Subtle Body Relaxation
An uncontrolled mind is our worst enemy and a controlled mind is our best friend. An unbridled and overworked mind is the cause of stress, anxiety, tension, depression, ulcers, and innumerable other ailments. Often, mental activity reaches the state where one keeps thinking while eating, sitting, standing, and walking, etc. If the mind can be taught to relax, one can find relief from most ailments.
Cause of disease described in Yog Vasisht
The scripture, Yog Vasisht, describes a discussion between Shree Ram, and the sage Vasisht. When Lord Ram saw disease afflicting the people of His kingdom, He was moved by pity, and asked His teacher about the cause of disease. Vasisht explained that firstly the mind becomes disturbed due to negative thoughts, such as thoughts of anxiety, hatred, tension, regret, remorse, lamentation, etc. This causes a disturbance at the level of the pranas, or life airs. This manifests in the next stage in the physical body, as disease. Hence, if we wish to cure disease from the root, we must address the mind.
Subtle body relaxation is powerful technique of mind management, and is one of the most important parts of Jagadguru Kripalu Yog. It not only provides ultimate relaxation to the gross and subtle bodies, but also revitalizes them both. And, since the mind is applied to the Divine realm, it gets purified by meditation on God. From the physical viewpoint, the subtle body relaxation technique is as beneficial as all the yogasans and pranayams put together. From the spiritual viewpoint, it brings about true “Yog” or union with God.
This relaxation technique is practiced in stages. Firstly, you have to lie down in Shavasan posture. Then, you have to relax your body and not move any part of it. The next stage is to develop sensations within your body. Then, you will make a firm resolve to meet God in the manner of your choice. In the final stage, we proceed to take our subtle body to the Divine realm.
There are three stages in every subtle body relaxation exercise.
Stage 1: Preparation
Lie down in Shavasan posture, keeping your hands on the ground with the palms facing upward, towards the sky. A gap of 1 foot should be maintained between your feet. Keep your eyes closed and preferably, an eye shade, handkerchief or a piece of cloth should be used to cover your eyes completely. This is to avoid disturbing factors such as light, insects, etc. from disturbing your concentration.
Place your neck, hands, torso, waist and limbs in a comfortable position so that you will not need to adjust them later due to any discomfort or pain. Keep your eyes closed till the end; use a cloth if needed. Your breathing should be normal and rhythmic. Stop all movements in your body.
Relax your entire body. There should be no tension or tightness in any part of the body. Relax the toes of your feet. Let them free and loose. Relax your ankles and your lower limbs. Relax your knees and your thighs. Relax your waist or hips. Relax your stomach muscles and then your chest. Completely relax your fingers and your arms. Free your shoulders as much as your can. Relax your neck and finally your face. Relax all the muscles in your face and forehead. Now, your complete body is totally relaxed.
We will now experience various sensations in the body. Develop the feeling that your body is getting heavier. Develop the feeling that the weight of every part of your body is increasing, and your body is slowly sinking into the ground. Be aware of the contact between your body and the ground.
Now, develop the opposite sensation. Feel that your body is becoming light. It is slowly becoming weightless and soon you can see yourself levitating in the air! You have now lost all your heaviness and now feel lighter than a dry leaf. Enjoy this feeling for while.
Now, leave your body on the ground. Watch it from a few feet above and observe it lying calm and still. It is such a strange feeling! You are awake but your body is lying down below. It is like looking in the mirror. Look at your own body from head to toe. Look at your head. Look at your face. Observe your neck. Observe your shoulders. Watch your arms. Watch your hands. Watch your chest. Look at your stomach. Look at your hips. See your thighs. See your knees. Watch your feet. Observe your entire body from toes to head.
Your body has now become transparent. Look within your body. You are able to see the various organs functioning within your body. You can see your heart pumping blood. The blood is running in the veins and arteries throughout your body. Your lungs are breathing in and out; their muscles are expanding and contracting.
Your body is in perfect health, glowing with light and positive energy rays. Physically and spiritually, you are feeling rejuvenated.
Stage 2: Meditation
1. Meeting God
Now, resolve firmly that you would like to meet God today. Pray to your Spiritual Master for his Grace, to enable you to fulfil this resolution. Also, resolve strongly that you will stay attentive and not fall asleep.
Imagine that your body is beginning to fly. You are experiencing this in your subconscious mind. Magically, you are lifted off your feet and you are now rising up in the air. Look down and see the people lying in shavasan on the floor. Soar up, watch the clouds roll by and you roll with them. Keep climbing higher and enjoy the silence. The vast expanse of mother earth, the never ending sheet of clouds and the surreal horizon. Your city now resembles a match box from above. The glowing sun washes your face with its gleaming rays. Your flight intercepts the path of birds, who are amused to see a unique creature emulate the flight of Icarus. Smile at the birds and continue to fly. It is such a perfect day and it is now imminent that you are going to meet your beloved and revered Guru.
High up in the sky, you sight your Guru appear from a cloud ahead of you. Your heart leaps with joy at his gracious presence and you prostrate at his lotus feet. Place your head softly on his feet and pray to him, Oh! My beloved and revered Gurudev! Please take me to God’s abode as I yearn to meet him today. All I want is a fleeting glance. Your Guru blesses you with his hands on your head. He is now leading you further into the skies. The turquoise blue skies seem to reach beyond the heavens and there is not a speck in the skyline.
You are now breaking the forces of gravity and zooming past the stratosphere. A great event awaits you as your Guru ji takes you beyond the outer edges of your galaxy. You are now seeing hundreds of other galaxies flashing before you. Is this Star Wars! How strange they look with the naked eye. You are now headed for Golok, Shree Krishna’s Divine abode and your heart races in anticipation of the Divine meeting. As you draw closer, you can see a glow in the distance. This must be Golok Dham. You slow down and come to a stop.
Imagine that you have now reached the Divine abode of Golok. Like a beacon on an abandoned coast, Golok illuminates everything in all directions. You enter inside, anxious to see the sights. The Divine Yamuna flows majestically through lush green fields and serene ponds dot the place. Every thing you see is an eternal part of Radha Rani. Even the leaves seem to chant the name of Radha Rani with every breath.
Remember your oath. You had prayed to your Gurudev to help you meet God today. Not too far away, you can hear the melodic sound of a flute being played and it is undoubtedly Shree Krishna. The bewitching melody increases your anxiety to meet Shyam Sundar. Your Gurudev is now leading you towards your Soul-Beloved, past the Divine trees. Every tree chants the name, “Radhey Radhey”.
As you walk eagerly, you arrive at an open area. On the other side, Tribhangilal Shyam Sundar, Murali Manohar is standing under the Kadamb tree. You heart skips a bit at His very sight and you are now seeing His wonderful form. Your eyes begin to admire His bluish colour and His beautiful crown made of peacock feathers, perched so perfectly on His tender head. He is also looking at you. Desiring to get closer to him, you leave your Gurudev’s hands and rush towards Shyam Sundar’s feet and prostrate. Embrace His feet and hold them in your arms, as this is the moment you have been waiting for, since many lifetimes.
Overwhelmed with love for Shree Krishna, tears of joy run down your face. They seem to flow down gently and cleanse the feet of Lord Krishna. All this while, you are holding the Lord’s feet close to your chest. Pray to Him fervently, “Oh Lord! Please make me a speck of dust that sticks to Your feet all the time. I am an eternal part of You and my mistakes have led me astray in this materialistic world. I have now realised that Your love and service is my only goal. Oh! Shyam Sundar, please have mercy on me and grace me so that I will be with Your forever in Your abode.”
Shree Krishna is holding you in His arms, as He helps you stand up. You are now looking at Him closer than ever, and your eyes fall prey to His mesmerising gaze, melting your heart in an instant. You have never felt this way before and your heart races for your Beloved. Every inch of Shree Krishna’s presence overflows with love for His devotees and realizing this fact, you feel closer to him. You are now admiring everything about Shree Krishna. His beautiful blue skin, the peacock feather crown, the little ear rings dancing at His slightest movement.
Unable to resist the temptation, you embrace Shree Krishna. This is the greatest and the finest moment of your entire existence! Tears run down your face, as Shree Krishna consoles you. You feel the biggest of burdens being taken off your chest. The love of your life is in your arms, what else can you ask for? You are now weeping uncontrollably and Shyam Sundar is pacifying you. An eternal journey has now come to fruition with this Divine meeting with God. A lost and wandering soul has now met its true source and eternal companion.
Lost in love, you haven’t noticed time race by. Your insatiable thirst for His love, keeps you stuck to His shoulders, nestled in His arms and craving for more. Shree Krishna smiles at you and whispers into your ears, “Do not worry my dear child. Continue to increase your surrender and devotion, and you will one day reach a stage where you will be with me forever. To get there, you will have to practice sincere devotion and listen to your Gurudev’s instructions. Surrender to him and you shall come to me. I promise.” With these blessings, you return with sweet memories of a meeting that will linger in your mind forever.
You now walk towards your Gurudev, who had been watching this scene from the side. A great sense of satisfaction fills the heart of your Gurudev’s to see his disciple being greeted by the Lord himself. This is also a day of great joy for your Gurudev. You prostrate at his feet and thank him profusely for his grace without which this meeting would be impossible.
You are now returning back from Golok, and sweep across the skies in a flash. You are descending towards the solar system and you can see the nine planets revolving around the Sun. You have now reached the point where you can see planet Earth just as you left it some time ago. Descending further, you are now entering the earth’s atmosphere and rapidly losing height. You can now sight your city, and soon, you can see the spot where your body is lying, unmoved. You can also see others lying next to you, as still and calm as you are.
Slowly, enter your physical body.
Conclude the practice as explained in below.
Once you have completed the meditation exercise, you will have to come back to your normal state. For this, you have to slowly bring consciousness and movement in your gross body.
Start feeling the weight of your own body lying on the ground. Move the fingers and toes. Move your feet and arms. Bend your arms and feet. Lock the fingers in your hands and place them above your head. This is similar to the Tadasan posture in Yog. Keep your feet straight and stretch your arms above your head, keeping your fingers interlocked. Now, turn sideways and sit up slowly. Sit in Sukhasan posture. Rub your palms and place them on your eyes. Open your eyes slowly with a few blinks.
For more details and further information, please read
“Yoga for Body, Mind and Soul” by Swami Mukundananda
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