This article throws light upon the eight physical exercises for managing tension. The physical exercises are: 1. Acrobatics 2. Dance 3. Swimming 4. Autogenic Training 5. Progressive Physical Relaxation 6. Massage 7. Sex – Myth and Reality 8. Lying Positions for Relaxation.
Physical Exercise # 1. Acrobatics:
The various types of exercises can be broadly classified as:
1. Body-building exercises.
2. Toning-up exercises.
3. Relaxation exercises.
4. Body shaping exercises.
As per naturopathy, there is a need to conserve vital energy that one possesses. All exercises do not promote real health. There is need to preserve this vital power by its proper use. Life is not supported by body but by the vital power.
This approach has emphasised conservation of energy for relaxation which tones up one’s system to fight effectively against diseases and thereby increases tension bearing capacity of the person.
In modern life we dislike physical work in all forms and such attitude makes muscles la2y and leads to weakness of the same. If physical exercises are undertaken, we can avoid our blood circulation from becoming sluggish and sluggishness makes a person more prone to tension. One of the best ways to reduce tension is to like and love work.
Physical activity if undertaken within permissible limits, increases tension bearing capacity of a person. Aerobic exercises are those which strengthen one’s heart, lung capacity and oxygenate the blood. Jogging, swimming, cycling, calisthenic, skipping and even dancing can be acrobatic if performed with this objective in mind.
In tension, one’s body chemical undergoes changes in the muscles. Exercise helps in decreasing muscles electric charge and it works like a tranquilizer. Exercise acts as a means through which blocked energy finds outlet and releases tension in a natural way. It helps to learn the technique of tapping the reserve energy, vitality and endurance inside one’s self. Exercise keeps depression at bay and controls one’s temper.
Regular dynamic exercises result in lowering of both systolic and diastolic blood pressure on account of the fact that it results into:
(a) Weight reduction,
(b) Lowering plasma levels of catecholamines,
(c) Increased levels of resodilatory- substances like prosta glandins and,
(d) Decreased plasma renin activity and blood viscocity.
Regular exercise increases a person’s aerobic (oxygen- using) capacity. This increase in aerobic capacity causes a subsequent increase in metabolic rate (how fast one can burn calories). When these exercises are undertaken daily for about half an hour which make use of 75% capacity of lungs then the benefit for the same continues for whole day.
Regular exercises help in increasing the working of the various systems of the body thereby leading a person to a healthy life by increasing one’s tension bearing capacity.
Physical Exercise # 2. Dance:
Dance is a physical, mental and spiritual exercise for reduction of tension. All dances speak body language and as such are physically demanding. The prime of all dedicated dances requires emotional discipline and tremendous concentration. Dances like Bharatanatyam and Kathak are not only physical exercises but are almost mental aesthetic yoga. To understand the art of true dance one requires true understanding of life.
Dances give a lot of self-satisfaction to the performers when the body and soul create full rapport. This stage of performance gives real happiness to its performer and keeps one away from tension. The physical exercise part of dance helps in removing blockade of energy created by tension. Happy emotions created through acting lead to beneficial effects of dance.
Some dances like Bharatanatyam, get its origin in temple and its irrecoverable identity lies in its spiritual aspects. Dance in itself is like meditation. When dance is taken as meditation, it is movement of body’s parts in a natural flow and playing with life energy, bio-energy. Whether we take dance as physical, mental or spiritual exercise it creates beneficial effects in body which increases tension bearing capacity of a person.
Physical Exercise # 3. Swimming:
Swimming is an ideal exercise as it engages practically complete range of motions. It helps in toning up the pectoral muscles and supports the bust. This tones up the upper arms and makes body more flexible. It cleans, rejuvenates and refreshes the body and thereby increases tension bearing capacity of a person.
Physical Exercise # 4. Autogenic Training:
It is a technique which induces abreative emotional discharges. It focuses attention primaril on sensations of diminished sympathetic and increased para sympathetic nervous system activity. This type of training is like giving auto suggestion to become warm and light. Suggestions in this training is given to emotions and breathing, to come from exhalted stage to normal stage.
Physical Exercise # 5. Progressive Physical Relaxation:
This is a technique to activate oneself from the stress response deliberately. By the skill of this technique, stressful response of a situation is substituted with relaxation response by activating para sympathetic nervous system. In this technique, conscious effort is made to see the effects of various emotions and activities on various organs and systems of the body.
The approach of this technique is like bio-feed method whereas feedback is done through bio-feedback machines like ECG, EMG, temperature feedback machines.
Practising this technique in private carries over to enable a person to operate with a lower level of reactivity in social situation.
Physical Exercise # 6. Massage:
Massage is an effective measure in increasing the circulation of blood in body and thereby gives relief from fatigue, weakness and pain. A massage often lulls the person involved in massage to go to sleep. It relaxes the body and mind completely. The waste matters which accumulates in the tissues, is got rid of by two ways-one is through veins and other by lymphatic vessels.
The purpose of massage is to accelerate elimination process with the help of proper circulation of blood in the veins. As all blood goes to heart for purification it is recommended that the massage should be done in the direction of heart. By this way, working of systems of body gets activated and helps in overcoming diseases. This method helps in increasing tension bearing capacity of a person as all diseases produce tension.
Physical Exercise # 7. Sex – Myth and Reality:
Sex is basically shared experience through physical and emotional union of two persons to have momentary pleasure. It is a basic urge of all human beings and is a biological need triggered by hormones secreted by glands.
This is a first step for realisation of love which can be realised only when two persons surrender their ego to get merged into one entity. Once this important principle is understood and is expected to merge one’s entity with higher self rather than with another entity.
For getting this momentary pleasure one wastes lot of energy which otherwise is needed by a human being for carrying out various jobs. The basic reason for even this momentary pleasure is on account of surrender of ego and in these few moments, mind is considered to be empty.
Every disease causes tension. The love-making process reduces tension by improving one’s immune system. It strengthens the flow of lymph-fluid throughout the body which helps in removing bacteria, toxins and wastes which build up body tissues.
Researches as reported in The British Journal of Sexual Medicine” show that after love-making one not only drifts off to sleep faster but this prolongs sleep to the extent of 25%. It works as a tranquilizer and promotes relaxation.
The sensual massage created during the process of love- making relieves stiffness in muscles. The flow of lymphocytes increases which revitalizes our immune system. It acts as an antidote for nervous tension.
Some of the other points that advocate the need to go for love-making are as follows:
(a) It improves blood circulation. This process releases body’s endorphins into the blood stream which leave one with a feeling of wellbeing.
(b) It works as one of the antidotes for nervous tension.
(c) It is good for mental health as it brings out strong emotions.
(d) It encourages saliva to wash food from the teeth which lowers the level of the acid that causes decay and prevents plaque to build up.
(e) It burns up calories. In one session of love making 200 to 600 calories get burnt which is equal to 1½ hours burning of calories in an exercise with bicycle.
(f) It raises the probability of conception. A book “Mystery, Dance, by Lynn U Margulis and Horion Sagan” cites data which suggest that contraction of the vagina and uterus during climax draw sperm towards the egg which increases the conception chances.
(g) It improves production of hormone estrogen and increases the supply of oxygen which makes hair shine and smoothens skin.
The effects of sex can be classified at three levels:
(a) On psychological level.
(b) On physiological level.
(c) On spiritual level.
The principles learnt from sex should be used on spiritual level where merging is done with inner self which gives a long term pleasure and can act as an instrument and reliever of tension. There is need to have enlightened sexual act which can open gates to samadhi.
Tension is a by-product of energy moving downward. Once this is realised there arises need to conserve vital energy within the body. This conservation of vital energy is possible only through silence, prayer, yoga and meditation. There arises need to transform the basic urge of a human being for a higher cause which is primarily the aim and teaching of all religions.
As per Swami Ramtiratha, when marriage is slavery of passion, each time you are satisfied, thraldom is intensified, we sink lower and lower.
Sex is both cause and effect of tension. The general effect of tension is to diminish the overall functioning of male and female sex apparatus. Prolonged stress sharply decreases the level of primary male hormones i.e. testosterone, which directly influence the sex drive. Studies in the area show that men and women who continuously remain under state of anxiety lose interest in sex.
According to Kenneth Lamotto (1975) stress apparently slows the production of sperm cells in the male when a man’s sex drive is low or may be diminished due to prolonged stress. One is likely to experience occasional impotence, which can be a devastating occurrence. This itself produces great emotional disturbance and anxiety for the man, further increasing his stress level.
Research studies also show that important sex hormones in women i.e. progesterone, diminish sharply in women who are constantly in the state of anxiety.
Frigidity is a common result of protracted stress and the emotional difficulties usually associated with sexual-dysfunctioning provide the woman with extra obstacles to reduce the tension she feels. Tension plays an important role for creating sexually disordered behaviour e.g. homo-sexuality.
An individual under tension leads the individual to the state of dysfunctioning of sexual hormones leading to more homosexual cases and this can commonly be seen in the developed countries. Thus there is a need to understand the myth and the reality about sex. There is a need to rise above sex by conserving energy to experience real happiness.
Physical Exercise # 8. Lying Positions for Relaxation:
The contraction in muscles is termed as tension. Lying position is considered to be the most relaxed position as compared to sitting or standing position as the latter involve contraction of postural muscles which maintain the body upright. In lying position all major parts of the body get relaxation as there is little stretch of muscles and gravitational force is minimum as compared to sitting and standing postures.
Lying posture involves minimum expenditure of energy because the pull of gravity on various parts of the body is counter-balanced by the support given by the hard- base of bed to nearly all segments of body.
The three lying postures for relaxation that can be categorised are:
i. Relaxed Front-Lying Posture:
In this posture the face is kept on one side and pillow is kept under the head, under the hips, abdomen and lower ribs and one under the feet.
ii. Half-Lying Leg Raised Posture:
In this posture, one lies on the floor and keeps the buttocks close to the side of the bed in such a way that it takes right angle position between position above and under the knee of the leg at the knee position. Full support goes to the lower portion of leg under the knee with foot resting in full at bed.
One pillow is kept under the curve of neck. Palms are kept on the sides with upward position. This position helps in taking off waste products from the leg and one can easily go for deep breathing in this posture.
iii. Back Lying Relaxation Postures:
In this posture one lies down on firm base with face and palms up facing upwards. Pillows are placed under head, knee and at the foot to allow greater relaxation to spine.