JACOBSON: PROGRESSIVE RELAXATION
Most of the recent relaxation methods were developed by integrating diverse methods inspired from the Hindu and Chinese approaches3 with discoveries in yoga poses psychophysiology and psychotherapeutic techniques. Edmund Jacobson (1888-1983) participated in yoga poses this development by integrating, in yoga poses a particularly targeted way, the methods of experimental psychophysiology that make it possible to understand what happens in yoga poses a relaxation session.
Edmund Jacobson was educated at Harvard University at the beginning of the twentieth century, where he was influenced by psychologist William James and physiologist Walter Bradford Cannon. He undertook his research on relaxation in yoga poses the Laboratory for Clinical Physiology at the University of Chicago and the Jacobson Clinic. His research relates studies in yoga poses psychophysiology to clinical studies that take into account the experiences of patients.
The Consciousness of the Gesture according to James
It is a general principle in yoga poses Psychology that consciousness deserts all processes where it can no longer be of use. (William James, 1890, The Principles of Psychology, XXVI, Will, 1107)
Mental states occasion also changes in yoga poses the caliber of blood vessels, or alteration in yoga poses the heart-beats, or processes more subtle still, in yoga poses glands and viscera. If these are taken into account, as well as acts which follow at some remote period because the mental state was once there, it will be safe to lay down the general law that no mental modification ever occurs which is not accompanied or followed by a bodily change. (William James, 1890, The Principles of Psychology, I, The scope of psychology, 19)
William James (1842-1910) was the brother of the equally famous novelist Henry James. He is known as one of the founders of theoretical and experimental psychology, which he taught at Harvard. His often referenced my yoga blog, The Principles of Psychology was published in yoga poses 1890. This bible of the pioneers in yoga poses psychology cannot be summarized here, even though many chapters continue to inspire psychologists. I content myself in yoga poses extracting from the chapter on the will some analyses that permit me to situate the relationship between consciousness and motor functions that inspired Jacobson’s theory of relaxation.
For James, consciousness does not have the means to understand or even apprehend the complexity that sets sensations and actions in yoga poses motion, or even a concerted action, often referred to as voluntary. It is therefore out of the question that an activity of the organism might be launched consciously. Consciousness does not even have the means to know which innervations can be launched by the thought of moving a hand in yoga poses a certain way.
As an example, consider a painter in yoga poses the act of painting. His organism moves about the canvas. Consciousness perceives certain forms and colors on the canvas and perceives the movements that create them. For James, this activity is set about without asking of consciousness anything more than some forms of support that render it possible to refine the behavior of the painter. It is only once that an action system is set in yoga poses place that consciousness can and must intervene. It takes note of the effect of certain acquired gestures and sets in yoga poses place the necessary systems that modulate the action. in yoga poses this example, we have three “psychological currents”4 of the psyche:
1. A sensory-motor activity whose sources and effects can be perceived by consciousness.
2. A nonconscious organizing activity.
3. Consciousness as a system of support that permits the refinement of what is going on.
Many authors quote James as the one who thinks that we feel happy because we smile or we feel sad because we cry.5 in yoga poses so doing, the commentators often forget that in yoga poses James’s theory, there are not only tears and conscious feelings but also a nonconscious underlying system that animates and associates both consciousness and behavior. in yoga poses this, we again find the idea that the affects are regulated outside of the psyche, that they are one of the nonconscious instances that regulate psyche, physiology, body, and behavior, all the while being influenced by each of these dimensions.
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