I am a great fan of guided relaxations which allow your body and mind to completely relax and have just released my first collection of guided relaxations to download – Earth & Sky (Available on iTunes, CDBaby Amazon & Google Play)
In our current lives we are pretty much on 24/7 and I find through my yoga classes that people find it very difficult to relax. It’s not something people are used to doing out with sleep and it’s not something people tend to consciously make time for. I love seeing the effects on people when they’ve experienced a guided relaxation during class – the sense of lightness and calmness in their faces and bodies – and I wanted to share this collection so that people can receive the benefits more often.
It’s incredibly important that we find time to properly relax. In this 24/7 busy and stressful lifestyle our sympathetic nervous system is switched on a lot of the time. This is our fight or flight mode. Whether it is work, family life, financial pressures, anxiety over the future, there are a whole host of stressors which trigger this fight or flight mode. When the sympathetic nervous system is engaged our heart rate increases and our breathing rate is increased in order to get oxygenated blood to the major muscles to react to the stressor. We make short terms decisions based on the information we have to hand to get us away from the stress. With the blood supply busy transporting oxygen to the major muscles our digestive system doesn’t get what it needs to function properly. If we live too much in this state it has a negative impact on our bodies and our lives.
It is therefore important that we ensure we make time to rest and engage the parasympathetic nervous system. This allows our heart rate to slow down, the circulation system to deliver blood and nutrients to all the organs to allow the body to function optimally and repair itself. When we are in a more rested state we are able to take longer term decisions, have the space to step back and find creative solutions to problems and be able to respond rather than react to events.
My guided relaxations are written to allow the body to come to complete muscular relaxation while staying awake and aware. The conscious mind can switch off. I like to think of these as a away for your mind to do a bit of file sorting – if the mind is continually busy it it can get overwhelmed with the filing of information and information gets filed in the wrong place or distorted. When we allow the mind to relax it can have a bit of a tidy up and process information effectively.
In the relaxations you also have the option to utilise a sankalpa or resolve. This is a short phrase, intention or affirmation that you can say near the beginning and end of the relaxation for something that you wish to change. As you relax your mind can take in the intention so that it can act as a reference point for future actions. Here are some examples:
- I am beautiful and loved. I am proud to be me
- I trust life to unfold in positive ways. The universe loves me and supports me
- I choose to see everyone and everything with joy and love
- Life is change. I adapt easily and accept the past, the present and the future
Any phrase or affirmation you use should be short and simple so that it is easy for you to remember. It should be in the present tense ie said as something that you are doing now rather than something you have done in the past or will do in the future. It should also be in positive language, bringing positive things in to your life rather than being about giving something up. For example “I choose to eat healthy and nutritious food” rather than “I am giving up food that is bad for me”
Using sanklapas and affirmations in this way when we are going about our daily life our mind will look for ways to support these beliefs which will help to make positive changes if you choose.