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Relaxation: survival into the 21st century

Relaxation is essential to constant purification and strengthening of the body. It is as important an aspect of hatha yoga as the exercises. After each exercise, there should be a period of relaxation. The relaxation posture is done by simply lying on the back, legs out straight, hands by the sides, eyes looking directly upward with the back of the head on the floor.
All the muscles of the body should be completely limp. In order to achieve a sense of limpness and abandon, it may be helpful to raise each leg separately about two inches off the floor and then let it drop as though it were an inanimate object. In the same way raise the right arm slightly and let it drop. Then raise the left arm slightly and let it drop. Raise the hips slightly from side to side. By this time you should feel limp as a rag doll. 
Let your entire body lie absolutely still and motionless and observe the internal results of the exercise you have just done. 
Notice how the breathing, heartbeat, muscles, tendons, joints, spine, and nervous system are readjusting themselves. In the beginning of the relaxation it may be helpful to do deep diaphragmatic breathing while lying on your back. As you inhale deeply the stomach should expand outward and as you exhale the stomach contracts. it is easier to achieve correct diaphragmatic breathing when reclining because in sleep diaphragmatic breathing occurs automatically.
As the body relaxes let the breathing become more slow and shallow until it seems to be suspended. Feel more and more that you are breathing (pranic) energy currents until you experience a feeling of weightlessness or floating in space. Feel as though the body has been transformed into a field of energy or magnetic force. Feel this energy revitalizing and regenerating every tissue and every cell of your body. The practice of this type of relaxation is an excellent preparation for meditation and the practice of raja yoga. Until one is able to relax it is impossible to meditate. After two or three minutes practice of raja yoga. Until one is able to relax it is impossible to meditate. After two or three minutes of this relaxation you will be refreshed and ready for the next asana or exercise.
By relaxing in this way after each exercise, the body is able to expel all the waste products which have been created and mobilized in the tissues during the physical exertion. 
Elimination of these fatigue toxins prevents fatigue and there is less strain on the heart and other internal organs. At the end of a yoga session you should feel less tired than when you began.


Any hatha yoga session should terminate in a relaxation period lasting ten or fifteen minutes. When the body is slightly tired but the mind is alert and conscious and the emotions are at rest you are very susceptible to constructive suggestions which will sink deep into the unconscious mind and take root there. For this reason the final relaxation is combined with suggestion. Begin by following the relaxation procedure outlined above. When the whole body is still and limp, focus your entire undivided attention on your toes. Feel everything that is happening in the toes. Be aware of the coolness of the air next to the skin, the feeling of density in the bones. Feel the toes pervated and tingling with subtle vital energy and let the toes become completely relaxed. 
Feel as though you are communicating with the actual cells in them. Now purposefully and with full consciousness relax your feet and the ankles in the same way. Successively relax each part of the body from the feet to the top of the head, limb by limb, joint by joint, organ by organ. You may name successively each part of the body you are relaxing to yourself: "I am relaxing my feet; I am relaxing my thighs; I am relaxing... " Next, relax the calves and shins, then the knees and knee joints, then the pelvis. As you relax each part of the body do so with full undivided concentration. Concentration is not antithetical to relaxation. 
Concentration means to bring all your psychological drives. It becomes evident that concentration is the real secret of relaxation. The activities of the body always mirror the activities of the mind. What ever the mind envisions the body creates on the physical plane. When the mental and emotional activity is brought to a state of balanced equilibrium the body relaxes automatically. Bringing the mind to a state of balanced equilibrium by concentration on any part of the body automatically relaxes that part.
Next, relax the spinal column; feel each separate vertebra settle into place; Feel the spinal nerves tingling with pranic energy. Remember that your attention is consciousness and that wherever consciousness is focused vital force automatically manifests as the lower overtones of that consciousnes. Consciousness creates the healing regenerating energies in the body.
Within your Superconscious mind is a perfect archetypal image of our body complete and beautiful in every detail. Quiet the mind in focused concentration and let this image of perfection precipitate on the physical octave of vibration and rebuild and regenerate the body as a perfect temple for your soul to manifest through.
Next relax all the muscles, then the side muscles and stomach muscles. Allow at least 30 seconds for relaxing each part of the body. Next, relax each of the internal organs. Feel as though you are communicating w ith the individual cells in them. Relax the kidneys, bladder, liver, large intestines, small intestines and stomach; let your breathing slow down until it becomes imperceptible. The breathing should reach a point of relaxation where it seems suspended. You will seem to breathe by a pulsating flow of pranic energy throughout the body. Breathe energy through every pore and every cell. Now feel the heart relaxing deeply after each slow beat. Feel pulsations of vital energy flowing through the body with each heartbeat.
Now relax the chest and shoulders; sink back against the floor as all tension goes out of the muscles. Now while keeping them absolutely still and motionless, relax your fingers and thumbs. 
Feel them tingling and vibrating with energy. Now in the same way successively relax the hands, wrists, forearms, elbows and upper arms. Next relax around the base of the neck and the collar bone.
Next relax the neck, the link between the head and the body. 
Relax each part of the neck: the throat, larynx, vertebrae, muscles, tendons, veins, arteries, the thyroids and parathyroid glands. Now, while the mouth remains closed, let the jaw hang loose. Let our face become serene, impassive and expressionless. 
Now carefully relax your eyes. Let them sink deeply back into their sockets. Feel the eyes and eye sockets being enveloped by a warm soothing tingling sensation which is dissolving away all eye strain and fatigue. Next, relax the ears and all the delicate organs in the inner ears. Now feel the entire scalp tingling with cool soothing sensations right down through the roots of the hair. Let this tingling energy penetrate the skull and envelop the entire brain in the cool, soothing, clarifying sensation of pranic vibration. Feel all the brain cells being healed, regenerated and vivified.
Now that you have relaxed every part of the body, feel the entire body as a whole completely relaxed and at ease. Realize that the body is nothing but organized, concentrated energy. 
Experience it subtle nature as energy. Feel yourself lose all sensation of weight and mass. Experience the body as an electromagnetic force field floating freely in space. Experience yourself floating in a vast, infinite, shore less sea of scintillating shimmering white light. See this light interpenetrating, pervading and permeating every atom and cell of your being. Now focus all your attention on the third eye center in the region of the pituitary gland and see a star of brilliant white radiance there. Experience a reciprocal flow of light, energy, sound and consciousness between this point in the center of your head and the entire universe including the sun, moon, planets, and stars. Consciousness is floating from the center of your head to them and from them to the center of your head. If you prefer, imagine this center of light in the heart instead of the head and follow the same procedure. Remain in this state for at least 5 minutes. Feel that you are tuned in to an infinite reservoir of love, wisdom and power that will enable you to live joyously, happily and successfully. Experience all the divine virtues present in you already. You have only to let them operate. 
These qualities exist in omnipresent consciousness. When the mind emotions and personal ego are quieted and stand aside, the divine attributes will flow through you.
When you wish to end the relaxation, slowly become aware of your body; become aware of the floor under you and the physical surroundings. Stretch and get up slowly. Go forth into your daily activities renewed, refreshed and directed by the God consciousness within you. This is an excellent procedure to use in bed before you go to sleep at night. It is especially effective for insomniacs and people who have difficulty getting to sleep. Not only will you go to sleep sooner but you will sleep more soundly and efficiently. The constructive suggestions and the relaxed state of your body will continue during sleep.

This page last updated: 02/27/2018

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