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IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Yoga


How To Use Yoga To Deeply Relax

Lorna O'Malley

When you are in a state of complete relaxation, you are in a state of being where you are free of any physical, mental or spiritual tension. One of the most common and effective ways to achieve this deep relaxation is by lying flat on your back, as in Yoga's 'Corpse Pose'. The relaxation process will begin by relaxing and surrendering the big muscles on the body, then as they relax, in turn the deeper and smaller ones will follow. Layers of tension should slowly slip away. Quality relaxation is extremely important for a healthy body and mind.

In the Corpse Pose, the body can rest as a 'corpse' or dead body would. This is the pose in which we learn to rest the senses and step away from the identification we have with our physical bodies. Practising this pose is a giant step toward inner peace. This pose calms the brain and relaxes the body - and is known to reduce headache, fatigue, and insomnia as well as helping to lower blood pressure. Because the heart is on the same level as the rest of the body - the whole cardiovascular system is allowed to rest. Bear in mind that modifications may need to take place in order to make this pose more comfortable for those who are in pregnancy or who suffer back ache. This can be done by perhaps placing a small folded towel under the knees, or under the small of the back.

To achieve this pose - lie flat on your back, and be aware that you should not feel any tension in your position. Take care that your neck is not restricted. Your arms should lie comfortably at your side, with palms facing upward. Your shoulders should be relaxed and away from your ears. Lift your pelvis a little off the floor and curl your buttocks toward your feet to gently lengthen your lower back. Legs should be straight and relaxed. Do not be discouraged if you feel waves of anger or emotional upset - they will slowly dissolve as your body learns to let go. It is ok if you accidentally fall asleep in this position but it should not become habit. You should also avoid day dreaming or letting your mind wander or chat - the emphasis of this pose is to relax the mind in a controlled way so you are conscious of the here and now.

Be patient with yourself and don't expect your body to become instantly relaxed. Don't resist feelings of frustration, by acknowledging them we can often transform them. Breath in a way that feels comfortable, with each breath imagine that you are breathing out your tension. At first, resist any urge to come out of this position as it is best to come out of it when your body is ready, not when your mind tells you. Stay in this position for as long as you need (usually between 10 & 20 min's). Just relax. Take a while to adjust, and have a stretch, before going back to your daily activity.

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