At the end of yoga class, our instructor invites everyone in the room to lie on their mat in what’s called corpse pose. Flat on your back, with legs outstretched and arms at sides, the instructor begins to lead everyone in a meditative relaxation journey: systematically clenching and releasing the muscles in each section of your body, and listening to the music being played along with the sound of the instructor’s voice. This method of meditation is Progressive Muscle Relaxation, developed in the 1930's. It's based on the idea that mental relaxation can be a natural outcome of physical relaxation.
All forms of meditation take practice and are excellent for managing stress; they include:
Autogenic training: best learned in a class or from your doctor, this method focuses on noticing different sensations (heaviness, warmth, etc.) in different regions of your body.
Biofeedback: mainly administered by practitioners, this method uses monitoring equipment to gain information about the body to determine heart rate, blood pressure, brain activity, stomach acidity, muscle tension, while you practice postural changes, breathing techniques, etc.
Imagery: also referred to as guided imagery, it is the use of pleasant or relaxing images to calm the mind and body. It can be lead, or learned and conducted on your own using controlled breathing and visualizing a soothing image.
Meditation techniques: can be learned independently or in a class. Some forms stem from religion or specific beliefs and is used to achieve physical and mental relaxation. This method focuses on the core of one’s being, quieting the mind, body and emotions.
Physical training: can be learned in classes or using books and DVDs, after consulting with your doctor. Forms include Qigong, a Chinese health-care system; Tai chi, a Chinese martial art known as “meditation in motion,” using flowing movements focusing on precision and force; Yoga, an ancient Indian exercise form based on the premise that the body and breathing are connected with the mind, used to enhance balance, harmony and emotions in the body with postures and breathing.
Relaxation is my favorite part of Yoga class.