In response to this, yoga gives us a complete system of health and wellness. Among its practices is relaxation. Yoga relaxation identifies at three levels i.e. physical, mental and spiritual. Physical relaxation is achieved through the practice of Savasana, which in some Yoga traditions is called Nidra, the yoga of conscious sleep. Relaxation is a practice in itself, which ideally would be part of our daily life, because it is very important to recharge and relax deeply.
It could be defined as a self-induced relaxation. As yoga takes into account the relationship between the body and the mind, the mind uses to send messages relaxing each part of the body, including internal organs and the mind itself. It makes us more present mentally and consciously helps us relax our every centimeter of our body. The mind is alert but calm and the body enters a state close to sleep.
It is also an essential part of yoga asanas, which must always end with a long relaxation of at least 15 minutes to assimilate the practice and recharge the body. It starts in concentration on breathing and meditations and then directs attention to relax each part of the body, until the mind is present but paused. In some traditions, tension is introduced into each body part before beginning to relaxation and the body in response relaxes even more.
The most immediate mental relaxation technique is breathing. Much has been written about the close relationship between the mind and breathing. When breathing is agitated, the mind will also be hectic. So the central method of yoga is to calm the mind back to a slow, rhythmic and deep breathing.
Mental relaxation is also related to the technique of direct our attention to a fixed point, as we do with meditation. This makes our mind avoid confusing and disturbing thoughts. By collecting our senses and concentrate our attention, the first two steps of Raja Yoga meditation, we are only in the present moment and we can enter a state of calmness. We can create distance between us and our minds. Meditation is the deepest state in which we are united to a totality. This is the ultimate relaxation, the spiritual. It is when we stop identifying ourselves with our mind and body, when we transcend the ego and are in pure state of consciousness, back to integration.
You will realize the importance of relaxation in yoga when you start your own practice under the supervision of yoga instructor training Rishikesh.