released a lot of tension and you should feel very light and peaceful. The world and everything else will be waiting for you when you get back, just let it be and continue to stay focused on your breathing.

Lay in the pose for as long as you’d like. When you are ready to come back, start to gently wiggle your toes, hands, and fingers, then open your eyes. Take your time getting up. Be easy and gentle in your movements.

Allow this peace and calm to permeate the rest of your day.

You can begin to practice this technique daily to discover a deep sense of calm and relaxation. Begin with 5-10 minutes per day and work your way up to 30-60 minutes.


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