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what happens to your body when you do yogic relaxation?
A number of changes will, or can occur during proper yogic relaxation. Most significantly and indeed relevant, is the natural slowing down of the breath. The breath is the cord with which the soul (as energy and consciousness) is tied to the body. The unforced calming of the breath is also the natural release of the soul’s tie to the body. If you take this model of thinking to the end, you will see that the complete untying of the soul from the body leads to no breath in the body – and of course complete physical relaxation, in other words, death! However, we just need to understand the direct proportionate relationship that is that the calmer the breath is, the more deeply relaxed the body is.
You will notice in relaxation that the position of the breath changes as well as the quantity and frequency of the breath. Babies are considered more stress-free than adults, and they breathe into their abdomens for a major part of their lives as young humans. When you relax, you will also find the breath seems to find its way into the abdomen again - a good sign of ensuing peace.
As the breath slows down, so too does the heart rate, and with that the actual blood pressure drops to a safe low range, clearly giving immense benefits to those suffering with any heart conditions not just the obvious high blood pressure liability.
Now the mind, being linked to the breath with a spiritual cord, is subject to all changes in the breath, so as the breath rate drops, so too does the mind’s rate of thinking. Sometimes it is hard to relax the mind as such, but by concentrating on relaxing the breath, the tie between the two serves its purpose of dragging the other into its zone i.e. if the breath is consciously relaxed during special breathing techniques, the mind will also relax courtesy of this link.
Now, while the mind relaxes, there are obviously less signals departing the brain via the nervous system to the muscles, so, muscular relaxation happens as a by-product of the breath relaxing. When the nerves relax the grip that stress (coming from the deeply tensed and overactive mind) has on the body, the body is released.
Both the peripheral nervous system (the senses and the muscles), and the autonomic nervous systems are altered by relaxation. We know that as the senses, mind, and muscles relax in savasana, but what about the organs? Many laboratory tests have been done over the years on changes within the body due to stress, and they have shown remarkable changes to organs like the stomach (which is rendered almost disabled under periods of severe stress). But when the energy is removed from the body during relaxation, it is removed almost indiscriminately. Controls like bladder, heart, etc are obviously kept in check during relaxation, but for example, the construction and tightening of nerves in the colon, kidneys, stomach etc are all released. This allows the body to perform digestion, assimilation, and other functions without stress. In relaxation, the organs of the body often get, for the first time in many cases, their first period of rest in many, many hours, or days, or longer!
People can walk around with a constant low emanation of stress deep in the system, causing constipation, stomach cramps, and all kinds of conditions. Relaxation removes the deep rooted causes of many of these conditions.
How do you feel after relaxation? What are the benefits?
Yogic relaxation is consciously willing your being into a state of deep, dreamless sleep, but without actually going to sleep i.e. remaining conscious of the whole experience. So the rejuvenation, refreshment, and revitalisation you would feel after having something as deep or deeper than a dreamless undisturbed sleep is similar to this experience. Having said that, it is said that 15 mins of deep scientific yogic relaxation is equivalent to 2 hours of normal sleep! So that gives you some idea. But yogic relaxation is different in that you technically go into this experience with a positive attitude, and with focusing first on the desire to relax, so the outcome is always a very bright, positive, and emancipated feeling (from stress).
Yogic relaxation is basically a scientific method of attaining conscious deep sleep, and if the techniques given are followed with concentration, it is foolproof. After relaxation in a class, the student feels like they have been relaxing a lot longer than they actually have, that is because time and space disappear from the consciousness, much as when your are in deep sleep. In relaxation, the student of yoga is brought a step closer to their soul, and its outer aura of peace. This unpronounced contact with the soul gives some people an enlightening and moving experience from time to time in relaxation.
The benefits are not only short-term, but if you imagine someone who has been severely stressed out for weeks, and has not really had a good sleep for a few days, it is safe to say they are carrying an unhealthy amount of stress with them. Can you imagine the relief they would feel if they were able to follow these steps and will themselves into a state similar to deep sleep for fifteen minutes whenever they want, and come out of it feeling completely revitalised, not groggy, or needing more “sleep”? After experiencing this, that individual, as with all people, will generally feel “lighter” in their day to day life. Their water table of stress lowers and in their daily functioning they can take more external vicissitudes on board without their stress levels hitting dangerous thresholds so quickly. It is like wiping the stress slate clean every time you do this, the effects on your character and life as you relax like this are clearly going to be favourable.