“In order to achieve perfect relaxation, three methods are used by the Yogis. The three methods are known as physical, mental and spiritual. No relaxation is complete until man reaches the stage of spiritual relaxation, which only Yogis know.
Physical Relaxation. We all know that every action is the result of thought originated in the mind consciously or subconsciously. Thoughts take form in action and the body reacts to it. Just as behind the muscular contraction or tension there is a thought, so also behind the relaxation there is again a thought vibration. Just as we send a message to contract the muscles, so also another message will bring relaxation to the tired muscles. This relaxation message is known as autosuggestion or suggesting one’s own muscles and internal organs relax.
Mental Relaxation. The constant tension put on the mind owing to unnecessary worries and anxieties takes away more energy than physical tension. During mental tension one should breathe slowly and rhythmically for a few minutes and concentrate on breathing. Slowly the mind will become calm and one is able to feel a kind of floating sensation, as if one were as light as a feather; one feels peace and joy.
Spiritual Relaxation. However one tries to relax the mind one cannot completely remove all tensions and worries from the mind unless one goes to spiritual relaxation. As long as man identifies himself with the body and mind there will be worries, sorrows, anxieties, fear, and anger which, in turn, bring tension. Yogis know that unless man can withdraw himself from the body idea and separate himself from the ego consciousness, there is no way of obtaining complete relaxation. So, from the mental relaxation, he withdraws himself and identifies himself with the all-pervading, all-powerful, all-peaceful and joyful self, or pure consciousness within himself, because all the source of power, knowledge, peace, and strength are in the soul and not in the body. This identification with the self completes the process of relaxation.”
The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga
At the end of all of our yoga classes, we practice full relaxation as explained above by our teacher Swami Vishnudevananda. The teacher will guide you along in the process of physical and mental relaxation and then leave a period of silence at the end so that you can experience spiritual relaxation. It’s a beautiful process that will leave you feeling refreshed and uplifted!