Have you ever heard of viloma anuloma? Perhaps you have seen someone do it or have appeared in a yoga class. What about autogenic training? Surely you have heard of this but you may still not know what it is exactly. Read on to learn three effective relaxation techniques you can practice at home to calm your mind and body.
The benefits of relaxation techniques are not limited to Mental health. Regular practice will help you sleep like a log, to hold emotional storms under control and it will help you to be happier. As we already know, physical and emotional health they are closely connected. By putting these three techniques into practice, you will make the most of this relationship.
3 relaxation techniques
1. Complete breathing or yogic breathing
Alternate breathing, known as pranayama anuloma viloma, is one of the breathing exercises used in Hatha yoga. Viloma anuloma helps promote patience, reduces stress, and improves cardiovascular, respiratory, and brain health.
How does it workSit in a comfortable meditation position with your spine and neck straight and your eyes closed. To start, rest your wrists on your knees. Raise your right hand and flex your index and middle fingers. The thumb will plug the right nostril and the ring finger will plug the left nostril. Uncover the right nostril by lifting your thumb and inhale deeply, filling your lungs. Plug the right nostril and uncover the left, exhaling through the left nostril. Reverse the process.
Try to keep your mind blank and practice this breathing technique for a minute. Relax and increase the duration of this technique when you master it.
2. Progressive relaxation techniques
Progressive muscle relaxation is a process in which you tension a muscle group when you inhale and relax it when you exhale. This technique is often used to complement treatments for different diseases. Studies prove that progressive muscle relaxation is not only effective in supporting pain, but also reduces fatigue in patients with type 2 diabetes.
How does it work: Find a quiet place where you can relax and where you cannot be interrupted. Focus your attention on your forehead while keeping the rest of your body relaxed. Contract your forehead muscles for 15 seconds. Relax your forehead for a count of 30. Focus on how your muscles feel once you relax them. Breathe regularly throughout the exercise. It passes to the jaw, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, buttocks, legs and feet. Don’t move on to the next muscle group until the previous group is completely relaxed. Keep your breathing regular and calm.
3. Autogenic training
Autogenic training is a self-hypnosis relaxation technique that uses the body’s natural response to deal with stress and anxiety. It influences the autonomic nervous system just as yoga or meditation does. Autogenic training focuses on inducing heaviness in the body, a feeling of warmth, awareness of the heartbeat and the coolr from the forehead. The goal is passive concentration by focusing on the sensations of the body, which is what differentiates autogenic training from other progressive muscle relaxation techniques in which the goal is to control physiological functions in order to relax.
During autogenic training, certain words are repeated to trigger a state of relaxation. Sessions typically last 15-20 minutes and should be practiced daily. It is advisable to use an auditory guide with the verbal repetitions to be able to relax completely.
How does it work:
- Find a quiet place to sit and practice abdominal breathing for a few minutes. Say “I am completely calm.”
- Focus your attention on each arm and repeat six times: “My right arm is heavy.” Then repeat “I’m completely calm” once. Repeat the process with your right arm. With the attention still in the arms, repeat six times: “I feel warm in my right arm”, followed by the phrase “I am completely calm” only once.
- Focus your attention on the legs and repeat six times: “My right leg is heavy” and “I am completely calm” once.
- When you focus on the heart, repeat six times: “My heartbeat is calm and regular” and “I am completely calm” once.
- Then repeat six times “my breathing is calm and regular” and “I am completely calm” once.
- The next area is the abdomen. Repeat six times: “I feel warm in the abdomen” and “I am completely calm” once.
- Finally, focus your attention on your forehead and repeat six times: “My forehead is calm” and “I am completely calm” once.
- At this point, you should have reached a state of deep relaxation. Enjoy the heaviness of your limbs and the regularity of your breathing.
Benefits of practicing relaxation techniques
Calming the mind is not just about relieving stress, although this is one of the essential benefits and a motivating factor to practice them. Did you know that practicing yogic breathing on a regular basis helps reduce heart palpitations?? Meditation and yoga have been shown to have a positive effect on lowering blood pressure in patients with hypertension. This is largely attributed to hypertension as a possible effect of stress, so reducing stress can reduce hypertension.
The connection between relaxation techniques and mental health is clear. All three of the above techniques have been proven to help relieve stress, anxiety, and the Depression. The most effective approach is to combine relaxation techniques as an adjunct to pharmacotherapeutic treatment.
If you or someone you know suffers from anxiety and / or depression to the point of affecting daily life, speak with a professional medical person. Don’t try to treat this condition on your own.
The world has changed since the beginning of the pandemic, leading to increased levels of stress and anxiety in many people, as well as changes and challenges in health. Some of these challenges have been solved using the relaxation techniques mentioned. A recent study on university students in Spain during the COVID-19 pandemic relaxation techniques, including autogenic training, abdominal breathing and visualization, have been shown to be an effective alternative to treating anxiety with drugs.
The quality of sleep has a significant impact on overall health and, of course, on athletic performance. A study comparing different treatment techniques found that better evening routine and the practice of muscle relaxation techniques were effective in reducing insomnia.
Progressive relaxation has proven to be particularly effective in COVID-19 patients with sleep problems and insomnia who are unable to take sleep medications due to depressing effects on respiratory function.
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