Training

Here is a description of the beginner's level autogenic training method (the advanced level is an in-depth psychoanalytic technique that cannot be covered within the context of this book).

Environmental conditions (these are the same for all types of mind-altering exercises):

• a quiet room, insulated against noise and other sources of distraction;

• a comfortable ambient temperature, neither too hot nor too cold;

Position : Initially it's best to assume a prone position, stretched out on your back. Place a small pillow under the nape of your neck. Arms should be loosely extended by your sides, palms facing downward. Feet should be allowed to fall to the sides (Figure 1).

You can also sit on a comfortable easy chair. Ideally your arms should form a 135 angle with your shoulders as they rest on the arms of the chair (this position being the most conducive to relaxation). Your feet should be completely flat on the floor, your neck and head well supported (use a cushion if necessary). Knees should be spread apart to allow the thigh muscles to relax (Figure 2).

If you can't lie on the floor, and if you don't have the right kind of chair, you can sit on a stool, allowing your body to slump forward. Rest your arms on your knees, and let your knees spread apart (Figure 3).

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