Guided relaxation

Relaxation mask for the eyes in natural speltDiscover in this article the guided relaxation. What are the origins of this practice, what are its health and mental benefits, what is the difference between the different types of relaxation and its link with yoga. Finally, if this practice attracts you, we offer you a session at the bottom of the article! Discover
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  1. What is guided relaxation
  2. What are the origins of this practice?
  3. What are its benefits?
  4. What is the difference between a simple relaxation practice and a guided relaxation
  5. How to integrate guided relaxation into a yoga session?
  6. Guided relaxation video

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What is guided relaxation?

Guided relaxation is a technique of well-being, physical and mental relaxation allowing the release of tensions of the whole body and mind. Exercises are set up to become aware of one’s body and thoughts.

There are different breathing and visualization exercises:

Breathing soothes, regulates the heartbeat and brings overall relaxation.

Visualization is an effective escape from the stresses of everyday life.

The permanent preoccupations, the tensions, the stress or the daily agitation invade our body and our spirit and saturate them until fatigue and sometimes exhaustion. Guided relaxation will install a deep relaxation and bring a release within our mind and body of all these negative elements. Thanks to the guided relaxation sessions, tensions, stress, mental and physical fatigue decrease until they disappear.

yogi on the floor on a woolen yoga mat in savasana relaxation posture with bolster under the knees

Relaxation is an excellent tool to recover all the energy and resources that are present in us.

In a guided relaxation session, we are not asleep, we remain aware of what surrounds us and what we feel in order to enter into a deep relaxation. The whole body and brain relax completely in full consciousness. The body is more relaxed. Our mind becomes clearer and thoughts are more fluid and calm.

Guided relaxation also works after the session. It allows us to better control certain stressful situations and to better manage our emotions.

young woman in restorative yoga posture lying on the floor with bolster under the knees and second bolster along the spine

What are the origins of guided relaxation?

Guided relaxations have many origins and there are all kinds of them around the world. They come from Eastern and Western traditions. There are relaxations that come from Yoga, meditation methods, Buddhism and other age-old traditions.

Western relaxations began in the early 20th century mainly in the medical and psychological fields. In 1910, Professor Johannes Heinrich Schultz, a German neurologist and psychiatrist, developed a method based on autosuggestion called “Autogenic Training”. It is a therapeutic relaxation technique inspired by Hatha Yoga and self-hypnosis. In 1928, Professor Edmund Jacobson, an American physician, developed another approach based on physiology and less on psychology, called physiological psychotherapy. In his approach, the muscular tone is improved in order to act on the psychic tone and the emotions.

yogini lying on the floor in relaxation posture with the yogom bolster under her feet

It is from the 1960’s onwards that more traditional relaxations (such as those coming from Yoga or meditation) become popular in Europe.

In these years, the benefits of relaxation techniques on stress reduction were discovered and physical tensions. It was then that relaxation became popular with the general public to bring a general well-being.

The origins and evolution of relaxation are very rich and even more vast and there would be much more to say about them.

What are the benefits of guided relaxation?

The benefits of relaxation are numerous, both on the psychological and physical levels.

On the psychic level:

Guided relaxation reduces stress and allows for better stress management on a daily basis (like meditation). Regularly doing a relaxation session allows you to have clear thoughts and ideas. In the long term, this allows you to better manage your decisions by taking a step back from certain situations. Relaxation is a practice that allows better concentration, better learning and better memorization.

Guided relaxation is also a wonderful practice for managing emotions (anxiety, anger, fear, sadness, anxiety). In our daily lives, certain emotions invade us without us having the tools to better control them and in this context, guided relaxation is a precious help.

On the physical side:

Guided relaxation helps release muscle and joint tension that traps the body. In everyday life, thanks to relaxation, the body becomes more relaxed. Body movements become more fluid and easier. The body is freed from physical blockages. The body finds all its energy.

Relaxation helps to improve the quality of sleep by reducing sleep disorders and insomnia.

Guided relaxation improves overall health.


What is the difference between a simple relaxation and a guided relaxation?

In a simple relaxation (understand unguided), you apply various methods of relaxation. However, you won’t necessarily know if the exercises or techniques you are applying are well executed. Some elements, such as breath work, require special attention. Indeed, when practicing alone, it is difficult to realize if you are applying the different techniques correctly. For all these reasons, it is very likely that by being accompanied by a professional in the field you will achieve a relaxation with more pronounced benefits. Guided relaxation consists of being guided by a relaxation professional who will accompany you throughout the session to achieve a deep relaxation. Step by step the breathing and visualization exercises will allow you to let go. The exercises of visualizations which will be proposed to you are studied to find the interior calm. The teacher will help you to place your breathing so that it is slow and deep. Through muscle relaxation exercises you will see your body tensions reduced.

yoga mat mandala purple natural rubber

How to integrate guided relaxation into a yoga session?

You can integrate a relaxation session at the beginning and end of your yoga session. If you don’t have a lot of time, I suggest you integrate it at the end of your yoga session.

Putting a relaxation at the beginning of the Yoga session allows to install the body and mental relaxation to begin gently the Yoga postures. This allows us to begin to evacuate negative thoughts, to calm the mind and to install a concentration for the execution of the postures. Guided relaxation allows you to become aware of your body and your breathing. This will help you to connect to each part of your body to better feel them during the yoga session.

To add a relaxation at the end of the session is very interesting to add a deeper work of relaxation.

Guided relaxation videos

I propose you a guided relaxation session on this video

Learn more about this relaxation and how to set up on Lynda’s website

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To go further in the techniques of relaxation, you can consider practicing meditation and even guided meditation. There are also meditation exercises with music, the music will help you focus on a particular element to have a better self-awareness. These techniques will have similar effects on your stress and emotional management but are different in their approach and should be considered as a full session meditation.

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