|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 77 ]
Achieving deeper and deeper relaxation is primary goal in our yogic relaxation sessions.
Yogic relaxation draws the body down to a state of tonus conducive to regeneration, both on the physical (cellular) level and on the mental and emotion planes. It also opens access to our inner world, allowing fusion with the infinite sources of subtle energy of the macrocosm (Universe).
The effect of this fusion can be seen as an energizing of the deepest aspects of our physical and mental being, and a strengthening of our subtle awareness, intuition and power for concentration; all necessities for reaching the superior states of 'mental yoga'.
It is impossible to concentrate intensely for a long time if the body has contractions or is charged with stress and tension. The aim of deepening the relaxation is the complete disconnection of all the muscles, the achievement of the most advanced state of low tonus.
The following exercise, the Progressive Relaxation, will provide a preparation for this essential state of relaxation, a state that can only be appreciated when felt.
Nishpandha Jnana Kriya: The Progressive Relaxation
The progressive relaxation technique is the first of several structured relaxation techniques performed in shava asana that you will learn in this course. Spandha is the Sanskrit word for "tension". Nishpandha, then, means "no tension," or "without tension." Nishpandha Jnana Kriya (the progressive relaxation) is the mental exercise for the release of all tension in the body.
Note: The progressive relaxation is a rather long process. You are advised to read the description of this technique in its entirety, practice it, then re-read and practice it again several times to make sure that you remember all the points given.
This technique is broken down into 3 stages:
- The General Relaxation
- The Gradual Relaxation
- The Final Visualization
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
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