Updated: Jan 13, 2022
I cannot emphasize the importance of proper and systematic relaxation. Relaxing the body is as important, if not more, than exercising it. Prolonged stress on the body can lead to chronic injuries and diseases, the symptoms of which can plague you for a lifetime. I have personal experience with this. Growing up, I was both an athlete and a squash player at the national level. My priority was always to become stronger, faster, and fitter. Relaxation was the last thing on my mind. I did warm-ups and cooled down, but it was always done in a hurry – stretching or relaxing seemed boring and slow.
This routine is best practiced before you go to sleep. Relaxing your body properly ensures a deeper and more restful night of sleep.
1. Lie face down on the stomach with arms on either side of the body.
2. Inhale and extend the arms out in front of the body. Now exhale and relax.
3. Begin to relax the entire body, starting with the toes, moving up the ankles, calves, hips, pelvis, and buttocks. Continue up the back, spinal column, shoulders, and arms. Relax the neck, face, forehead, and head.
2. Makra Asana
1. Lie face down on the stomach with the legs slightly apart.
2. Making a pillow with the hands, rest the side of the head on the hands.
3. Adjust the arms' distance for optimum comfort – if the elbows are too far out, tension will be felt in the neck. If they are too close to the body, tension will occur in the lower back.
4. As you relax deeper into the asana, bring the awareness of the breath from the tailbone to the neck and feel the breath moving up and down the spine. This will activate the healing of any injuries.
3. Matsya Kridasana
1. Lie down on the stomach. Interlock the fingers to create a pillow, rest the right cheek gently on the hands
2. Bring the left knee up toward the elbow and, shifting the position of the hands, pull the elbow closer to the knee.
3. Relax and breathe.
4. Repeat on the other side.
4. Shashank Asana
1. Begin in Vajrasana (Diamond Pose).
2. Spread the knees apart so that the toes of both feet are touching.
3. Inhale and raise the arms over the head.
4. Exhale, bringing the forehead to the ground. Extend the arms out on either side of the head.
5. Stay here and breathe.
5. Shashank Asana
1. Lie flat on the back with arms relaxed on either side of the body, palms facing upward.
2. The legs should be sprawled outward and the feet apart.
3. The head and neck should be aligned.
4. Inhale and exhale and relax the entire body.
5. To further deepen the relaxation, actively contract and relax different parts of the body.
6. Contract the muscles in the feet, and relax. Contract the calves and thighs, and relax. Contract the pelvic muscles, the buttocks, and relax. Clench the fists, contract the arms, and relax. Contract, contract, contract, and relax. Contract the back, the neck, the shoulders, and relax. Lift the head off the ground, and relax. Contract, contract, contract, and relax. Contract the muscles in the face, and relax. Contract the entire body. Contract, contract, contract, and relax. Recite this mentally.
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