The Key to a Pain Free Life
|Andrzej Strzalkowski, RPT|
Part 2: Commit to Change
In last month's article, the levels of relaxation were compared to the layers of an onion as the question was raised: How do we get to that innermost layer of relaxation?
Reviewing; There are three steps: first, is recognizing the need to relax (See "Relaxation" article in May's issue of Intentional Health); second, is the willingness to commit to change and thirdly; we must work on controlling our thoughts and focusing on one activity. "Relaxation" for this month will focus on...
Commit to Change (or "Deeper into the Onion")
When we are willing to make the change, we need to set a goal to relax and further, develop the ability to differentiate between the layers of relaxation. For example; watching TV is one way of relaxing. But, if we are watching news related accidents and calamities that happen around the world, this is very possibly going to create some tension in us. Yet, we're going to consider watching TV a relaxation activity. Well, are you relaxed? Yes, probably to some degree, but not enough. Another example is reading a book. We are removing ourselves from the daily activities, daily stresses, daily problems, however what are we doing? Taking our mind away from reality to the content of the book, yet at the same time we also take our mind away from our bodies. So, we are not paying attention to the body.
Another option would be to just sit in a chair and breathe. This is a perfect example of true relaxation. Focus on one activity, breathing as opposed to watching TV or reading a book. The question, however, is are we recognizing at the same time there are about 100,000,000 thoughts going through our head as we are sitting in this chair and breathing?
Relaxation breathing is reaching a deeper layer into the onion. An activity that is highly successful at eliminating tension and achieving a deeper state of relaxation.
Breathing is a meditative technique. We can utilize other methods to assist in accomplishing relaxation. These tools can be tai chi, chi gong and I would say the most popular and common choice is yoga. All of those tools should be directed with a sense of enhancing our ability to listen to our body and relax. Accomplishing this listening skill will further enhance the other benefits of these practices such as firming, stretching and pain elimination.
Learn to listen to the "whispers" of your body,
to avoid feeling it "scream!"
Our body is whispering to us continuously, but our hectic mind doesn't allow it to be heard. So, when we practice yoga and are in downward facing dog, our thinking is often; "Oh my goodness! My back cannot stretch! I'm aching there! Oh, my hamstrings are not stretched enough! My calf is hurting! How long do we have to hold this pose?"
Choosing to go deeper into the onion, look internally and listen to our body we may choose to think; "Ok, I'm in a certain position. Is my body tense? Am I able to relax? How is my breathing? What small adjustment can I make to ease the tension?"
Paramount in making the commitment to relaxation is recognizing the difference between tension and pain. Tension being a slight abnormal state of the muscles. Ignoring these slight "whispers" of our body and pushing through them takes us from the path of relaxation and inner healing to pain and illness. Do we continue to ignore the tension, push past them (as most people do) or are we going to stop and focus our mind on reducing the tension.. through relaxation via meditation?
Our willingness to make that change and consistently fine tune the level of our ability to "intentionally focus" can eliminate the problem of constantly being diverted by other thoughts.
This "re-education" of our thought process can allow us to center our mind on relaxing tension anywhere in the body, before the tension escalates into pain or illness.
The goal of our treatment at Alternative Therapy is to increase the patient's body awareness by developing their ability to hear the tensions in their body and learn, through meditative techniques, to successfully release these tensions.
Look for part III in the "Relaxation" series in next month's Intentional Health. Part I can be found in May's Issue at myalternativetherapy.net under "the News", under the bright blue button marked "Intentional Health". Contact Alternative Therapy for more information: 941-727-1500.