In the Yoga Sutras including https://www.julianalucky.com/post/9-ways-to-practice-mindfulness-with-kids of Patanjali it is said: asana is a motionless and comfortable posture, which is achieved by stopping effort or focusing on the infinite. It turns out that there should be no tension in the asana. If you tell the practitioner about this, especially while performing Chaturanga Dandasana or Hanumanasana, then some will laugh, and some will be perplexed, since everyone feels the tension. Tension arises because energy does not pass through the body, namely, it does not move freely. And this happens not only during the performance of asanas. The disturbance in the movement of energy and the stress associated with it is always present, we simply do not realize it in our everyday life, but during the practice of asanas it rises to the surface. In order to reduce tension and discomfort in asanas, you need to relax more. But how is this possible?
Tension and excessive muscle hypertonicity is a response to stimulation from the central nervous system. Our mind regards the muscle tension that occurs when performing asanas as a critical situation, believing that we are going to harm ourselves. On the one hand, he does everything so that we do not die: makes the heart beat faster, increases the amount of glucose and hormones in the blood, quickens breathing; on the other hand, it creates a sense of panic in order to make us stop this self-torture immediately. Therefore, first of all, the mind should be relaxed. Which is not as easy as it seems. First, you need to establish control over your mind. After all, yoga is, first of all, the discipline of the mind, and only then the discipline of the body.
Next, we need to learn to disidentify with the sensations of pain, discomfort and tension, not to allow them to take over consciousness. We are not our sensations. Gradually, we learn to observe them from the sidelines. This skill in the future will allow us not to identify with many other things in life: with resentment, anger, regret, anxiety, worry, etc. This is Pratyahara – the distraction of the senses from their objects – the fifth step of Patanjali’s eightfold yoga.
Previous physical activity promotes deeper and faster relaxation. Holding any strength asanas for a few minutes will help you achieve the relaxation you need. If we want to achieve greater relaxation of the body during Shavasana or before stretching asanas, then we can first perform Urdhva Chaturanga Dandasana, Navasana, Shalabhasana. If it is necessary to achieve relaxation of any one muscle group, you can not strain the whole body, but only load these muscles. If we cannot relax the whole body at once, then we try to relax individual muscle groups in turn, starting with the smallest and gradually capturing the larger ones. Even when almost all the muscles of the body are involved in the asana, you can always relax your face, tongue, throat, and sometimes your hands. For example, smiling in Hanumanasan and Samakonasana. Sounds weird? In fact, a smile relaxes the face and relieves tension not only of the muscles, but also on the psycho-emotional level. It also helps to fix attention on the part of the body that we want to relax and perform deep breaths and exhalations, with the visualization of the fact that the air goes out through this part of the body and goes out, releasing tension. It almost always works.
Relaxation triggers deep regeneration processes in psychosomatics, and as a result, the body self-heals.
If we learn to be aware of and control tension, to quickly and effectively relax in asanas, we will be able to master complex asanas qualitatively and expand our practice, as well as transfer this skill into our daily life, thanks to which we will be less tired, have more time and feel better.