The Art Of Relaxation
( Originally Published 1930 )
"Walk in the rhythm of life;
Perfect relaxation is an art and one which everyone should know and be able to practice at will, both physically and mentally. Mind and body both require periods of rest or recreation as much as they need sleep. Frequently a change of occupation will rest the body; a change of thought will rest the mind. Relaxation, like rest and repose, builds up the pliability leading to stamina and alertness.
Action and Reaction Are Equal
All creatures require a period of rest for readjustment following a period of activity; one follows the other as day follows night. Man obeys the law of rhythmic periodicity of alternate action and reaction quite naturally, but without giving it much thought. The Indians of antiquity were not so matter-of-course they sought to understand the values of such an exact law and its application to themselves. They recognized the fact that the body does not blindly run itself but is subject to certain laws and forces which act in harmony with each other. They realized also that physical and mental harmony are possible only when the conditions are right and life is conducted in accordance with
Nature and immutable law. So, with them, relaxation and rest came to have as much significance as their activities. Hence the Indian system of physical education allows for those necessary periods of relaxation both in the exercises themselves and in the parts of the body employed during the various movements. It provides for rhythmic periods of action and relaxation and for the systematic use of certain muscles with the relaxation of certain other muscles at the same time. This makes both work and exercise much easier for their accomplishment is without strain or unnecessary tensing. It teaches the great art of relaxing at will.
Make Life Easier
All work and no play is devitalizing. All play and no work is demoralizing. A happy combination of the two is essential to normal living. Constant "driving" of oneself or "going on one's nerves" will inevitably result in shattered nerves, disease, or mental deficiency. "For every period of intense effort the mind must be compensated by a similar period of relaxation." * A life of pleasure-seeking inhibits the growth of character, it stunts the growth of mind. Some people work harder seeking pleasure and amusement than the day-laborer in a ditch. The penalty is more severe than from overwork. It spells spiritual death. Mind and will must be used in order to truly live.