By nature, one should clearly understand that direct techniques are in and of themselves relaxation methods, inasmuch as no lucid dreaming can occur without one being relaxed. Accordingly, one can go immediately into lucid dreaming without any prior relaxation.
Since the most effective window of time for using direct techniques occurs before sleep and at night, and lasts only 10 to 20 minutes in any case, additional time should not be wasted on trying to relax, nor should time for relaxation be subtracted from the requisite 10 to 20 minutes.
Correct and quality relaxation is a difficult pursuit and many go about it in their own way, producing an effect opposite to that of natural relaxation. For example, many endeavor to relax their bodies to such a degree that in the end the mind is as active as it would be while trying to solve a difficult mathematical equation. In this type of situation, entering lucid dreaming is impossible.
The body automatically relaxes when the mind is relaxed. The body, in turn, will never relax if the mind is active. Therefore, it is better for beginners refrain from the trouble of the nuances of relaxation and save their energies for more elementary matters.
Instead of forcing a technical relaxation, a practitioner should simply lie down for several minutes and this will provide the best relaxation. Lying down activates natural relaxation processes; the most powerful kind.
Complete, peaceful relaxation may only be coerced by those with specialized, in-depth experience. Generally, these are people who have spent a great amount of time and effort mastering trance and meditative states. Relaxation in these cases should take no more than 1 to 3 minutes and no longer, as when a practitioner is expert at relaxation it is sufficient to just think about it, and it occurs.
All quality relaxation techniques may well serve as direct techniques, if a free-floating state of mind occurs while they are exercised. After gaining the necessary experience with trance and meditation, a practitioner of these mental arts may proceed to mastering lucid dreaming.