Experienced Yoga students have great difficulty learning to train the mind, through meditation – if they have not learned to relax their minds. There are many forms of relaxation in Yoga classes. At the Aura Yoga teacher training, interns learn stage-by-stage, body scanning, and visualization.
Of these three unique methods, stage-by-stage relaxation is my personal favorite. Both Marie and Paul Jerard have relaxing voices, so it was hard for me to keep my eyes open during guided relaxation sessions. Some interns fall asleep.
Instead of making a big deal about trained interns, and experienced Yoga teachers, sleeping during relaxation, we were told: “At least, you learned to relax.” The level of compassion, passed down from teacher to student, is also part of the Yogic relaxation technique.
Nowadays, Aura has produced a meditation and relaxation DVD / CD set that is popular among teachers. The reason being: Relaxation is the building block to meditation and Yoga Nidra. Everyone has difficulty relaxing in a high energy global society.
There is hardly a place where you can escape technology, stress, and business. Paul and Marie taught us to relax with city traffic driving by. I have trained in ashrams where you were out in the mountains, and participants had problems relaxing. Below are some simple directions for one variation of the classical stage-by-stage Yoga relaxation technique.
Starting from lying flat on the back, with arms and legs open, as in Savasana or the Corpse Posture; the flowing of breath is observed for a few minutes. Then, two deep breaths, with swelling and withdrawing of the abdomen, are performed, with full relaxation of the abdomen at the end.
When the breath is even and smooth, the attention moves along the body – focusing on each part separately. Visualizing a light beam, that moves from part to part, is often helpful in directing the attention to a different part in sequence. The aim is to look at the presence of tension in each body part and release it with a mental command such as, “Let go.”
More effective commands may be “My (part of body) is relaxing and becoming heavier,” especially when there is a difficulty in moving attention from part to part. The sequence starts from the left foot (with focus on the toes) up to the left thigh, then moves on the right side, all the way to the chest and upper back, then focuses on the left hand and its fingers up to left shoulder, then moves on the right side, and from the throat up to the scalp.
The sequence can be repeated a few times, as wished, for a total of fifteen- twenty minutes.
© Copyright 2010 – Sanjeev Patel / Aura Publications
Sanjeev Patel is a certified Yoga teacher and an exclusive author for Aura Wellness Center.
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