The Benefits of Relaxation
(excerpt from Mastering Secrets of Yoga Flow by Doug Swenson)

The benefits of relaxation are endless; unfortunately in today’s fast paced society few really get to experience the full spectrum of relaxation. If you are one of the few, then you are very fortunate. There is a popular misconception that relaxing means you are a being lazy. In fact, just the opposite is true: when you take the time to embrace a full spectrum of quality relaxation you will be much more productive, efficient, and focused with everything else you chose to accomplish.

Relaxation releases tension, stress, and fatigue from every part of your body as it soothes and quiets your mind, leaving you feeling tranquil and calm, yet still very alert and ready to respond to the world around you. The process of giving your body and mind proper relaxation is the best way to deal with your stress and tension, so that you react more calmly to the highs and lows of daily life
Relaxation helps you deal with stress and enhances your overall energy reserves. A regular practice of relaxation has a great role to play in how you react to situations in daily life. For example, when something happens that usually drives you crazy--like losing your keys--your normal response might be to quickly build up inner turmoil and stress as you run frantically around searching for the lost item. After you've been practicing Sadhana Yoga for a few months, your response is likely to be much more rational and functional, as you stop, take a deep breath, clear your mind, and go about pursuing a solution in a controlled and efficient, yet relaxed manor.

When you're relaxed, you also tend to be more self-confident and have a more positive outlook. Many of us spend a lot of time thinking about things that we've done wrong in the past or could have done better, or worrying about things that we might have to deal with in the future. This train of thought creates a lack of self-confidence. Feeding your body and mind with proper relaxation encourages you to discard those self-defeating thoughts and to learn how to feel good about yourself.

Relaxation also helps to heal your body. Stress and tension often weakens your body’s internal systems and makes you more susceptible to illness, injury, and even disease. In fact, stress is closely linked to heart disease, which is one of the major causes of death in our society. By helping you to relieve tension and stress, you can think of relaxation as one of the best medicines for your body.

Sleep is a very important and necessary aspect in your Sadhana Yoga program. You may have heard stories of Yogi’s going without sleep for long periods of time. This is not a good idea, because trying to go without sleep, or limiting your much-needed sleep, will only serve to weaken your immune system and distract you from your vital life force energy. In today’s world we are constantly pushing each other to go faster, to reduce sleep and work more. This will ultimately result in a weakened immune system, a general lack of energy, and a scattered, unfocused mind. Sleeping is an important part of relaxation. Try to get eight hours of sleep each night: in the long run you will be rewarded many times


©2003 Doug Swenson. All Rights Reserved.
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