Deep Relaxation Techniques as taught in the Yoga class, usually start at the superficial level of tense and relax; in order to release muscular tension. Much more difficult is the release of emotional tensions which run much deeper, often originating in early childhood and sometimes from inherited ancestral trauma. Many day to day emotional upsets can be managed by calming the breath, in order to calm the emotions. At much deeper levels there can be an accumulation of emotional experiences that become an ocean of unresolved hurt, which when tapped, open emotional floodgates difficult to control. Ideally the Yogi has a calm disposition, and is able to take control when faced with difficulties. This control comes from understanding oneself and developing a calm inner watchfulness when faced with many of the traumas experienced in life.
The yogic ideal of Self control is not achieved by allowing oneself to become emotionally entangled and caught up in all that the mind and emotions present to us, but rather trusting the conscious or intuitive self, which stands apart, and has a wider perspective and vision of the eternal. The central Self or observer does not have to dive in and become entangled in the difficulties presented to it; as by remaining detached it will remain open to a greater range of response possibilities.
Emotional surges, whatever the trigger, can carry us along like twigs in a fast running stream, often to our detriment. Regaining control is by the use of words and clearly verbalising to ourselves how we feel. The causes and background to emotional turbulence is often fuelled by injustices reaching back to childhood. Just as a cyclone or whirling energy system has a still centre, so does the Yogi, and it is to this centre he endeavours to return. The conscious use of the mind to analyse our experiences is not unlike the use of a fine sieve to sort out the real from the unreal and add to our storehouse of wisdom.
Deep relaxation techniques do not only release surface tensions but can also bring to light many suppressed fears and tensions. The technique familiar to those who practise Yoga Nidra consists in introducing pictograms once body and mind are relaxed. These pictograms appear to run contrary to what is calming and relaxing, such as imagining one’s own funeral, a hangman’s noose, or a prison cell. These random images often trigger associated suppressed fears, which if brought to the surface and into the full light of consciousness, can be replaced with love and forgiveness.
Suppressed fears are not unintelligent as they are reminders of much of the dangers we need to avoid. It is the irrational fear that keeps playing its old tune, where no danger is present, that is best released and made conscious, to be analysed and replaced with intelligence and understanding.