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How to Cultivate Relaxation

Happy May long weekend everyone!

This weekend is often a time to prepare or plant your garden, to go camping or to just enjoy the nice weather. We tend to be busy, even if it is doing things we love, it still is doing. Sometimes we need to just be, to relax, this is needed so we can accomplish all the things we want/need without burning out.

We spoke of relaxation & how to get stronger & more flexible, we need to come from a place of ease, effortless effort. You may notice, when you come to class & are asked to be in stillness, to relax, we end up finding how tense our body or mind really is. If we can take some time to find a sense of ease, then when we move our bodies, we are able to do the work without the strain. This is a balanced approach to our self care.

I had asked students in class to state:

All parts of me know that it is always safe to relax, and I am relaxing completely now.

In this statement, you may say, is it safe to relax, am I completely relaxed now? The answer could feel like no, but in truth it IS safe to be in our body, to breathe, to feel, no matter what is there.

I often say, “visualize a place that when you go there, you are safe, at easy, joyful”. Picture it in your mind & feel as if you are there & you can go here anytime you are exploring in your body, mind or emotions & feel overwhelmed. This way we don’t have to dive into the discomfort with both feet, but can dip a toe in to feel it a bit at a time. It is in the safe place, that you can allow yourself to come back into your body & feel difficult sensations, to acknowledge them & by doing so, they can begin to change. It is when we keep ignoring the difficulties, that they will keep coming back again & again & if ignored too long, will come back in a way that can knock us off balance.

One of my favourite quotes is:

If you listen to you your body when it whispers you never have to listen to it scream." Unknown

By addressing things when they first start to speak, it is easier to change them. If we keep ignoring, one day they will scream & we will be forced to address them, even if we are not prepared to do so.

Last week I had my students try out circular breathing for 1 minute & many shared that things came up in that one minute. Some even said they felt a little “off” for a few days, or were able to let go of things in a way that was different than before. It shows how powerful our breath can be & in that circular breath, it does not allow thought to enter so it can then hold our feelings in a safe way. But this can be strong & we can allow ourselves to come back to a breath that has some pauses to “take a break” from the intensity of that feeling, to feel safe if anxiety came up in what we were exploring. But we have to remember, that we are safe in those feelings & bit by bit we can explore them & even process them to eventually let them go.

So take some time this weekend to just sit or lie for a few minutes, follow your breath & meet what is arising. Use some affirmations to cultivate relaxation & ease such as:

It is safe to feel

It is safe for me to be in my body

Breath supports me

I release, I relax & let go.

I trust my inner voice - I am at peace.

Then go back to what your were doing & you may find that you get more done with less effort.

By saying these words, you cultivate these ideas & just as you would first cultivate the ground to plant your garden, it focuses on what we want to grow by first preparing ourselves to then plant the seeds. With care, attention, practice & patience, we can grow a life of effortless effort.

“This practice of yoga is to remove the weeds from the body so that the garden can grow." BKS Iyengar


Anne Cox E-RYT 500


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