Progressive relaxation is the foundation for all the benefits that mindfulness has to offer. Progressive relaxation simply means that the ability to relax is a learnable skill at which you can improve with practice over time.
Physical tension is always a contributing factor to stress and anxiety. Personally, I believe it’s the driving force. Whenever you are stressed out, your brain is telling your body to tense up at a level that is currently deeper than your conscious control. Practicing mindfulness empowers you to regain conscious awareness and ultimately control over how you respond to your life and world.
When you truly change on one level (physical, emotional or mental), you change on all levels. For you to become more mentally clear, your physical body must become more relaxed and your emotions more fluid.
For this reason, our program focuses on guiding your body into deeper states of relaxation. Because the physical is the most concrete of all three realms, we strongly believe this to be an effective approach. To be clear: this program also addresses the mental and emotional aspects of change as well.
Negativity vs. Positivity
Whenever you think a negative thought (“I’m not good at this”) or feel an unpleasant feeling (“I’m so angry at her”), you tense up your body. When thinking a positive thought or feeling a positive feeling, you relax your body. Practicing mindfulness diminishes your ability to hold unpleasant feelings inside and expands your capacity to allow positive feelings to fl ow through you.
Wood, Fire, Smoke
We compare physical tension to wood, emotional blockages to fi re, and racing thoughts to smoke. If you’d like to clear the smoke (quiet your mind), take the wood out of the fi re (release your physical tension).
Cardiovascular exercise (running, swimming) gives you leaner muscles. Strength training (weight lifting, resistance workouts) gives you bigger muscles. Energetic fi tness gives you more relaxed muscles.
Forms of energetic fitness include meditation, yoga, massage, acupuncture, qigong, breath work and more. Energetic fitness relaxes and oxygenates your body and improves your circulation.
In chemistry, whenever a bond is broken, energy is given off. The same holds for breaking bonds of tension in your body. Tension drains your body’s life force energy. Releasing tension frees energy up so you can direct it towards your personal and professional goals.