In this article, I will show you one simple and very refreshing psycho-hygiene technique.
It will bring you release and help you be aware of the difference between tension and release. Sometimes, over-using some body part and being in permanent tension causes our disability to even feel the relaxed state within that part, because tension became “normal” form this part, although it may cause many problems in particular instrumental technique, tiredness and discomfort.
This tension may not come just from overplaying, much physical work or one-sided motions that come with particular technique practice, but also from stress and anxiety. We sometimes compensate our stress reactions by bodily tension in some parts of the body. One simple example, imagine some person you are afraid of or a place bound with stress – might be some teacher from school or can be some class at school…try to imagine how does your body reacts when meting this person entering such area – do your muscles stay relaxed? Is your face still calm? Do you breathe normally? Do stand upright? If you do not know now, try to detect it other time you will meet somebody who reminds some stress or enter stress area, be aware of how your body reacts and for long the reaction stays within you if you do not release it consciously.
The problem is, that this tension usually stays in the body so even the stress remains inside us. Sometimes, you may not experience any huge challenges or stress situations but you feel in tension anyway. The cause can be “just” the bodily tension. The tension stays within your body, causes discomfort and influences your complex psychosomatic state.
As you see, the tension comes always from both sides – body and mind, inside and outside. Because body and mind system is basically one closely bound and cooperating unit, then every tension and stress, no matter , where does it come from for now, influences the “other side”.
In the following exercise, you will be trying to relax all the parts of your body, but in full awareness of your mind. Therefore, while training this technique, you will slowly learn to:
- be aware of your stres and tension levels
- be aware of body-mind connection in both stress and release
- detect inadequate tension within body areas
- lead the areas consciously to release
- release within playing the instrument
- cope with stress situations more efficiently
Now let’s move to our psycho-hygiene technique!
Find a quiet place where you can stay alone. Lie down on the floor with hands next to your body. Take out everything that would disturb your relaxation (glasses, any metal things, bracelets…). Do not turn any music on!
Close your eyes, start breathing and deepening your breath, as you already learned it from previous articles. When you feel relaxed enough, start concentrating on separate parts of your body and check the release within them. Start with your feet and fingers on your feet. Say to yourself silently in mind: “My feet are relaxed.” and concentrate on that part of the body. Continue this way with parts of your body suggested on the picture below. Check everything just in your mind. In case you are not sure that the part is relaxed, move it, push or raise a tension in it and then relax it. Once you are done, lie down couple more minutes and just try to feel the absolute release in your body. Then “wake up” and sit down.
Parts of the body you should concentrate on during body scanning:
Always start with your sentence as described above – “My…is relaxed.” One by one, relax following parts of your body:
1. Feet, fingers on your feet 2. Knees 3. Thighs 4. Hips, Buttocks 5. Stomach 6. Back7. Shoulders. 8. Arms 9. Palms and fingers 10. Front neck 11. Mouth muscles, Jaws. 12. Face
13. Skin on your skull – under your hair
Rule for waking up:
If you train during the day, wake yourself up by “warm up” not to feel dizzy or asleep. How this warm up should be? Very simple, short, but dynamic! Yet when you lie down, open your eyes and make a “pumping motion” with your arms straight to your thorax. You will make the blood faster. You can also stretch whole your body while lying.
CAREFUL! If you train in the evening and then you do not need to work, play or concentrate, then do NOT wake up! You would not fall asleep well. This exercise can help you fall asleep, so train scanning when you are in bed, but do not
How often to exercise?
Optimal frequency for training is once a day. When to train? After practice time or during long practice break, before sleep.
Although this method is very simple and safe, be careful of contraindications not to cause yourself a problem!
- Mental disorders, Schizophrenia
- Feeling “out of your body” or other dissociation of your-self Trauma
- Any more serious health problem (…train the technique after consulting with your doctor)
- Alcohol consumption
- Full stomach
- Do not operate machines, dangerous tools or do any activity requiring your full concentration straight after relaxation.
- If any unpleasant feeling, moment or experience occurs, stop your training.