8 ways to achieve deep relaxation

Intense relaxation - 8 ways to achieve deep relaxation

Intense relaxation

Deep relaxation allows you to release body tensions, review conflicting emotions and gain perspective on what we do and who we are.

Intense relaxation - 8 ways to achieve deep relaxation

Something as simple as lie down and stay Quie-to altogether at some point in the day, with no purpose to stop doing and thinking, it represents an abyss for many people plunged into a hectic lifestyle.

In fact, the Savasana yoga posture “dead body posture”, which consists precisely of lying on your back, fully relaxing and breathing gently while calming thoughts, is the most complicated for those who practice yoga, because it requires a stillness and a “letting go of control” that you are not used to.

In the society of rush there is always something important to do in the outside world.

All this agitation, combined with sedentary, mind-centered work, causes nervous tension that seizes the back and neck muscles.

The brain is continually alert and accelerated, and feelings of sadness or disappointment often arise from wanting to cover so many fronts in vain.

In this situation, finding a moment to fully relax becomes a way of calming down anxiety and turning your gaze inward, putting your own life in order.


In the 1960s, Herbert Benson, a professor at Harvard Medical School, identified four elements necessary to induce deep relaxation:

  • A quiet environment
  • A comfortable position
  • A passive attitude
  • The mental repetition of a word, such as “one”.

Benson found that several physiological changes took place during relaxation, such as decreased heart and breathing rates.

It also increased the proportion of alpha brain waves, the same ones that prevail during the first phase of sleep, and that allow a deep calm and repair of the organ systems and a greater mental clarity while staying awake.

These changes also represent a decrease in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, responsible for automatic and involuntary responses.

Since then, different studies have found that deep relaxation reduces physical, mental and emotional tension, reduces irritability and is an effective tool against insomnia, fatigue or depression.

At the triggering vasodilatation throughout the body also fights hi-pertensión and, since the heart beats at a slower pace, improving its pumping function and prevents heart attacks.

In addition it regulates parasympathetic system and decreases the amount of adrenaline and cortisol circulating in the blood, reducing the toxic responses of the body against stress and boosting the immune system.

Relaxing deeply allows you to calm your mind, increase effectiveness and creativity, enjoy higher levels of energy and resolve internal conflicts.


The most advisable thing is to use relaxation techniques that help reduce the main focus of tension and that, by extension, affect the general well-being.

  • Muscle tension: if the most pressing problem is physical pain (back pain, headaches, stomach pain, fatigue or insomnia) it may be more advisable to resort to relaxation based on a practice of tension and release.
  • Nervous tension: if stress and anxiety can barely be controlled (the heart is racing, breathing is shallow and worries are endless), a technique focused on calming the autonomic nervous system and working on mental relaxation will be more effective.
  • Emotional tension: if the tension is essentially emotional in nature ( the person feels upset and negative because something has happened that goes against their wishes and preferences: difficulties in relationships or work, illness, financial problems, unemployment …), something that in turn feeds muscular and nervous tension, it is possible to work with cognitive approaches, which allow detecting and correcting negative thoughts.


To do Savasana, lie on your back in a calm and quiet place, and on a thick rug or blanket.

Align the body , imagining a straight line that starts from the forehead, passes through the chin, runs along the trunk to the navel, continues between the knees and ends between the feet.

Spread the legs, leaving 15-20 cm between each knee and the central axis. Do the same with your arms, palms up.

If it is uncomfortable, a cushion can be placed under the nape or the hamstrings. If it is still difficult due to joint problems, a chair can be used.

Relaxation on a bed is not advised, as it would be easy to fall asleep and the goal is to put all your awareness on what is happening.

If you want to learn more about how to perform yoga postures, you may be interested in the online yoga initiation course of the Bodymind School.


In the 1920s, the American physiologist Edmund Jacobson observed that muscles contract according to orders from the brain, but that if the muscles are tense the brain becomes hyperactive, leading to organs such as the heart, stomach and colon to work at full throttle.

To remedy this, he devised a technique he called “progressive relaxation” consisting of tensing and relaxing muscu-lares groups.

The effects of this technique included the rest of the skeletal muscles, tranquility, improvement of the internal organs and more energy.

Over the years, abbreviated forms of the progressive relaxation system have been developed, such as the one we propose:

  • Lying in the Savasana yoga posture, breathe gently several times feeling the support of the floor.
  • With arms outstretched and palms up, attention is directed to the right hand. He clenches his fist and slowly loosens it. The hand is bent towards the inside of the wrist, the assembly is tightened and relaxed. You straighten your arm feeling the tension in your triceps and slowly release it. The same steps are repeated in the left hand and arm.
  • The conscience is directed to the right foot. The fingers are curled forward, feeling the tension, then loosening. The tip of the foot is stretched away from the body, noting the tension on the outside of the leg. It holds and it loosens. The foot is stretched from the heel sensing the tension in the calf. The tightness is maintained, it is released and the sensations are observed.
  • The right knee is bent and it is brought towards the chest, feeling the tightness in the interior of the thigh. The initial position is released and regained. The same steps are repeated on the left foot and leg.
  • Consciousness is directed to the face. The eyebrows are raised and the forehead wrinkles, observing the tightness. Tension is maintained and released. Their eyes are closed, and the muscles around them tighten and loosenteeth and jaw clenched, and released; he opens his mouth as much as possible and relaxes.
  • The head is raised off the ground a few inches by stretching the front of the neck. It goes down and little by little it turns to the right and then to the left. It is returned to the center and the muscles are allowed to rest and soften.
  • The abdomen is tightened, the lumbar is pressed against the floor and it is loosened.
  • Tense your glutes and take a few deep breaths, wiggling your fingers and toes and stretching hard.

Once the sequence is finished, the feeling of relaxation will be total.


This technique was developed by the German neurologist and psychiatrist Johannes Schultz in the early 20th century.

Schultz observed that, in the early stages of hypnosis, patients often reported feeling relaxed and heavy limbs and pleasant body heat. At the end of the session they were rested and recovered.

This led him to devise a guideline based on visualizing those sensations so that anyone could induce deep relaxation.

Schultz was able to verify that the autonomic nervous system was balanced and that levels of anxiety and stress were reduced.

It starts, as in the previous relaxation, from the Savasana posture.

Once in position, the following phrases are repeated in a low voice, generating a flow of visual, tactile and auditory images that reinforce the effect:

  • “My right arm is heavyMy left arm is heavy. Both arms are heavy. Right leg is heavy, left leg is heavy … Both legs are heavy.”
  • “My right arm is hot, so is my left arm … Both arms are hot. My right leg is hot. My left leg … Both legs are hot.”
  • “My arms and legs are heavy and warm. My heart rate is calm and regular. My lungs breathe. My solar plexus is hot. My forehead is cold.”


Physical tensions and mental stress are often linked to the way you react to what happens.

Emotions such as sadness, anger, obsessive fear, resentment or envy condition thoughts, influence attitudes and trigger harmful chemical reactions for the body.

Releasing the emotional tension that occurs when negative emotions persist helps prevent those problems.

You can start by observing the inner monologues to see what demands we make on others and on life.

And then improve them, replacing expressions such as: “this should be like this” with “I would like or prefer it to be like this”.

It can help you see things from a distance, without responding with an instant reaction or exaggerated, odesterrar sentences or thoughts that inclu-yan the words always or never, on oneself or others, and replace them with less deterministic.

In the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali the technique of “dwelling in the opposite” is proposed. If you feel anger against someone, you can stop feeding it and cultivate feelings of understanding towards that person; if hate is experienced, enhance feelings of compassion and love.

This releases emotional tension, calms the mind, and allows things to change. Quite a blessing!


Breathing slowly, paying attention to the movement of the air and the respiratory muscles, is one of the keys to relaxing.

The pectoral or chest breathing seeks power to act quickly but exhausted and promotes chronic stress. The breath-ma mobilizes diafrag, however, can induce calm. To carry it out:

  • full exhalation is performed with the hands on the abdomen, contracting the abdominal muscles inward to empty the air.
  • Then you breathe in slowly, inflating your abdomen as your diaphragm descends and puts pressure on your digestive system.
  • When you cannot breathe in more, the air is slowly released, and in the middle there is a pause.
  • The abdominal muscles are contracted inwards until the rest of the air is released and it is repeated as many times as necessary.

As the yoga teacher BKS Yyengar affirms in his book Light on Life, expiration is a sacred act of surrender, of self-abandonment.

As you breathe out, the accumulated impurities that cling to the ego are expelled: resentments, anger, regrets, desires, frustrations, feelings of superiority … Visualizing how they are eliminated helps to achieve balance.


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