27 Oct Autogenic Training – How it Works!
I sat relaxed in the grass, feeling the individual blades between my fingers, and let the tepid August air blow around my face … Ah, done with work! Well, almost at least. The autogenic training in the BLUEf!t Park was about to begin; I was waiting for the other participants, quite curious to see what awaited me. Of course, I had already done some research in advance: autogenic training is a relaxation technique developed by the psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz. Maybe you’re wondering why this course is offered at TUI BLUE? I asked myself the same thing! It actually makes a lot of sense: A pillar of BLUEf!t is mental balance, or inner harmony and unity with oneself. Autogenic training is used for relaxation and as a sleep aid, among other things. It is even used in competitive sports, so that athletes can manage stressful situations better.
In a nutshell, autogenic training seemed to be perfect for me! Not that I’d compare myself to a competitive athlete, but today it was too warm for me to be tormented by my BLUEf!t Guide Lars after a long day at work. I could almost feel the sweat on my forehead just thinking about our last workout with the fitness tracker or in the BLUEf!t Room.
3, 2, 1… Relax!
Meanwhile, all the participants for the autogenic training had arrived and we got started. We pulled the cosy Fatboy beanbags into the shade and looked for a nice spot. Everyone cuddled snugly into the soft, giant cushions, and BLUEf!t Guide Lars briefly explained the course of the autogenic training. Then we were supposed to close our eyes. Of course, as an old skeptic, I asked myself how I could relax deeply and clear my head in just 20 minutes – after all, I had a stressful workday behind me.
My many thoughts were interrupted abruptly when BLUEf!t Guide Lars began to speak in a calm voice, and I fully closed my eyes after this second reminder. We started with the so-called “heavy exercise”. We imagined that first the right arm and then the left were becoming very heavy, then the right leg and the left.
I should add that it was a very comfortable weight, and not the kind you might feel in your legs after a long run. On the contrary – during autogenic training, it felt pleasantly warm.
Autogenic training = deep relaxation
It continued into the breathing exercise. I breathed calmly and gradually noticed how my respiratory rate normalised and my heartbeat slowed down.
Only a few minutes ago I had felt a million thoughts in my head, which were now gradually suppressed by the deep relaxation — autogenic training actually seemed to be working!
This was followed by what was called the “solar plexus exercise”, which focused on the centre, i.e. the abdomen and chest. We imagined that the heat from the solar plexus was flowing into the abdomen and from there into the chest. By the way, the solar plexus is an autonomic nerve network that sits in the abdominal cavity of the human body. This is the largest autonomic nervous system of the body and it’s used to control some organs, such as the stomach or intestines.
Meanwhile, I can say that I was as relaxed as if I had just made a long and wonderful holiday. I lay relaxed on the soft giant cushion and let the warm breeze blow around my face. Now we imagined that our faces were heavy and our foreheads were cool – as if is a cool washcloth had been placed on my forehead. And I can tell you, in the heat on the Turkish Riviera, I welcome anything cooling.
” …And we wake up again”
I heard Lars’ voice whisper from afar that he was counting down from five to one, and that we would wake up again. When he got to one, we would open our eyes. Oh, no, I didn’t want to yet! And then I heard it: ”3,2,1 and we slowly open our eyes.”
When I finally opened my eyes and look at the surroundings, I saw that I was still in the BLUEf!t Park at the TUI BLUE Palm Garden in Kızılağaç, and hadn’t actually woken up in my bed on a peaceful Sunday morning, as it seemed. Oh, that was splendid!
We took a few more minutes to come back to reality. Then BLUEf!t Guide Lars asked how we felt about the results, and whether the relaxation effect had begun.
Everyday stress? As if it had never been there!
My personal conclusion is that autogenic training totally helps me to relax and forget the stress of everyday life! Who would have thought? If I’m honest, not me!
I think we give ourselves too little time in everyday life to reduce stress and to maintain our own mental balance. It’s so important to treat yourself to a little break occasionally. And twice a week for 20 minutes? That sounds feasible!