Book: The Relaxation Response

The-Relaxation-Response-This is the classic book on the topic.  Benson merges Eastern and Western thought nicely in a book that was ground-breaking in its assimilation of studies, demonstrating the way meditation techniques have been used throughout the ages in religions and traditions.

The final chapter describes a simple technique for meditation, and the book includes nice guidelines on how to meditate with an accepting mind.

The author has written other books, too, but this thin, easy-to-read book was the starting point.

Lessons for Yogis:

1) Our Fight-or-Flight response can keep us too keyed up in stressful situations that don’t actually threaten our survival.  The opposite of this response is what’s called The Relaxation Response.  Practicing it can unite the brain, body, and mind in reaching a state of calm.

2) Practicing the Relaxation Response has been shown to improve many physical  health issues, such as high blood pressure, and cultivates a more pleasant state of mind.  Yoga classes shift the brain over to the relaxation response – and so do many breathing techniques.

3) As Dr. Benson states in the foreward to the most recent edition, Self Care is a very important component of health.  Practicing good nutrition, frequent exercise, and the relaxation response are key components of this.

To read this book without using any new trees, amazon has tons of used copies, and a kindle version — and there’s a free preview and kindle sample on there.
Another green thing would be to check it out at a library near you.


Benson, Herbert. The relaxation response. New York: Morrow, 1975. Print.