Let’s face facts here. We live in stressful times.
You know that the stress you feel is YOUR responsibility to correct, but if you don’t know how, what are you going to do? You’ll probably find ways to cope. People like me have perfected their coping mechanisms to a fine art! Hey, I’m not perfect, and neither are you.
Some days may feel like you’re going through the motions. You wake up, eat quickly, rush to work evading traffic, grab that cup of coffee, work in your cube (or what have you), clock out, drive home (more traffic), and you’re back where you started from. The weekends may give you some time to recupe, but sometimes that isn’t the case.
“I have responsibilities,” says your inner cop (or super-ego, according to Freud).
“There’s no time for me to relax.”
“I have work to do.”
All of these thoughts can be carried over to vacations or holidays; you can hardly relax. “I have to go do this activity.” “I have to go get souvenirs for family.” On it goes…
This need not be the case!
The reason why you feel tired, demotivated, shame, inferiority, etc., is the result of a compulsion to re-live the same level of tension over and over again.
Why?? Because YOU CAN’T MANAGE TO RELAX!
Again, why? Survival. Your body is in a constant state of tension, whether you realize it or not. From my observations, most people will not acknowledge that they are in a constant state of tension. It’s not that they’re ashamed of telling people, it’s that they are not even aware of it! It’s become a habit, and once something becomes a habit (as you may know from driving a car), your body acts on auto-pilot. The body simply adapts to stress and remains in this homeostatic state.
If you were to measure the level of Autonomic Reactivity in a large sample of a population in the United States, the average might then be considered “normal.” Well, think about it. If normality is a tense organism, then I don’t want to be normal! And neither should you!
Just because something is “average” does not mean it’s healthy.
An overactive nervous system is the reason why the human species continues to cause itself and others pain. This is no longer necessary if you learn (that is, teach your body) how to relax.
Need more reasons why relaxation is important FOR YOU? I think the Good Doctor emphasizes it best:
First and foremost, is the reprogramming of the brain. Sex, in this culture in particular, is still a taboo topic, no matter what you see on the Hollywood scene. More often than not, what you’re seeing there is nothing more than pent-up sadism and masochism, power, control, and negative release. My concern is POSITIVE release, COMPLETE release…freedom – freedom of the whole body to participate in the experience of ecstasy. […] We see our sexuality generalized into all areas of our life – how we interact with ourselves, all of our self-talk, our self-contempt…is no different than our sexual expressions. And we also see that in our interpersonal relationships, as well as our global relationships…of wars, hostilities, violence, and particularly child abuse and spousal abuse.
Brain Change Willed
So the person is under chronic and constant stress, and it’s so chronic and so constant that many of them don’t even know that they’re experiencing it. It’s like getting used to something. […] The process of relieving someone from obsessive compulsive anxiety is essential for enjoying sex and passion, and it also assists in growing new brain fibers from the frontal lobes to the middle brain, which is often called the animal brain or the emotional brain. I’m focusing on these exercises here for individuals and couples who want to have a qualitatively better sexual life and who also want to develop their brain. By doing the exercises you develop your brain, and by developing more cortical control in a healthy way, you will in fact be able to reduce your anxiety… through the fact that you’re able to focus and be more honest with the origin of your anxieties and tensions than the average person. But everyone knows the CDs and the books I write are not for the average person, otherwise I’d be very famous and very wealthy and I could pass on the lies of the quick-fix. The stuff that I teach is not quick-fix. -Dr. C. S. Hyatt, Ph.D., excerpt from the CD Shotgun Tantra from Original Falcon.
How to Teach Your Body to Relax
The first thing to learn is how to breathe. It can be surprising to find out that most people breathe improperly. There are many ways people breathe, and few do it the right way. Here are a few examples:
1. When inhaling, the stomach goes in. When exhaling, the stomach expands.
2. Breathing from the chest only.
3. Breathing from the belly only.
4. Irregular breathing (shortness of breath, strained or shallow breathing, starting and stopping).
Those are all unhealthy breathing patterns, and are a result of chronic tension residing in the body. Since the brain is the body, when tension is transformed into energy through the process of relaxation, your brain also becomes more “flexible.” Don’t be confused by the “mind/body problem” philosophers have been debating for centuries. Modern neuroscience has long ago settled this debate. Your brain is not separate from your body. It is the entire organism that is affected, so your brain will also transform and you will have a greater ability to live in the present moment.
How, you ask? More cortical control -more fibers will grow from the frontal lobes connecting to the mid-brain (the emotional or mammalian “center”). This means more cortical (cortex) control. Emotions will no longer control you to the extent that they do today. Sound too good to be true? While I will say it sounds great, it isn’t as easy as you might think. It takes work, discipline, and repetition. But it can be fun!
Good news! Results are noticeable. Take breathing as an example. Once you learn how to breathe properly, you will find it significantly easier to relax. Learning to breathe rhythmically will take practice, but once you have it down, it becomes second nature.
How to Breathe
Lay down on a bed. Make sure the room is cool. No distractions. These sessions are about you. Privacy is important, so do this in an environment where you won’t be disturbed. Refer to the picture below for proper body position:
Reichian therapy has been practiced by trained therapists for 80 years. Until now the technique was a closely guarded secret being available only to people who went through a multi-year training. In short, until now Reichian therapy has been based on an antiquated guild system of learning. Reichian therapy, as a technique of psychotherapy, is extremely valuable. Unfortunately, Reich linked the technique to an unnecessary and scientifically untenable energy concept. In this presentation of the technique it stands on its own merits and does so in the light of contemporary knowledge of medicine and psychology.
This is the basic posture you should be in when practicing deep breathing. I will give you a short overview on how to breathe properly and leave it for you to go to Jack Willis’ website (once more, http://www.reichiantherapy.info), download the FREE pdf (400+ pages), and go through the exercises. Don’t worry, as this book is designed for the layman. Dr. Jack Willis uses language anyone can understand. Don’t be put off by the number of pages either. Pictures take up a large part of the book. I suggest buying a physical copy of the book, only because it’s easier to flip pages and keep the book next to you for reference. If you’re skeptical about Reichian therapy, I recommend reading the free pdf to get a background on it, and doing the work. Theory is cool, and it may stimulate your imagination, but it won’t do the work for you.
Proper breathing goes like this:
While in the basic posture (your legs should be apart and arms to the side) relax your body. You should only be slightly tensing your legs in order to keep them up. Otherwise, everything else should be relaxed. Keep your mouth open the whole time. Your jaw should be relaxed. You will be breathing from your open mouth. Keep it slightly open (the image does not show this).
As you breathe in through your mouth, allow your belly to balloon out. The key is not to force anything. Simply allow your belly to expand as you inhale through your open mouth.
Your belly should expand first, then your chest. That is the proper order. Belly, then chest.
As you exhale, your belly should fall naturally, and then your chest. So, again…belly, then chest on the exhale.
Of course, it’s not that simple. It will take practice. Even more practice to be able to do this rhythmically. Also, my summary does not do this justice, and doing it accurately will require going through the book. So, don’t be lazy. There’s no need to cheat yourself by ignoring these invaluable techniques.
There is more to the work then breathing properly.
There is a comprehensive body work that must be done – face, pelvis, legs, etc. All of this can be found in the pdf. If you want to do a session, do it only twice per week. This allows your body time to adjust. If at any time your emotions feel out of control, you should take a break from this work. When you’re stable again, proceed. Too much change too fast is never good. However, once per week is the minimum. Twice per week is the maximum. Each session should be 30-60 min. in length. Do not exceed this.
Change takes place as you sleep. You can compare this to working out at the gym, in the sense that you need time to recover, and that is normally when your muscles are at rest. So, don’t rush it. You could do yourself some harm.
When I refer to a session, I mean the sessions laid out in detail within the book and not my brief description on how to perform deep breathing (that is simply the foundation). Go through it slowly, and deep change will occur. You will no longer be lived by your emotions. You will be far more relaxed than the average person, and find yourself capable of dealing with every day life in productive ways. And don’t forget about the sex! I don’t want to go on with any cheesy sales pitch, because this is no quick-fix, and frankly, this is only for the few disciplined individuals….BUT if you want REAL CHANGE, if you want to transform…..GO FOR IT. Do the exercises. Interesting things might happen…