We all know that relaxation is good for our health – body and mind. Many of us have ideas about how to relax: We watch TV, go for a walk, read a book, go on holiday, lie beside the pool, go for a drink, or go to the cinema. But what is relaxation actually? True relaxation means no tension in the body and a peaceful, calm, state of mind.
If you close your hand into a tight fist you can say this is tension in the body. How do you relax this tension in your hand? The most effective way is simply to open your hand gently, soften, and let go of the tension.
However although this may seem obvious this is not what we do. Instead of actually relaxing the physical body, we have an idea about what relaxation is. For example, we think “I’ll chill out and watch TV tonight”. And when we fulfil that idea we think we have relaxed. Have you ever noticed how you actually feel after watching TV for five hours? More relaxed? Try it and see. What you will discover if you didn’t already know is that the body becomes stiff and sore or sluggish, and depending on the entertainment, the mind is in a state of lethargy, boredom or excitement. Not exactly relaxation!
In order to really relax the body we have to feel it. See how it feels and learn how to open out, soften and let go of the tension we hold.
To truly attain a peaceful, calm state of mind we have to stop thinking. But when do you ever stop thinking? Even in sleep we are dreaming! Some of us cannot even get to sleep, or wake up often because there is something on our mind, or thinking is in overdrive. The harder you try to stop thinking the worse it becomes.
If you equate your thinking mind to the engine of your car, what would happen if your car engine was running for 24 hours or more? It would overheat and burn out in a very short time. Amazing, then, how our bodies survive year after year without burning out.
Some of us do in fact experience breakdown and burnout. Most of the rest of us experience wear and tear, disease or illness, aches and pains, structural imbalances, lines and wrinkles, and other symptoms as time goes on.
So how do you switch off the thinking mind? In fact it’s a nearly impossible task. What you can do is learn how to stop feeding the thoughts and help settle them down. This can be achieved through a series of simple, gentle exercises. Practised daily these exercises can help you soften and relax the physical body and settle down the thinking mind to a state of calm and peace.
These exercises are known as Chaoyi Fanhuan Qigong (CFQ) and were developed by Master Yap Soon Yeong from Malaysia. Sharon O’Boyle from GanPian Acupuncture and Massage Clinic, Castlebar, has trained with Master Yap for over six years and is a qualified instructor of CFQ. She teaches individuals in her clinic and is also available to teach interested groups. For more information she can be contacted at 086 833 3044.