You have now reached the end of your instructional course, and you should use Day Ten to decide exactly which of all the different procedures you have experienced suited you best. I do not want to dictate at this stage or make up your mind for you as to how you can most effectively plan your individual 30-minute-a-day programme, but from what others have said, and from personal experience, I would suggest that the following could act as a template for you to work to. However, you are the only person who knows and feels instinctively which way you should go.
Having got your relaxation response well and truly tailor-made for you, do not be surprised to find it change gradually with practice. Suddenly you will be feeling, ‘that really works for me’ or ‘I don’t think this routine is helping much. Expect this to happen. It is evidence of your inner self talking to you perhaps for the first time in years. Learn to trust your feelings and instincts in this way. All that I have been trying to do for you is to unlock the doors of your own private relaxation therapy centre. Then you can stroll through the treatment rooms and settle in the one or two that make you feel good – really good and relaxed and at one with yourself.
Material that will act as a backdrop to the whole process of the relaxation response is dealt with later in this book. Already you may have been tempted to look ahead. And before you pick your final routine it might be worthwhile to read the rest of this book now, but if you do not want to get into the subject any more deeply then that is up to you and what you know now is quite workable and acceptable. Many hundreds of people have found the relaxation response they need by using only the information imparted so far.
When we started on Day One we had to begin somewhere, and as our self-selected group is composed of basically practical and energetic people we started with a yoga-type exercise and later moved on to synchronizing this with pendulum breathing. Now in your final programme one way of proceeding is as follows.
1. Stand, stretch and breathe
Start off with Stand, stretch and breathe, concentrating as much on the breathing as on the exercise. Leg balance and breathe was really designed to underline the difference in feeling between tension/strain and relaxation/comfort. It can usefully be omitted from a daily programme, but perhaps returned to from time to time.
Once the feeling of being tall is with you, many people in this group will find it helps to proceed to the Aeroplane exercises on Day Two. About five minutes should suffice.
3. Sit and stretch
Then Sit and stretch (Day Four), dropping your head and trunk into the space between your knees in time
with your pendulum breathing. After four or five, sit for a few breaths concentrating on the relaxation contrast of your experience.
4. Press-ups and chest twist
If you are young and energetic take up Day Four Press-ups, followed by Chest twists. If you are not so energetic move straight on to 5.
5. Bhadrasana or Virasana
Repeat the yoga-type poses that you tried on Day Six. Many people find the Bhadra pose – sitting upright with knees bent and splayed outwards – the most effective of the poses described. (Incidentally, it is the most common pose in oriental statuary.) For those whose personal anatomy makes external rotation of the thighs at the hip joints difficult, Virasana – the kneeling pose – can be useful.
6. Sarvangasana and Rocking
Many people will find that they can switch to relax quickly and easily by taking up a yoga pose without any preliminaries, and students can indeed leave the yoga component of their relaxation programme at just this point. Others, more energetic and more supple, may proceed to the Sarvangasana (leg high; Day Six) pose and the Rocking exercise detailed on Day Eight, before ending their 15-minute session in the yoga style.