I don’t know about you, but sometimes when people tell me to ‘relax’ I get a bit irritated.
Relax can be a loaded word. Like me, you might get annoyed at someone commanding you to relax, stressing you out even more.
“I AM relaxed”.
“I CAN’T relax”.
“Am I relaxed?”
“What does that even MEAN?”
“How can I do it more?”
“Oh god, now I’m not relaxed at all!”
Relaxation is not just absence of activity, but a profound sense of physiological and psychological ease.
It’s not only the muscles releasing, but a quietening of the mind and a softening of the breath. It’s not just switching off or being lazy (is lounging on a sofa watching TV really relaxation, or is just tuning out?), but a gentle letting go in body, breath and mind.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMT) is a technique where we move through different parts of the body tensing then releasing the muscles. The idea is to not only induce that overall deep sense of ease I was talking about, but also become aware of sensations in each individual area. PMT is a great exercise to try to (of course) relax overall, but can also be useful in getting to sleep or reducing stress. However, it can also be really useful in helping you recognise different areas of the body (like we do in Yin Yoga), and how they should feel when the muscles are relaxed.
So why not put aside 15 minutes today, lie down and try my short video taking you through the process. The instructions should be simple so there’s no need to open your eyes, just listen to my voice guiding you through.
Feel free to share in the comments.