Let’s face it, between interesting passions and myriad responsibilities, who’s got time?
That’s the paradox, relaxing can “expand” time, or rather our perception of time so we lose that personal atmosphere of feeling constantly compressed and behind.
Herbert Benson, MD, forged the mind-body link in contemporary mainstream awareness with “The Relaxation Response” (1975), showing the benefits of calming the neurological sympathetic cascade of physiological processes, which when experienced chronically over time become harmful and debilitating. In other words, getting out of a predominant fight, flight or even freeze state and allowing return to homeostasis, or natural bio-functioning, balances out the detrimental effects of contemporary life. This is where we’re designed to be, not in constant high-alert mode. Modern science confirms what the Ancients knew to be true.
A lot of discussions around this idea center on meditation and mindfulness practices as relaxation techniques. Yes, very useful and effective! Not the only options; there are many little tricks you can learn to cultivate this natural state. The good news is you don’t have to do it all by yourself, even though we’re each ultimately responsible for our own selves. My practice is founded on helping folks get out of their own way for a while, giving their systems a chance to let down and reboot.
How do I do this? It’s different for each person and may vary from time to time. I call on any number of techniques and tools (see Services) based on my own clinical experience but more importantly based on what’s salient for the individual in the moment. Although it may often not feel this way, we’re each the authority on ourselves. I rely on that Wisdom that comes from You. Acupuncture and Healing Sound are two of the strongest methods in my clinical opinion.
Here’s a couple things you can use to help answer “why relax?” for yourself
Long, Slow Deep Breathing
Simple, you already have all the equipment, and you can do it anywhere, anytime you need. Use the image of your inhale coming all the way into your whole torso, filling your internal self up as water fills a glass, from the bottom up. Let the exhale return from the top down. Fill up your torso front to back, side to side, bottom to top, letting your breath flow with ease, without effort. Keep your mental presence on the process. Use this gif to get started. Once you really have it, feel free to lengthen and deepen your breathing on your own. A little bit every day is better than trying to do a long session if and when you get around to it. Results are cumulative!
Guided Meditations with Singing Bowls
Sound used in therapeutic settings is another potent ancient tool enjoying a renaissance in modern times. Certain sounds and instruments combined with voice bring the listener to a place similar to deep meditation.
I've joined the ranks of recorded practitioners, guiding the listener into profound relaxation from the inside out to the sounds of singing bowls and other sacred instruments. “Opening to Yourself” download available at CD Baby. Contact me to purchase a CD. Seek out sources that "speak" to you; try field recordings of natural sounds, especially Gordon Hempton.
From CD Baby Album Notes:
“Find your way back to your true self, as you are intended to be! Open into your original energetic blueprint to re-balance and re-set accompanied by the sacred sounds of singing bowls (both Himalayan and crystal) and other acoustic instruments. Linda's soothing voice brings you deep inside to profound relaxation. Let the healing power of music and sound wash through your very being, recalling and evoking your connection to all-that-is.”
I’m ready to help!
The Tai Ji icon (aka Yin-Yang) concisely answers “Why Relax” for me. This symbol represents an organizing principle that makes sense of this manifest life, how we are in our perceived universe. Yin and Yang are about relationship rather than absolutes. Energy/matter. Inside/outside. Hot/cold. Doing/not-doing. Not-doing as a form of relaxation. It’s by knowing hot we understand cold. It’s by not-doing we balance doing as night balances day. I’ll probably talk more about Yin & Yang at some point.