The following accounts present just a few examples of different people’s experiences in relaxation practice …
A young student says….
“Yes I like relaxing. But I’m not always in the mood for it. The best times seem to be after I’ve had a really busy day or had a game of football. Then it is usually good. But anytime I can make myself feel cooler or warmer as I want to by using my breathing exercises. I like to lie down and do nothing as it is pretty peaceful.”
“I lay down to relax hoping to see just how far I could go. First I let all the muscles in my body relax and feel loose and free. When I was sure that there was no more residual tension left in my body I started to concentrate upon my breathing – taking deep but rhythmical breaths. After this was established I tried to make my mind relax but I couldn’t. Then when I stopped trying to slow my brain down, it did actually slow down.
My body then became very light except in the joints, that still felt heavy. Then to my surprise I began to feel smaller and smaller until I felt about 1 cm square!
After this I felt I was being expanded, blown up like a balloon and became very rounded. This feeling lasted for a while and was pleasant enough. Then I began to feel normal again but it was the most fantastic sensation I have ever felt and although I have tried again, I haven’t been able to accomplish quite the same again. But each time I relax I feel something different and it is always good.”
“I prepared in the classical manner – lying flat on the floor in a north/south aspect.
As soon as I shut my eyes I began to feel aware of the physical sensations of my body and had to make a slight muscular adjustment here and there, in order to be totally comfortable.
Then I began the tension/release technique, thinking of each part of my body in turn, starting with my feet and deliberately tensing my muscles to feel what that felt like, and releasing strain to be conscious of what relaxation was like. Part by part I did this throughout my whole body. By the time I reached my head and tensed my eyes and relaxed them I was happy just to lie still and become aware of the pleasant feeling that pervaded my whole body.
After a minute or two I commenced rhythmic breathing but soon tired and wanted to be still. As soon as I did I felt my body become light and I seemed to lose the sense of my body. It was lovely. I just seemed to float and I enjoyed it.
I have no idea how long this lasted but I didn’t actually go to sleep although when I thought of moving it was just like awakening in the morning. I was pleased to stay where I was but knew I had to get going again. The pleasant feeling stayed with me for several hours. ”
“I’d been having a bad time with relationship problems and was feeling pretty confused and lost. I felt I had to do something to get over this mood yet everything I tried didn’t work. So eventually I thought as a last resort to do nothing at all.
I lay down and shut my eyes but as it was still daytime it felt strange at first. Then I decided to keep very still and not move a muscle, just to see if I could do that. But the thing that prevented me was the process of breathing . Somehow instead of being disappointed, I began to get interested in deliberately breathing deeper and deeper. I’d never done that before, but at least it kept my mind off my problems.
This must have gone on for some minutes until I felt tired of doing this and thought I’d lie still again, which I did. I felt strangely light with a sensation of floating that was very pleasant and had to allow myself to indulge in this new experience that reminded me of something similar I’d known as a child on going to sleep.
But I didn’t sleep. I just lay there feeling light and free and floating and my inside feelings were just that nothing mattered very much. Everything felt right. Somehow I knew my problems were not very great and would soon dissolve and I would feel happy again.
I really enjoyed this time of being still and now I practise it whenever I feel the need. It certainly worked for me the first time and most times afterwards.”
“I find relaxation practice a reliable and exciting time. It is not a discipline, as it was at first but has become enjoyable and refreshing. Each time it seems to produce different experiences and I can never relate these to anything. They just seem to happen.
Always I begin in the way I was taught in class to lie flat, without a pillow and wait for my body to be comfortable on the floor. My eyes are shut and I begin to be more aware of the sensations I have in my body. I am not moving at all except of course with respiration. I feel energy sensations in my feet and hands and eventually all over the body.
This particular time I felt the energy centred in my upper body and head and became aware of a beautiful coloured deep blue light, although my eyes were still closed. I felt as if I was being pulled upward and lost all sense of my muscles. I didn’t feel conscious of a shape, I just felt I was a being.
With the wonderful upliftment came a feeling of protection. It was as if I should never feel alone again. There would always be this lovely presence to care for me. I didn’t see anyone but felt there perhaps was someone beyond the blue light. The light became soft and gradually less, just like an electric dimmer.
Then my attention returned to think of my body and it felt soft and relaxed and my breathing gentle and I remembered this special feeling of being protected and stored it away to remind myself in the future.”
“After all the preliminaries of exercise, some breathing techniques, muscular commands and so on I entered the first stage of relaxation which felt very pleasant except for a little discomfort on the hard floor.
Then I was ready to involve my imagination and persuade my body to feel ‘heavier and heavier’ as my teacher said would encourage total physical relaxation.
So I began to affirm to myself, “I am feeling heavier and heavier”. I confess I was a little cynical about any result and was amazed when I began to feel leaden and extremely heavy. But because the sensation was pleasant, I did not resist it. After a little while I was ready for the sequel exercise. This is to help emotional relaxation by imagining any hardness and heaviness melting to become soft and fluid. I did this pretty easily and found it quite delightful. I felt beautiful in fact. I felt nothing would every worry me again if I could retain this feeling. Although I can’t always succeed, but I remember to practise this feeling of melting when I feel stressed and up tight. It helps.”