True relaxation is experienced by the body and mind when little or no energy is consumed. It is Nature’s way of recharging. Since every action, conscious or unconscious, uses stored energy, relaxation is necessary good health and peace of mind. Without proper relaxation the body and mind become overworked and inefficient.
Certain forms of exercise increase the body’s energy, but this is futile if we continue to waste energy by constantly keeping the muscles in a state of readiness when there is no need to do so. Some people find they have trained their muscles to be so tense that they cannot relax them even at night, creating a constant energy drain.
Yoga asanas are a technique for retraining the muscles to be able to relax. People who practice asanas often find that they need less sleep and feel more rested. This is because, when they lie down, they quickly fall into a sound sleep. Deep sleep rejuvenates body and mind, but light sleep, or the dream state, actually uses energy.
When the mind is constantly bombarded by stimuli, it becomes overloaded and exhausted. We may be unaware that we are doing it, but by thinking and worrying we are using up tremendous amounts of energy. The tension put on the mind by worries, whether real or imagined, can use more energy than physical work.
When worries get out of hand, energy resources are strained. Mental fatigue sets in, often resulting in wear and tear on the physical body as well. It is important to set aside some time each day for the mind to unwind and recoup its energies.
Whenever you experience mental tension, try breathing slowly and rhythmically for a few minutes while you concentrate on the breath. Yogic breathing exercises will may take conscious effort, but develop your ability to calm the mind using your own thought power. This leads to an experience of inner peace,with physical relaxation following the mental relaxation.
Complete mental and physical relaxation come only with an inner tuning to a higher source. As long as we identify with this body and mind, we all think we can rely on no-one but ourselves. There will always be tension and worries about the future. Tuning to the divine source brings the realization that all happiness comes from within. Yoga gives the techniques for this inner tuning, enabling us to break down the boundaries that separate us from each other, and from our own Inner Selves.