Relaxation Response

Cedar log, forget-me-nots, cedar tree

Remember how summer felt when you were a kid?!  Ah, the joy of being on summer vacation, released from the routines and schedules of the school year and free to rise and set with the sun!   Each day was a free-flowing experience of the moment.  The sights, smells, sounds, tastes and sensations of the natural world provided the guiding framework for the day.  I remember awakening in my little pink bedroom to the sound of a robin greeting the sunrise.  I floated in and out of sleep, as if that little bird was stitching me into the day.  The smell of the morning air also wafted through my window screen, and eventually nudged me out of bed.  Sometimes I would head straight outside, still in my pajamas, to relish the feel of the soft wet grass, the taste of dewy little wild strawberries.  And finally, the hunger in my belly would send me back inside for breakfast.

When I think back on childhood summers, I am reminded of what true relaxation can feel like:  The joy of working and playing and living in accord with the ebb and flow of the natural world is, for me, the ultimate sense of relaxation and wellness.

As I sit here now, the cool evening air puffs through an open window, carrying with it the sounds of crickets and the spicy scent of the balm of gilead tree.   When I let my breath flow with awareness of the nature that envelopes me, I immediately feel my body relax.  Stress hormones subside, breath slows, heart rate calms, the immune system engages and I notice a feeling of well-being.

Yoga offers us quality time of undivided attention when our outer and inner worlds merge.  Make time every day to relax deeply — preferably in nature — and restore your body’s inner balance…


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