Today I would like to introduce you to one of my personal passions, autogenic training as a relaxation aid. I had already mentioned that one of the ways to live and think for a moment in the here and now is autogenic training. I came across this possibility through my family doctor: I was stressed out by a combination of a lot of work, too little time for friends and relatives and my partner and an increasing feeling that I could no longer recover. My doctor then said that it was important to give your head a break from time to time to actually relax. For example, I always do this very well in football training. Only that you can’t just decide to have training after work, after all, the rest of the team and the coach are also part of it.
In addition, it may be difficult from time to time to make it to training in good time due to a delayed end of work. My doctor therefore had the idea that I should try autogenic training, because you only need yourself and a quiet corner and very little time and can still achieve very good results. I had to pay for the three training units, each of which lasted about 30-40 minutes (for me, it was € 20 per unit). The total of 60 € was more than worth it. What can I say? The doctor’s visit and the subsequent training sessions were about a year ago and since then I have been using autogenic training more or less consistently every day to get a few minutes of relaxation just for me.
What is autogenic training and what is it based on?
Autogenic training is a method with which autosuggestion (training the subconscious, influencing one’s own psyche) can achieve deep relaxation within a short time.
Autogenic training was developed during the 1920s based on hypnosis and was first published in 1932 by a psychiatrist named Johannes Heinrich Schultz. The peculiarity is very clear that a few minutes of autogenic training daily are sufficient to be significantly more relaxed overall and to feel more comfortable in the long term.
How does autogenic training work?
Autogenic training is about concentrating fully on your own body and thoughts. By doing this, you free yourself for a certain time of all past and upcoming negative things that are usually constantly floating around in your head.
You manage to switch off and only be with yourself and in the current moment, while you tank up a lot of strength and motivation to then approach the challenges of everyday life more calmly and prudently.
Autogenic training includes various exercises that can be combined. I will only present the exercises that I have learned from my doctor and use with great success every day.
The training lasts about 5-7 minutes and is structured as follows:
1.) Intro – go down, come to yourself
2.) The heavy arms
3.) The warm arms
4.) Abdominal breathing
5.) Outro – go up again and that Take relaxation with you
Part 1: Intro – shut down to come to yourself
First of all you are looking for a chair or armchair, a sofa or a stool is also sufficient. Here you take the basic stance for autogenic training. To do this, straighten your back and put your feet on the floor (the soles should really rest, the knees / thighs are best parallel to each other.
Imagine someone holding a thread in the middle of the top of your head and pulling you up slightly. You let your arms hang down on the side of your body and put your forearms on your thighs. The arms are slightly bent and the hands are on the inside of the thighs. You should feel good overall and can lean a little, but not lean back too much.
On these two pictures you can see how you should sit about. I’m not saying that posture is perfect, but that’s how I sit with autogenic training and it works very well. If you are already very experienced, it is also conceivable to take a different sitting or even lying position, but for the first few months I recommend the sitting position shown.
Here you can see my way of sitting during autogenic training
Now the exercise should begin: It is important that you be aware of what is happening now. You can just think it, or speak softly for yourself. The eyes are open:
“If I close my eyes right away, the next few minutes are all alone for me. The outside world is absolutely unimportant for this short time, it is only about me and my thoughts / my body! “
Even if it may seem strange to you, you should say or think these or similar words yourself during every autogenic training. Believe me, it really helps!
If you are aware of the fact that there will now be a few minutes that are all about you and your thoughts, you can close your eyes. You should try to inhale and exhale as calmly as possible.
If your eyes are closed, you only concentrate on your body: how does it feel to sit on the chair? How do your hands feel on your thighs. You deliberately block out thoughts from the outside and don’t allow them. Should you notice that you are thinking of something else, then you remain calm, push the thought away again and concentrate on yourself again.
At first, it is difficult to stay focused throughout the autogenic training, but with more practice, you will find it easier to let go and concentrate.
If you are calm and focused on yourself, tell yourself a few times that you are very calm and take a deep breath in and out. Once you have internalized the rest, you can start the exercises.
Part 2: The heavy arms
We usually don’t consciously notice the weight of our body parts. When you walk, stand, sit, or lie down, it usually doesn’t feel like you have to carry your arm as a weight. However, it is clear that if you place your arm on a scale independently of your body, it carries some weight. You can feel this weight if you pay close attention to it.
In this part of the training, try to tell yourself “My arms are heavy” exactly 6 times in a row and feel exactly that. Feel the weight of your arms on your thighs and how your arms pull down on your shoulders. Repeat the words in quick succession. If you have done this 6 times, pay attention to your breathing again, say “I am very calm” twice in a row and proceed to the third part of the autogenic training.
Part 3: The warm arms
My doctor explained it to me like this: Blood streams run around the muscles throughout the body, which conduct warm blood to all corners of the body. As with the heavy poor, we humans do not normally notice the flow of blood, but can make us aware of it.
In this part of the autogenic training, you try to think very consciously that you shoot the blood through the blood streams in your arms and this will warm them down into your hands. If it doesn’t work on the first try, that’s not bad, maybe you will just notice something in the shoulders or upper arms. Over time, however, it will always work better.
Tell yourself exactly 6 times “My arms are warm” and really feel it. Feel your arms warm up. Repeat the words in quick succession.
As in part 2, you pay attention to your breathing immediately afterwards and say 2 times “I’m very calm”. Now you can move on to the next part of the training.
Part 4: Abdominal breathing
My doctor explained this part, which is all about your breathing, to me: Breathe very deliberately and deep into your stomach. Feel the air flowing into your stomach. Here you should imagine an image. For example, I imagine a beach where the water retracts as you inhale and flows onto the beach as you exhale. Passing clouds and many other pictures are also conceivable.
For this part of the autogenic training you can, if you want, look for a completely own picture with which you feel comfortable. The beach works very well for me. Repeat the deep inhalation and exhalation again 6 times in a row and feel, as you imagine your picture, how you breathe deep into and out of your belly.
Part 5: Outro – start up again and take the relaxation with you
The actual exercises for autogenic training are now complete. However, the last part is crucial to take the relaxation back into everyday life.
First of all, after repeating abdominal breathing 6 times, you should continue to breathe calmly and say “I am very calm” several times (it can also be 6 times).
Now you say or think very calmly that as soon as you open your eyes again, you take the relaxation and strength that you gained through the training into your everyday life.
In the last step, you stretch your arms forward (your eyes are still closed) and take a jerky, but quick, deep breath while pulling your arms strongly towards your upper body, making a fist with both hands (quietly squeeze properly).
As soon as you start to exhale, you open your eyes. If you move your arms and breathe with too little strength at the end of the day, it will be harder for you to return to full capacity from relaxation, so this part is very important. But do not drive yourself crazy, if you have practiced autogenic training a few times, you will notice what you have to do.
Important: carry out your autogenic training
Finally, a short note – I gave you instructions in this article on how to perform a relaxation exercise. The basic procedure should be followed as described, since it has proven to be extremely effective.
Nevertheless, you should ultimately carry out your own autogenic training , which helps you and takes you further. For example, for the heavy arms and the warm arms, I just say “pleasantly heavy” or “pleasantly warm” every second time, which increases the effect for me
So be open and listen to yourself. You will notice that a mixture of the described specifications and your own interpretation of the autogenic training will bring you deep relaxation beyond the actual training!
Now I wish you lots of fun practicing and the quickest possible success. Feel free to write a comment if the instructions helped you. I am also very interested in your own style and other exercises!
P.S. Did you like what you read? Then I highly suggest to take a look at my book SHATTERED you can get it on Amazon.
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