Conscious relaxation is encouraged as a practice by all therapists as the basis for any subsequent healing techniques and modalities. The best results are experienced when all potentially negative influences are eliminated.
It is easy to understand that stress is our enemy and that relaxation will prove our salvation in helping us to become free of symptoms of discomfort of all kinds. However in order to derive most benefit from our periods of conscious relaxation practice, we must observe several essentials.
We are hypersensitive when we are undergoing the process of relaxation – when we are lying on the floor and in a defenceless attitude with eyes shut. Traditionally, each person has their own personal mat to lie on. It represents our temporary private place or ‘home’. We must feel confident in our guide and in our surroundings. Otherwise no technique or outside suggestion will work for us.
Sudden noises, loud sounds, rock music, telephone rings, electronic beeps, or the heavy drone of traffic can all make us suffer a degree of shock when we are surrendering to the wonderful state of relaxation. If it should not prove possible to defend completely against unexpected sound, we can use auto-suggestion to condition ourselves to disregard it.
The therapist or guide will always refrain from touching a student and will avoid intruding on a student’s space unless some light contact is essential to draw their attention for some important reason. Usually the quietly modulated voice of the teacher is sufficient.
Some people find their relaxation period tainted by their own concern about the time. Others worry that in a class they will fall asleep and suffer embarrassment. Some will be physically uncomfortable – and that is why it is worthwhile to take extra time in preparation to ensure a fine degree of comfort and this includes suitable clothing. Shoes are always best removed. Sometimes pillows are used as an aid.
Those who tend to feel sensitive to cold are best to be lightly covered with a light mohair rug. Some of us are hypersensitive to industrial smells, chemical odours. If this is the case, then we can use perfumed incense or essential oils in very discreet amounts in a group situation, as even perfumes pleasant to us may not be relaxing influence to another. Ill placed lights or lamps can intrude with light that is irritating. Half light or a shaded atmosphere is best.
Unfortunately, to practise in the open air is somewhat of a challenge. It is achieved well enough for short periods when we sunbake at the beach. But as such opportunities for many of us are few, and flies, mosquitoes, ants and numerous insects abound to make their presence known to us in our outdoor parks and gardens, we have to compromise and to modify what may be our ultimate desire to be out of doors to experience complete attunement to nature.
In spite of all efforts of a guide to make the experience of relaxation a pleasant one, there may remain only one barrier to overcome and this is a common tendency for us to feel self conscious when in a group. It is therefore important to practise in a congenial atmosphere with sympathetic friends or fellow students until you can create your own ideal environment in the privacy of your own home.
Stress relief through muscular relaxation provides a basis for correction of many symptoms that can indicate both physical or mental illness.