This is the third part of our series "Relaxation Techniques". In this part, i am going to talk about a western method which is not so common but very effective. This technique is known as "Autogenics or Autogenic training". It is developed by German psychiatrist; Dr. Johannes Schultz. It was first published in 1932 and personally i am using it and highly recommend to all. This is purely and highly effective technique for obtaining highest degree of mind-body relaxation. Autogenic training generally deals in creating the link or equilibrium between sympathetic and parasympathetic types of autonomic nervous system. It is proved to create a maximum relaxation state resulting various health benefits like lowering stress, promotes digestion, lowering of blood pressure, strengthening immune system etc.
"Autogenics is like psychological gymnastics for psychological fitness".
Just 7-10 minutes practicing autogenics will sooner or later produce the desired effect. It is simply training of our mind to order and create an instant awareness in bodily functions. The process is very simple but it depends on how well the practitioner completes a session.
Autogenic Training: Procedure
The basic process of autogenic training is similar in all guides and tutorials mentioned about it online or offline. But apart of giving autogenic training script , here, i will provide the guided autogenic audio short session by DigitalChill. Firstly, before practicing the autogenic training exercises, choose a quiet place or room and make sure you will not be disturbed by any means whatsoever during the session. The room must be well ventilated. You can practice autogenic training in three different postures according to your comfort.
Sitting back: – You can sit back in a recliner or a chair with you head resting against the back and hands resting on the armrests or on your thighs. Legs should not be crossed.
Lying down: – You can preferably lie down on a bed/couch or a floor with a pillow under your head. Your arms should slightly be bent at the elbows.
Sitting up: – It is as like sitting back but done in stool or chair with your head slightly hanging forward. Arms and hands resting loosely on your thighs.
This is the first step for creating a favorable environment for the training. After you have chosen your desired posture, close your eyes, take two long breaths then imagine a "relaxation mask" over your face. This mask will smooth your tensions, stress, strain, frowns and wrinkles. Feel the muscle of your face. Focus on your eyelids, tip of your nose. Your jaw should hang loose and your teeth must not be touched. Put your tongue in the inner gum-line of your upper teeth like as in pronouncing letter "d" or "t". Now gently, begin by diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing. That is when inhaling, fill your abdomen not your lungs. Breathe slowly and naturally. The exhale must be double count than inhale. And with each breathe, increase the count. Like Inhale 2,3 then exhale 2,3,4,5,6 (6 is double of 3). Inhale, 2,3,4 then exhale,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. Increase the inhale count upto 6 but remember not to strain yourself. Do this warm-up for at least 3 minutes.
Step One — Heaviness Training
Begin by developing the feeling of heaviness in your whole body. And now focus that feeling on your right hand. Say to yourself:
- My Right arm is getting heavy. (6-8 times)
- My Right arm is getting heavier and heavier. (6-8 times)
- My Right arm is completely heavy. (6-8 times)
- I feel supremely calm or I am at peace (1 time)
Do this heaviness exercise in right arm for 3 days and continue the same process for left arm, both arms, left leg, right leg, both legs and both arms and legs combined for 3 days each. Don't try to force the feeling. It should be automatic just focus on your breathing and keep practicing. This heaviness exercise takes almost three weeks. Some guys may get this intense feeling before but do not skip this method for the proposed time, as this is the base or foundation of the whole autogenic training. Therefore, having a strong foundation will have profound result.
Step Two — Warmth Training
This is similar like heaviness exercises but instead of heaviness, this training focuses on developing and creating the intense feeling of warmth. For this training, begin by 2 minutes quick warm-up then one cycle of heaviness exercise for arms and legs for 2 minutes. Once, you feel the sense of heaviness, and then only proceed forward to this. The statements, pattern and duration are all same. So, replace the heaviness term with warmth. During the process, try to imagine and arise the sensation of warmth on the body parts you are focusing. This warmth exercises also takes 3 weeks to master. Then, the final combining formula will be like
- My arms and legs are getting heavy and warm. (6-8 times)
- My arms and legs are getting heavier and warmed. (6-8 times)
- My arms and legs are complete heavy and warm. (6-8 times)
- I feel supremely calm or i am at peace. (1 time).
Between the cycles of warmth and heaviness, open you eyes and move your arms and legs. Eliminate the feeling of warmth and heaviness. Then invoke it again. When you master these exercises, only then move ahead.
Step Three — Calm Heart
Begin with the warm-up. Repeat the heavy and warmth exercise in short. At this moment, after mentioning 3 or 4 times, you will arise the sensation of warmth and heaviness instantly. Now, mentally sense your heartbeat. For better sensation, put your right palm onto your chest area or pulse. After your sense the beats, repeat the following statements with silence.
- My Chest feels warm and pleasant. (6-8 times)
- My heartbeat is calm and steady. (6-8 times)
- I feel supremely calm or i am at peace. (1 time)
Practice this exercise 2-3 times a day for at least 10 minutes for 2 weeks. It generally focuses on heart area and opens up the heart chakra.
Step Four — Breathing
Do the warm-up and repeat the following:
- My arms and legs are getting heavy and warm (1-2 times).
- My arms and legs are getting heavier and warmer (1-2 times).
- My arms and legs are completely heavy and warm (1-2 times).
- My heartbeat is calm and steady (1-2 times).
- I am at peace (1 time).
- My breathing is natural and calm (6-8 times).
- It breathes me (1 time).
This training focuses on gaining control over you breathing. When you can climb stairs or jog and still breathe normally and calmly, you have mastered this exercise.
Step Five — Cool Forehead
This exercise will help you to experience a sensation of coolness on your forehead. Begin by warm-up. Repeat in short form all the formulas for heaviness, warmth, heart, and breathing. Then say to yourself:
- My forehead is pleasantly cool. (6-8 times)
- I am at peace. (1 time)
While repeating the phrases, you can imagine and feel a cool breeze is blowing on your forehead and face. You can even practice this exercise before the FAN in a low speed. Do this training for at least 10 minutes, 2-3 times a day for 2 weeks.
Step Six — Recap
Finally after a long and hard training, you are not in the last stage of autogenic training which is called as the graduation phase of this level one autogenics. Here, Do the warm-up. Repeat all the above mentioned formulae in short. Then say to yourself:
- My arms and legs are heavy and warm.
- My heartbeat and breathing are clam and steady.
- My forehead is cool.
- I feel supremely calm.
Repeat this final formula for several times. If you have mastered individual exercises, you will be able to invoke the pleasant, calm and relaxed autogenic state within some repeats. Now, you are in control of yourself. The ability to reach this autogenic state needs patience, practice, consistency, determination, dedication and discipline. Whenever, you are facing challenging situation either physical or mental like exams, tests, interview, audition, confrontation etc, simply say to yourself, "Arms and legs heavy, warm; heart and breathing calm, steady; forehead cool and calm." You will instantly be in the optimum state to face any challenges.
Note: While doing heaviness and warmth exercises lying down, initially you may be asleep. So, if you tend to fall asleep, better practice in sitting up posture.
Well, i recommend everyone to practice this awesome complete autogenic training. But, it takes a lot dedication and time for you to master this awesome technique. But, don't panic yourself. There are lots of music and programs dedicated to make you calm and reach the optimum alpha state without much traditional effort, so that you can easily reach the autogenic state and master it very soon. To find out the premium program or contents, all you need to do is to fill the form given below. We are collecting your email for better delivery of your interested valuable contents to your inbox.