After careful reading and analysis of relaxation exercises, techniques and recommendations I practiced them strictly following the described patterns.
During my practice, I came across some difficulties and contradictions connected with doing these exercises, which should be outlined in this essay. The first recommendation for performing relaxation exercises was ‘breathe in and out gently and rhythmically using your diaphragm’, which proved to be not so very easy (523).
It was difficult to normalize breathing and make it rhythmical; however, it is not connected with the breathing problems but rather with the indeterminate character of the technique. The definition – ‘to breathe with your diaphragm’ is rather problematic and not properly explicated. Notwithstanding these difficulties, the initial phase of relaxation was made and I felt ready for total ‘relaxation of each part of my body’ (523).
However, this next step proved to be even more difficult than the previous. One of the primary recommendations was to concentrate attention on different parts of your body in order to control their relaxation. However, neither the scope of this concentration nor the techniques necessary for training it were described. Consider the fact, that this is particularly important because not so definite and easy.
Concentrating attention on relaxing my fingers, toes, hands, and wrists I found out that sometimes my concentration results in contrary effects leading to tension in my muscles and the whole body. The easiest for me was to relax my jaw and spine. In total it took me some time to relax the whole body, which is stipulated in point 11 (524).
The process of ‘coming out from relaxation’ proved to be a little easier for me and I really felt energized and full of positive emotions (524).
The process of ‘coming out from relaxation’ was uneven. Although it was comparatively easy to derelax my arms, fingers, toes, and legs, it was difficult to derelax my spine, pelvis, and jaw. One of the primary reasons for this was too deep relaxation, which was an interesting and useful experience. The process of ‘bringing breath’ to difficult parts of my body, proved to be the most completely elaborated technique of these recommendations for relaxation. Each step of this stage was carefully and in detail outlined, however, required learning recommendations by heart. At this phase of relaxation exercises, I really felt ‘the entire body now washed by a gentle wave of breath from the soles of the feet and the tips of fingers, all the way to the crown of the head” (524).
The sensations of the body followed immediately after the relaxation. One of the most positive examples of this technique is strengthening breathing at the final stages of the exercise. It turned to be true that ‘as the breath becomes stronger’, the sensations of the body significantly increase.
Moving different parts of your body after increasing breath also was very effective in terms of energizing effects for the body. It should be pointed, however, that the recommendation to return to seated position over the next minute was not so well-grounded. Our experience shows that quick returning to balance is not effective in terms of achieving full and enduring, relaxation which depends upon several interconnected factors: the control of relaxation, concentration, and following strict patterns.
After full de relaxation, I stayed lying approximately for minutes which helped me achieve even more positive results.
To sum it up, the above-analyzed recommendations are well-grounded and help achieve necessary relaxation. However, they contain some minor and major contradictions which are evident during practical exercises. However, they may be corrected and even individually customized which depends on your personal experience during relaxation. But the majority of patterns and techniques which are scientifically grounded and tested should not be neglected to avoid negative consequences for your practices.
Besides this, it should be mentioned that some cautions should be applied to the clients in the context of relaxation exercises. First of all, all techniques should be consulted and approved by competent physicians based on the health conditions of a patient. Relaxation procedures often contain the risk of so-called RIA – relaxation-induced anxiety, which results from quick physical changes in the nervous system and causes psychological alarm. However, this effect is not damaging for our organism.
It should be also remembered that relaxation exercising reinforce the effects of medication your use and you should pay particular attention to this fact, consulting your doctor on the possibility of taking medicaments before and after relaxation exercises.
To summarize my relaxation experience, I think it was positive notwithstanding some minor difficulties, which may be attributed also to miscomprehension and practical incoherence.
Cormier, S & Nurius, P (2002) Interviewing and change strategies for helpers. Pacific Grove, Ca.: Brooks/Cole Publishing Co.