Open your eyes stretch lazily and get up slowly

Practice 10 to 30 minutes; the longer the duration, the better. But watch out! Relaxing for too long can make you drowsy.

Figure 4-1:

The corpse is the most popular of all Yoga postures.

Ending relaxation peacefully

Allowing relaxation to end on its own is best — your body knows when it has benefited sufficiently and naturally brings you out of relaxation. However, if you have only a limited time for the exercise, set your mental clock to 15, 20, or however many minutes after closing your eyes as part of your intention.

If you need to have a sound to remind you to return to ordinary waking consciousness, make sure that your wristwatch or clock isn't so loud that it startles you and provokes a heavy surge of adrenaline.

Staying awake during relaxation

If it looks like you're going to fall asleep while doing the corpse posture, try bringing your feet closer together. Also, periodically pay attention to your breathing, making sure it's even and unforced. Catnaps are generally excellent; if you're experiencing insomnia, however, we suggest you save your sleep until you go to bed at night. (For good anti-insomnia exercises, check out "Relaxation before sleep" and "Insomnia buster" later in this section.) In any case, the benefits of conscious relaxation are more profound than any catnap. The beautiful thing about relaxation is that you're conscious throughout the experience and can control it to some extent. Through relaxation, you become more in touch with your own body, which benefits you throughout the day: You can detect stress and tension in your body more readily and then take remedial action. Also, you avoid the risk of feeling drowsy afterward because you inadvertently entered into a deeper sleep. Remember that sleep isn't necessarily relaxing. That's why people sometimes wake up feeling like they've done heavy work in their sleep.

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