For the convenience of learning, all the muscles of the body are divided into five groups: the muscles of the arms, legs, torso, neck and face. Imagine that you are in a room where five large lamps hang, and in the corner a small night light glows dimly. Lamps are muscle groups, and a nightlight is a calm, relaxed focus. So you relaxed, “turned off” the muscles of the arms (as it were extinguished one lamp) from tension – it became somewhat darker. Then “turned off” the muscles of the legs (the second lamp went out) – it became even darker. Slowly, consistently relaxing the muscles of the body, neck and face, you kind of turn off one lamp after another and plunge into pleasant darkness — drowsiness. Control over it is exercised by a quiet awareness-attention – a small, non-dying nightlight.
The most difficult thing in this procedure is to relax your muscles so as not to lose control over the developing drowsiness, not to “fall asleep” to sleep. There are two ways: either to relax all muscles not to the limit, or to completely “turn off” one or two muscle groups, leaving the rest in a state of normal, rather than complete relaxation. However, complexity may arise only at the beginning. Then everyone involved himself finds the best way to achieve drowsiness, controlled by calm attention.
Self-hypnosis is usually practiced in one of three key points. The most comfortable of them is lying on your back; arms, slightly bent in elbows, lie along the body (palms down), the feet are separated by a width of 20-30 centimeters. It is sometimes more convenient for thin and long-armed people to lay their hands, palms up.
The second position is sitting in a soft armchair with a headrest and armrests, on which the student puts relaxed hands.
The third is the most inconvenient, at first glance, but the most accessible situation in most situations, which is the creator of autogenic training, IG Schultz called the “coachman’s posture”: while waiting for passengers, sometimes very long, the drivers are forced to doze while sitting on the box. It is in this position that it is safest to master the skills of auto-suggestion.
The essence of the “coachman’s posture” is this: one must sit in the middle of the chair, not leaning on the back; legs, standing on a full foot, slightly pushed forward so that an angle of 120–140 ° forms between the back of the thighs and the gastrocnemius muscles. Hands should be put so that they do not hang between the thighs (and then the fingers swell). The head should be slightly tilted forward, not moving it neither left nor right. But the most important thing is the position of the body. The back is bent so that the shoulder joints are strictly vertically above the hips. If the shoulders go forward, then when immersed in a nap, the body will begin to fall on his knees. And if the shoulders are behind an imaginary vertical, the body will begin to fall backwards. With the same position, the back will only flex more and more, as the muscles relax, and the torso will remain upright.
A small digression is needed here. The fact is that different people in various degrees are able to relax their muscles. Athletes, especially highly qualified, make it easy and, so to speak, fully. Others to achieve good relaxation at first is not easy. Therefore, they are offered some auxiliary techniques that facilitate the achievement of pronounced muscle relaxation. A further presentation of the practice of mastering the PMT will contain a description of these techniques. Those who can relax well can not use them.
So, let’s start the first practical training in psychomuscular training. First, take one of the main points. Then close your eyes – this will help you focus better on your muscles. Now relax as much as possible all the muscles, shake them several times. And start to turn off the first “lamp” – arm muscles. They are the most “obedient”: it is from them that it is easier to master the alphabet of psychic muscle training.
At first, the relaxation procedure is more expedient to carry out in the following sequence: keeping the adopted position and not opening the eyes, slowly, half-fold, squeeze the fingers into fists and also slowly, half-full, tighten the remaining muscles of the arms – up to those that surround the shoulder joints. Keeping such a voltage for 2-4 seconds, quickly reset it and listen to the sensations of relaxation spreading from top to bottom (from shoulders to fingers): it occurs due to the contrast with the preceding voltage. This is the essence of the first auxiliary reception. Listening to the sensations of the coming relaxation, try to somehow name it and give it an appropriate mental image. For example: relaxing muscles are like “soft dough” or “jelly-like kissel.”
To better remember the feeling of muscle relaxation, repeat this exercise, without haste, several times in a row. It is not necessary only to relieve tension, straightening the fingers actively: a new tension arises – in the opposite direction, so to speak. One should also not check the degree of relaxation by “shaking” the muscles: when shaking, they again tense somewhat. It is better to just stop the tension of the muscles – and they will relax to the extent that they are capable of at the moment.
The recommended half-muscle pre-tension is usually suitable for most people. However, some of them need to strain them almost to their fullest for a better feeling of subsequent relaxation; for others, the most insignificant information about relaxation is given by very little prestress. So, in the first minutes of class, everyone should find the optimal degree of tension for himself, followed by the most distinct feeling of relaxation. And one more minor clarification: straining the muscles, you can not change the originally adopted position of the hands (for example, do not lift them above the hips or the surface of the bed at the time of tension).
The second auxiliary method is to use controlled breathing to help the muscles. It is done this way. Simultaneously with the tension of the muscles, breathe in a medium depth, then hold your breath for 2-4 seconds. Immediately with the release of muscle tension, begin a calm, slow exhalation, against which relaxation is usually more clearly felt. Muscle relaxation should be listened not only during one quiet, slow exhalation, but also during the subsequent light, shallow breathing, so that you can feel and remember the feeling of relaxation in the muscles as fully and clearly as possible. Those who at first calm, slow, prolonged exhalation for some reason seems difficult, should breathe as comfortable. And attention, calm and relaxed,should be directed to listening to the feelings of relaxation – the breath itself will cope with its duties. The combination of inhalation with muscle tension and exhalation followed by their relaxation must be repeated (without opening the eyes) from 3–4 to 5–6 times in a row – as a rule, this is enough to quite clearly feel the initial relaxation.
Such purely physical exercises, using two auxiliary methods, take no more than 3-5 minutes. Their purpose is to enable people who are not familiar with the feeling of muscle relaxation to feel it, at least to the smallest degree. Then this pleasant sensation will become more and more distinct from class to class. It is important to achieve the ability to combine muscle tension with inhalation well, and their relaxation – with a quiet exhalation, and, most importantly, due to these purely physical exercises , it is necessary to cause a distinct sensation of relaxation in the muscles and at the same time mentally “see” that the muscles relax.
The ability to relax well skeletal muscles is a very important skill. First, the relaxed muscles, prepared by auxiliary physical methods, become like rails, along which mental processes will be directed – words and their mental images, which increase the degree of relaxation. Secondly, the relaxed muscles are able to perform a very useful function: according to them, as in a kind of lightning rod, the excessive tension that often occurs in various distress situations leaves the brain.
Now, after the physical “warm-up” of the muscles of the hands, you can connect mental processes – thinking and attention .
The formula of self-suggestion, which begins with the mastery of psychic-muscle training, has the following content: “My hands relax and get warmer . ” Recall that not the words themselves, but their mental images have a directed effect on our body.
So, the first words of the formula – “My hands …” Pronounce them mentally at the time of the tension of the muscles of the arms and the subsequent delay of this tension against the background of inhalation of average depth. So that the mental image arising behind the words is extremely clear, carefully examine your hands and remember all their peculiarities well, then the mental image will take concrete object clarity and the effect of the subsequent self-suggestion will be higher. If, having said the first words of the formula, you will “see” the hands as something abstract, the results will sharply deteriorate.
The next word is “relax . ” Mentally pronounce it immediately after the discharge of muscular tension, against the background of a quiet slow exhalation. This word is supposed to be hunted down very slowly, better by syllables – “they dissolve”. Often, obyslosyvanie becomes longer than a quiet exhalation. In such cases, you should go for a quiet shallow breathing.
What mental image should accompany the word “relax”? Everyone involved in it can be purely individual. One “sees” his muscles soft, “like jelly”, the other – “like batter,”; the third has an image and a feeling of “lightness, weightlessness”; the fourth sometimes “see” that the muscles as if exfoliate from the bones. But whatever the mental image, it is desirable that it be selected in the singular already at the first lesson, so that later, in the process of further training, it can become extremely clear and bright. It should not be that today the muscles are seen “like jelly”, and tomorrow – “like cotton.”
As you know, in the cold we shrink, as if shrinking, and in the warmth, on the contrary, as if opening up, relaxing. That is why to help relaxation in the procedure of self-hypnosis, the word “warm up” is added with the corresponding mental images – both imagined and imaginary. The simplest thing is to imagine that warm water flows from the shoulders down to the fingers. Those who find it hard to imagine it, should stand under a warm shower – let the jets of water flow down their arms. This sensation will be remembered so well that it can then be recreated in a purely mental way – through the appropriate presentation. If you repeat this procedure several times in a row – then getting out of the shower, then again becoming under it, – the subsequent presentation of warm water flowing between hands will cause a rather clear feeling that the hands are warming.
You can do even easier. Wash your hands several times under a stream of warm water and remember the feeling of warmth, if only in your fingers and hands. This feeling will gradually be able to spread higher – to the shoulder joints. Of course, you can use other mental images associated with the sensation of heat, for example, lying on the hot sand by the sea.
Those who know anatomy and physiology can imagine such a picture: the muscles are riddled with a multitude of blood vessels – in particular, arterial, through which warm arterial blood flows from the heart to the periphery. When the muscles are strained, the vessels in them contract, and after relaxing the muscles expand, and warm blood flows freely from top to bottom, warming the arms from shoulders to fingers.
Now think the formula “My hands relax and warm” in a single process. To do this, against the background of inhalation of medium depth, slowly tighten the muscles of the arms half-heartedly and mentally say the words “my hands” with the involvement of the corresponding mental image. All this is done simultaneously. Then, after a 2-4 second delay in inhalation and muscle tension, at the very beginning of a quiet slow exhalation, quickly relieve muscle tension and mentally speak very slowly, better by syllables, the word “expand-weak-la-lyu-xy” which is also accompanied by the already selected mental image. “Seeing” this image, you must immediately feel the mental relaxation – “translate” the mental image into a real physical sensation. Only after a distinct sensation of relaxation appears, on a light inhale, utter the union “and” to yourself , and on a slow, quiet exhalation, say the word “warm-hear” , accompanying it with the representation or imagination of heat from the top down. Wait until this sensation becomes sufficiently distinct.
Repeat this “transmission” of the formula through your brain and muscles during the first lesson 4–6 times in a row – as a rule, this is enough to give rise to initial sensations and relaxation, and warmth.
In the process of practicing self-hypnosis, attention, remaining calm and relaxed, is held simultaneously on both hands and slowly “examines” them piece by piece, “checking” the degree of relaxation and warming, and then stops at the relaxed and warm hands and fingers. In the procedure of self-hypnosis, the process of attention can be compared with a moving or stopping beam of a flashlight and a bright spot appearing on the surface where this beam is directed. The role of the flashlight in this comparison (or rather, flashlights) is played by the eyes, the “mental” view. If attention at some point for some reason “runs away” from the hands and extraneous thoughts appear, you need to calmly, without irritation, return the “bright spot” of attention to its former place and not rushing to continue the procedure of self-suggestion.
In the majority of those who are engaged in psychic-muscle training, at the very first lesson, the hands relax quite clearly and become warmer. But, in order to consolidate and improve the achieved result, it is necessary to train every day – to play with your muscles and the corresponding mental processes (words, mental images, attention) for at least 3-5 minutes 3-4 times a day (and, last time – in bed , before bedtime). I use the word “play” specifically, since the training of psychomuscular training should always take place exactly as a game, and not as a boring, annoying job. And, of course, the more often you engage in this game, the more consciously you approach it, the sooner it will bring not only the desired result, but also a sense of peculiar pleasure.
I must say that the emergence of pleasure from self-suggestion suggests that mental self-regulation has already begun to have a positive effect on the body.
For those people who can relax well, it makes no sense to use the first auxiliary method – muscle tension before their subsequent relaxation. It can be limited only to the connection of breathing: take a breath of medium depth at the moment of the mental name of the corresponding muscle group, and then, against the background of a quiet exhalation, ponder the word “relax”. After the feeling of relaxation becomes distinct, a light inhale is performed (simultaneously with pronouncing the union “and”), and then, simultaneously with the beginning of a quiet exhalation, the word “warmer” is thought out, which is accompanied by a pre-selected mental image of warmth.
In the future, you can do without specially organized breaths and exhalations: free breathing will become calm, easy and will cope well with its responsibilities without control from the student.
Such a detailed presentation of the first PMT session aimed at mastering the formula “My hands relax and get warmer” is explained by the fact that all other muscles (legs, torso, neck and face) relax and warm exactly according to the same principle – only the name of the muscle group changes.