Autogenics means instructions made to yourself by yourself. It focuses attention to one part of the body. The first four sessions of autogenic relaxation should last about 20 minutes. Do not attempt to time check during the session, but make a note to expand or contract the session next day with 20 minutes in mind. Quite soon you will become remarkably adept at timing your autogenics. In these early sessions breathing should be natural and not in any way stylized or controlled.
a. To achieve the relaxation response choose a comfortable body position and a quiet place (see page 9), and note the time you start. Add a mantra component by saying to yourself, ‘I’m relaxed and at peace with myself.’ Repeat five times.
b. Then focus mentally on your right arm, concentrating on how heavy it feels. RELAXING YOGA POSE NAMES Indulge yourself in this feeling of heaviness. When obtrusive outside thoughts intrude repeat the mantra and concentrate again on heaviness. After a few minutes move your attention to the left arm, again going back to the mantra when concentration wanders.
c. Gradually move to other ‘heavy’ areas: legs, head, 20 shoulders, and finally pelvis. To start with the mantra will be used quite frequently.
Move on to Day Two regime only when you are ready to. Nothing is gained by hurry in these experiences.
All groups participate in the same training regime on Day Two, so fundamental is this breathing technique to learning how to relax. Group 1 usually learn this breathing technique best in a lying position.
Before teaching the breathing technique, I first get novices to learn what a four-second breath feels like. It is a four-second breath in, and a four-second breath out. This must be practised a few times by the clock until memory makes it automatic. The timing is important because it is the basis of all subsequent breathing techniques.
Most people have confused ideas about deep breathing and equate it with chest expansion and effort. In fact, deep and rapid breathing is known to generate tension and may provide unpleasant panic attacks. The type of breathing necessary for the relaxation response is nothing like this. Already on Day