Importance of Deep Relaxation

Question

Before spiritual eye meditation can I do supreme relaxation technique?

—Sunkoju Raju, India

Answer

Absolutely, deep relaxation is important before meditation and for the spiritual path. Here are some thoughts about how to do that ‘supreme’ relaxation.

Yogananda teaches a practical method: lying down, alternately tensing and relaxing the entire body or the individual 20 body parts which are named in the Energization Exercises.

Yogananda said, ‘Relaxation is the way to the Infinite’.

Swami Kriyananda says in his book The Art and Science of Raja Yoga, ‘It might be said that conscious relaxation is the straightest path to God’. The more we relax, the more our life force can flow inward and makes that inner kingdom more attainable.

Swami Kriyananda in his book, also, talks about awareness as the necessary precursor of relaxation. There are many parts of the body that are tense without our conscious knowledge. How to become aware of them to relax them? The answer is by increasing tension throughout the body. The best way to relax is to first inhale, tense (this equalizes the flow of tension throughout the body) then throw the breath and relax entire body at once.

Also, physical relaxation can’t be separate from the mental or emotional relaxation. During the day we may get upset or worried the body automatically gets tense. Relaxation is a lifestyle training — Be even minded and cheerful at all times.

A beautiful chant written by Swami Kriyananda from the words of St. Teresa of Avila: “Let nothing disturb you, nothing affright you, all things will pass, but God changes not.”

Lastly, practice Savasana, affirm mentally:

Bones, muscles, movement, I surrender now; Anxiety, elation, depression, churning thoughts. All these I give into the hand of peace.

Many blessings on your efforts toward perfect relaxation in God.