relaxation is self preservation
Relaxation Is Self-Preservation

Flying High

The dance form that I do is called contact Improv.
It is ridiculously fun and can be very physical.

We often do a lot of lifting.
We lift each other on our backs
in our arms and even
up onto our shoulders.

Recently I was dancing with my friend Mike
and he had lifted me right up onto his shoulder.

I was flying high and having quite a good time
when all of a sudden my balance shifted,
his shifted as well and I started to fall.

Heading for a Crash

Falling from a height of six feet
to a hard wooden floor
is not a fun experience.

Well the falling can be fun,
But the landing hurts!

Because of my martial arts and dance experience
I can survive such a fall, but it still not my preference.

An Excellent Catch

Just as I was about halfway down
Mike adjusted his body and
in a brilliant moment of instinctive movement
he caught me on his back
and saved me from a few bruises.

I gave out a loud
Woohoo
and congratulated him
on his amazing save.

Surprised by the Relaxation

He then made the following comment to me.
He said:
“You know Vivek, I think pretty much
anyone else that I dance with would have
tensed up at the moment of the fall.

Especially as it was such a surprising and
dangerous moment, most people’s reaction
is to create tension in their mind and body.”

He said it was quite interesting to notice that
I completely relaxed and went with it
rather than tensing and resisting.

My immediate response was
Relaxation Is Self-Preservation

Because of my training,
especially in the martial arts
my natural reaction is to
relax in the midst of danger.

I have learned very well that
if somebody is punching me or
throwing me violently to the ground,
any tension in my body translates into injury.

Tension Slows Us Down

It slows down my reaction time,
gives my opponent something to use against me
and creates areas of blockages
that prevent the impact from flowing
smoothly through my body.

The more I relax, the quicker I can react
and the less of a negative impact the impact has!

I believe the same must be true
with mental, emotional and spiritual danger.

In all three of these other areas of our lives
when we experience danger, attack or violent impact
if we are able to relax our mind, our spirit and our body
we will be more able to react and
deal appropriately with the situation.

Mental Tension

Mental tension makes it difficult to think clearly.
It makes it difficult to understand
the different aspects of a situation.

It also makes it very challenging
to take on new ideas.
Especially ones that contradict
our habitual ways of thinking.

This can cause us to become very resistant
to entertaining new ways of thinking.

Emotional Tension makes empathy
and connection with others very difficult.
It can actually make it feel dangerous.

It also makes one more
vulnerable to emotional attack.
Certainly if we are receiving someone else’s anger
and we also tense up it makes it
much easier for them to control us.

Emotional tension also brings
our triggers closer to the surface.
When we are relaxed emotionally,
centered in self-love and self-confidence
then it is easier for us to protect ourselves
without having to unnecessarily lash out
and hurt other people.

Again we are able to deal with
the impact much more effectively.

Spiritual Tension

Being spiritually relaxed means
being in the state of flowing
with the currents of life.

Life will always have its ups and downs,
like the waves on the ocean.
Sometimes the surface of the ocean is very calm
and sometimes it is powerfully violent.

Deep beneath the surface there is mostly stillness.

Operating from the depths is what
spiritual relaxation is about.

In this state we can see the fact that
different circumstances of our lives,
the large waves and the small ones
are all simply from the same ocean.

When we are aware of this
we also know that the Ocean is us
then we are able to stay in the flow.

Relaxation on Every Level is Beneficial

So it seems that learning to relax
on all the levels of our being
can be very beneficial to us.

It is certainly something that I practice
and strive to achieve on a daily basis.

Breath can Help Us to Relax in the midst of Chaos

One common thread I have found in relaxation
through all four levels I have mentioned here,
physical, mental, emotional and spiritual,
is the breath.

When I find myself experiencing tension
I focus on my breath and let it flow through me.
This always helps me to relax
and bring my awareness back
to the present moment.

So the next time you find yourself
getting tense in a situation
breathe,
breathe deeply
and remind yourself that

Relaxation Is Self-Preservation

Relaxation Is Self-Preservation

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