Relaxation is almost as important as an invigorating asana session. Read on to understand why it is important and how to introduce relaxation in your yoga practice.
If there’s one practice that I like to take with me off the yoga mat, it is the art of relaxation.
The Importance of Relaxation
I value the art of relaxation not because I’m lazy, but because I love the sense of lightness and energy expansion that it allows. Modern life has become unnecessarily stressful. With the demands on our time, the need to excel and prove ourselves consistently, of being super multi-tasking human beings, we invariably store stress in our bodies. This reflects in the tightness of our muscles at a superficial level, leading to lifestyle disorders like hypertension and cardiovascular diseases deeper down.
How to Practice Relaxation
Relaxation is a practice that requires consistent effort. I like to practice relaxation not only at the end of my asana practice but all through my yoga session. It’s very important to know what a relaxed body feels like to be able to implement it on will. In my experience, relaxation during asanas also enhances their beneficial effects. However, being relaxed does not mean going limp; on the contrary, the deep breathing and slower heart rate enhances the effect of the posture on the muscles that it is supposed to work on.
Useful Tip: At any point in a day, just catch yourself unawares and notice where you’re storing tension. It could be in your neck and shoulders, tightness in your abdomen or stiffness in your lower back. Awareness of tension is very important to be able to release it. Once you’ve identified tension in your body, just take a few deep breaths. With each exhalation just feel the tension melting away.
To read the full article please download our Asana Journal App or purchase Issue 149 May 2015.