BACK TO HOME
This technique develops relaxation and promotes the experience of internal strength by meditating on the mental mechanics of tensing, then relaxing muscles. Increasing feelings of self-control derive from the very act of deciding to initiate contractions, then to actualize muscular relaxation.
The neurology of muscle dynamics is well known. The impulse for muscle contraction, for example, starts in an area of the brain called the motor cortex of the precentral gyrus. Nerve impulses then course through the spinal cord, eventually interfacing with muscles, which then contract. Muscular relaxation involves another central command utilizing some of the same pathways.
What is less known, however, is the locus of the decision–making area involved in this process. Where - and how - does the very spark of decision to contract a muscle actually take place? This exercise brings out this element of decision-making, developing the locus of one’s executive power.
The gist of this meditation exercise is the expanded awareness of when and how much to tighten your muscles, and when and how fast you decide to relax them. You will then become increasingly cognizant of the process of creating tension and, importantly, of dissolving tension.
Find a comfortable position, sitting or lying down. Take a little time to find a body configuration so that you no longer think about changing your body position.
Gently close your eyes, become aware of your breathing, then direct your awareness to the internal configuration of all the fingers of both hands, the entirety of the hands, and both forearms.
Gently increase the muscular tension in both arms, without moving them. At a certain comfortable level of isometric tension, stop and keep the tension at a plateau for a number of seconds. Meditate on the tension. Associate it with your vital force.
Then, at the slowest rate possible, let go of the tension so that it eventually dissipates completely. Mentally amplify the resulting feelings of relaxation.
Repeat the exercise cycle with the same frequency as exercise # one, above. This exercise can progressively be generalized to involve the entire body.
BACK TO HOME
Gérard V. Sunnen
200 East 33rd St.
New York, NY 10016