Autogenics is essentially putting yourself into a bio-feedback trance or self-hypnosis. With awareness, you can train your body to be calm and peaceful with the power of your mind. Contraindicated for mental disorders. Also have doctor supervision for medical diseases involving heart & blood sugar regulation.
Preparation: Keep external stimuli to minimum, get into a comfortable well supported position, take some deep breaths, keep a light eye focus or close your eyes.
Master each theme individually and then combine them into one full session.
1. Normalize Body - six themes
Theme 1. Fill your body with Heaviness- progressively scan body and fill each part with heaviness, repeat the mantra “my…(arm, leg, neck) is heavy” as you go along. Repeat mantra often. Go slowly, passively focusing on each part until it feels heavy and relaxed before moving on. If your mind wanders- notice without judgment and return to mantra. You may experience autogenic discharge (change in temp & weight, electricity, nausea, emotional spikes, pain, stiffness, illusions). These are transitory and will pass with practice.
*Once you feel relaxed move on to the next theme or end your session by saying “When I open my eyes I will feel refreshed and alert.” Flex and stretch. Make sure you are alert before returning to normal activities.
Theme 2. Fill your body with Warmth- progressively scan body and fill each part with warmth, repeat the mantra “my…is warm” as you go along. Repeat mantra often. Go slowly, passively focusing on each part until it feels warm and relaxed. Theme 3. Normalize cardiac activity with the mantra “my heartbeat is calm and regular”. Feel your heartbeat steady and calm with a healthy resting beat. If it feels fast and furious, take a couple of soothing breaths and focus on calm and steady until your heart rate decreases to a calm beat. Repeat the mantra, “my heartbeat is calm and regular”.
Theme 4. Regulate respiratory system with the mantra “calm breath”. Passively notice your breathing rate. Try for a regular relaxed inhale and exhale. You are not deep breathing or trying to manipulate your breath. Let it be natural and filling. Say the mantra, “calm breath” and let the air flow in and out of your lungs, and circulate around your body making you relaxed and healthy.
Theme 5. Warm your abdomen with the mantra “my belly is warm”. Relax all the muscles in your core. Relax all your organs. Let them be calm and smooth. Digestion is flowing. The organs are moving with their own motility, ebbing and flowing from midline. They are gliding past each other as you breathe. Imagine the muscles and viscera are warm. Repeat the mantra, “my belly is warm,” as you fill your abdomen with warmth.
Theme 6. Reduce blood flow to head with the mantra “my forehead is cool”. Imagine the blood draining from your face and head leaving it cool and refreshed. Imagine the blood going into your limbs and core giving them warmth.
2. Calm Mind
a. At the end of each theme above add Mind Calming Mantras. These are intended to reinforce the effects of the Body Normalizing Mantras. Clear your mind as you focus on the mind calming mantras. Feel waves of peace and quiet wash over you.
Examples of mind calming mantras- “I am calm and relaxed,” “I feel quiet and at peace,” “my whole body feels calm, comfortable, relaxed,” “My mind is clear,” “I withdraw my thoughts from the surroundings and feel serene and still,” “I am at ease,” “deep within my mind I can visualize and experience myself as relaxed and still.”
b. Intersperse these mind calming mantras within the body normalizing exercises.
3. Address specific problems
a. After you master the six autogenic themes, you can use the formulas to address specific pains or problems. You can focus on specific painful body parts to relax them and ease tension. If you have headache you can use “my forehead feels cool” to redirect the blood flow, and use "my shoulders, neck, etc feel warm and relaxed" to decrease the tension causing the headache. If you have a cough you can warm your chest and cool your throat.
b. When you are relaxed, you can also give yourself post hypnotic suggestions and repeat mantras centered on your goals, such as to lose weight or stop smoking, etc. These suggestions and mantras should be brief, believable, persuasive, and positive. For example, “I have control over what I eat,” or “I can survive without a cigarette.”
4. Notes and hints
*If you have trouble experiencing the physical sensations suggested by the formulas try using imagery. Visualize a nice warm bath, or sitting in the hot sun, or under a warm blanket.
*Actually feeling the sensations is not necessary. Focusing on the themes brings about a functional change in the body.
*If you experience discomfort with any of the themes, you may want to skip them. For example, if you have ulcers skip the warm abdomen theme, or if you feel dizzy skip the cool forehead theme.
*Some people find it easier to use a set verbal formula, either audio recording it or memorizing it, adding each new theme as you progress. This provides consistency each time you practice and may make it easier to relax. Examples of formulas: for theme one: heaviness, “my right arm is heavy, my left arm is heavy, both my arms are heavy. My right leg is heavy, my left leg is heavy, both legs are heavy. My arms and legs are heavy…” For theme two it would be the same only substitute warm for heavy. For a complete session combining all the themes, “my right arm is heavy and warm. My heartbeat is calm and regular. My breath is calm. My belly is warm. My forehead is cool. My left arm is heavy and warm. My heartbeat is calm and regular. My breath is calm. My belly is warm. My forehead is cool. My right leg is heavy and warm…”etc.
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