The Importance of Relaxation
When I do the anger management class I usually do a breathing and relaxation exercise within the class. When everyone has checked in and told the stories of the week and if they had any anger, I like to put some emphasis on the usefulness of knowing how to relax completely. This relaxation puts them in touch with the Vegas nerve.
As I said in another blog on Anger Management relating to the Vegas nerve, when we manage to relax completely, the war department, meaning the department of anger, shuts down completely and the Vegas nerve gets in charge of repairing our bodies, digesting food, building up defenses against diseases, among other things. So it is in our own best interest to know how to relax completely.
When I did anger management classes at the Community Services Board for a few years, I always had another person doing the class with me. My friend Tracy had a book of relaxation imagination exercises, which we relied on for relaxation.
We just picked one from the book.
One time my helper was a tall man who worked out and looked marvelous. On that evening, he was chosen to read the relaxation exercise to the group. I choose the longest one in the book, firmly convinced that longer was better and did not have time to read it in advance. As it turned out, this one went through the whole body, suggesting relaxation, even mentioning, I forget now what exact part of the body, but it was unmentionable in a big mixed class of anger management clients.
I kept my eyes closed as I was relaxing, and glossed over the offending words. But he later let me know what color his face turned. We laughed a lot but some trust was lost and I had to read the relaxation exercise after that.
Once a client volunteered at check-in that he had a dream that he was popping pop corn in his kitchen and that it started to fill the whole kitchen. His dream was bandied around the group room as we started up the anger management class filling out room with popping laughter. I suggested he make some popcorn so he could get over that time his wife threw his food into the trashcan. He had angered her, but did not know the reason.
Over the years I have been exposed to many different ways of presenting breathing exercises. Harry brought us through the four square breathing. My understanding of this was to imagine a square shape. Then you could breath in one side of the square to the count of four and breath out across the top of the square for the count of four, and breath in an in breath for the count to four down the far side of the square and an out breath again across the bottom of the square and so on in a rhythmic fashion, staying present to the breathing. The square would occupy the mind enough to let go of other thoughts.
Other ways to pay attention to the breathing is to focus on the nostrils as the air goes in cool and comes out warm. Focus on the back of the chair where the lung cavities push the back against the chair, again gives focus for the mind to be away from the brain and its many thoughts.
It comes to me that breath is mother to us, taking care of us, bringing oxygen into the body, replacing the carbon for oxygen with each breath. There are intricate systems, airways within the body that brings this oxygen into every cell in the body, down into the toes and up into the brain. Without this grand mother we would not be alive. The breath is infused with prana and prana is of God.
We breathe automatically. Paying attention to each breath, taking our awareness into different parts of the body is our privilege. Pain can take the focus of this breath and then change as a result of this focus. I do not want you to think about the pain but rather to go with the breath into that part of the body where the pain resides. It will make a difference that you will see, when you focus there again in a few minutes.
As I tell my clients in my classes, do some breathing and relaxing exercises before sleep and when waking up. You will have no problem finding out about mindfulness breathing and my advice above will get you started.
Dream Therapy Group
I am starting a six week Dream Therapy Group on Thursday nights, starting on the 19thof September, here in Harrisonburg. Let me know if you are interested. It will be a small group and will last ninety minutes, starting at 6pm. Cost will be $10 per class, with sixty dollars payable in advance for the six classes. I look forward to hearing from you. This class will get you started with bringing in the richness of your own unconscious, your own creativeness. It will be a lovely way to not just think of me and my dream work, it will be a way for you to have a window into your own dreams.
You can get one of my dream therapy books at that time for $15 or you can bring your own dream journal. Please bring some markers and or crayons also to the first class as mandala drawing will be included.
Each class will have a different focus, covering the basics, as set out in my dream leaflet. There will be time left over for working directly with your own dreams. I look forward to hearing from you and your desire to work this important element of your unconscious into helping you heal yourself. Love from Rose.