Relaxation is always what remains when tension is released. The Relaxation for Living (RforL) approach teaches simple techniques which reduce the negative effects of stress and reveal the relaxed body, mind and breath.
Relax - it's Christmas!
Take a pause, take a break and relax over the festive season . . . .calm body and mind, and stop stress building with these 'quick-fix' relaxation techniques. They are useful if life gets too crowded to fit in a longer practice and will really make a difference.
1) A Big Exhalation
Take a full inhalation as is comfortable for you. Hold for a second and exhale slowly through the nose while feeling any tension draining away, sinking down through the legs, into the feet and away.
2) A Two Breath Pause
Pause for a moment and take a slightly deeper breath through the nose.
As you exhale slowly through the nose soften all the facial muscles. Feel the teeth separating as the jaw muscles relax and allow the tongue to relax on the floor of the mouth. Notice the brief, still moment at the end of the out breath.
Take another comfortable, full breath in through the nose and with a slow exhalation through the nose, release the shoulders and feel them falling away from the ears. Allow the muscle relaxation to move down the arms into the hands, feel the heaviness in the arms.
Continue with what you were doing but maybe move a little more slowly and talk a little more slowly than before.
3) Ten Breaths With Awareness
If the practice of focusing on your breath creates anxiety then try these practices feeling for the subtle movement created in your back when you breath. Moving awareness from the nose and the front of the body to the muscles of the back ribcage can help relax breathing.
Breathe in a comfortable, natural way through the nose and say to yourself, 'one' as you breath in and, 'relax' as you breath out, 'two' as you breath in again and, 'relax' as you breath out. The whole practice looks like this:
'One' with the in breath - - - -'Relax' with the out breath.
'Two' with the in breath - - - -'Relax' with the out breath.
'Three' with the in breath - - - -'Relax' with the out breath.
'Four' with the in breath - - - -'Relax' with the out breath.
'Five' with the in breath - - - -'Relax' with the out breath.
'Six' with the in breath - - - -'Relax' with the out breath.
'Seven' with the in breath - - - -'Relax' with the out breath.
'Eight' with the in breath - - - -'Relax' with the out breath.
'Nine' with the in breath - - - -'Relax' with the out breath.
'Ten' with the in breath - - - -'Relax' with the out breath.
This works well to encourage sleep especially if you wake in the night with a busy mind. If the mind dashes off following thoughts as you practice then simply come back and start again.
4) Touching The Lips
Our lips are richly supplied with nerve endings that encourage the relaxation response to build in the body. Softly touch, tap or stroke the lips for a few moments, feel for any sensations in the body. Gently lift the corners of the mouth into a half smile as you again feel tension beginning to relax.
Releasing tension reverses the negative effects of stress and so supports health and wellbeing in body and mind. The buzz of the stress reflex working and adrenaline flowing can be amazing, useful and even a lifesaver. However, being 'wired' too strongly, too frequently and for too long can throw us out of balance.
Long term, chronic stress can negatively affect every system in the body from the skin to the cardiovascular system, from the nervous system to the digestive system and from the respiratory system to the muscles and the joints.
Running on adrenaline with the stress reflex on full alert is exhausting. Useful for a burst of energy but if sustained it will drain our precious energy reserves. Sometimes this is just how we have to function, with the stress or survival reflex on full alert but often we stay in this state unnecessarily simply through habit and it becomes the way we are.
Learning some simple techniques to reverse the stress reflex is easy and useful on many levels e.g. aiding restful sleep, regulating blood pressure, reducing the unpleasant symptoms of anxiety and fear including panic attacks, supporting the digestive system and calming an irritable bowel.
The RfL techniques have been tried, tested and refined over the past 35 years, are easy to learn and can be used anywhere.
Fundamental to this approach is the fact that it is not possible to be anxious and have relaxed muscles at the same time so learning how to relax muscles will help reduce anxiety and begin to reverse the workings of the stress reflex.
What is Relaxation for Living?
The original RfL was a registered charity set up in 1972 by Amber Lloyd to teach a simple, effective and accessible route to achieving a relaxed body, relaxed breathing and a calm mind. Since then the organisation has been through two major changes of leadership but the mission remains very much the same. Please see www.rfli.co.uk
Training and courses
Annette trained in 1991 with the original charity and has been teaching the RfL system ever since either to small groups or in one to one tailor-made sessions. Two or three individual sessions will create a 'tool-box' of techniques for understanding and managing the stress reflex.
To enquire about Relaxation for Living sessions please call Annette on 07882724496 or email firstname.lastname@example.org