Outer and Inner Relaxation

Article - Outer and Inner Relaxation


We must learn to relax ourselves. The more we practice this art, the deeper is the state of relaxation. There is external relaxation, and internal. We should start with the external and slowly progress to the internal. We can have a timer remind us every couple of hours to relax our muscles for a minute.

We relax by moving our attention to different parts of the body. Say, we start with the small muscles of the face by taking our attention around the eyes – eyes themselves, cheeks, mouth, and the jaw bones. As we take our attention to these areas, we will realise that we are holding on to so much of tension. We can then progress to the other parts of the body such as toes, calf muscles, knees, fingers, elbows, and slowly end it with one full round of the body. We can do this anywhere, and in any position. We may be travelling, at work, or sitting alone – we can practice this relaxation.

Once we become adept with this practice, we can then proceed to internal relaxation.  At the buzz of the timer we must note where we are in the mind. We may be in a state of anxiety, say about the scrip we have bought, or in a state of fear of loss of esteem or position. We may just be in a dark depressive mood, or full of anger and irritation. Maybe, we are endeavouring to project an image of what we are not, or brooding over how someone hurt us yesterday. We need to just hold the thought and consciously drop it, releasing the tense hold it has had over our psychic structure. Just like we practiced relaxing the body, we now relax the mind and drop all deceptions and become open.  What we do not know is that this small practice will change our life completely.

A great teacher has said that it is our thoughts that shape our destiny. Is it possible that the very tension we have for our son to pass his exam becomes the cause of his failure? Why not give it a try. Take a situation where we have to reach a meeting, but cannot find a spot to park the car and we are worked up and tense about it. Just practice relaxing the thought and trusting life. In the moment of relaxation, we might see the car in front of us empty its spot and we effortlessly slide in to park our car. Seems improbable, but some truths are stranger than fiction. But then, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Do try.

- By Rajen Vakil