The following is a method for deep relaxation and tension relief. It is essentially a method in which you intentionally alternate between tensing a muscle group for about 5 seconds, then quickly letting them go limp. You repeat this technique with muscle groups throughout the body, one-by-one, completely focus on the feeling of total relaxation as your muscles go limp, until your whole body feels deeply relaxed.
You can perform this technique anytime, anywhere
It is an excellent way to start or end the day while in bed. Throughout the day, it can provide essential stress relief to reboot the body. Simply adjust the timing and your posture to suit the moment.
Preparing for the technique
- Try to find a peaceful location where there is very little noise.
- Wear loose clothes and remove your shoes, or go barefoot.
- Lie flat on your back if possible, comfortably – bolster yourself under the knees, lower back or neck if needed. Keep your hands by your side, palms up, legs straight with space in-between.
- If seated in a chair, prop yourself so that you can be as comfortable as possible.
- Breathe deeply and concentrate on your breathing. Count an inhale and an exhale as 1 round. Do 10 rounds of this.
- Take a moment right now to listen to your body. Observe if you feel any tension. Where do you feel loose? Where or do you feel tightness or aching points?
Note: We will work from the feet up, through either leg, either arm and so slowly up the body in sequence. Remember when you tense the muscle, hold the tension for 5 seconds and relax fully the part which you clenched. Once that part is fully relaxed, move to the next part. The order will be: left leg, right leg, left arm, right arm, torso Make sure to give each part your full, undivided attention. Remember: your focused, loving intent is healing to your own body!
- Curl your left toes down firmly as tightly as you can, tensing the foot. Hold for 5, then release. Observe.
- Clench your left calf muscle (from the back ankles to the back of the knee). Hold for 5, then release. Observe.
- Lift your left knee cap and tense it. Hold for 5, then release. Observe.
- Squeeze the left thigh muscles. You should feel your whole leg tense up. Hold for 5, then release. Observe.
- Repeat Steps 1-4 on the right foot and leg.
- Engage your left arm, drawing awareness to your hand, upper arm and lower arm. Clench your left fist hard tightly. Hold for 5, then release. Observe.
- Clench your left fist again and pull your arm to your shoulder so your biceps tighten. Hold for 5, then release. Observe.
- Repeat Steps 6-8 with your right arm.
- Keep your arms and legs relaxed and loose. Deep breathe in, deep breathe out.
- Tighten your buttocks. Do not lift, just clench. Hold for 5, then release.
- Suck your stomach in deeply. Hold for 5, then release. Observe.
- Breathe deeply into your lungs and feel your chest muscles tighten. Hold for 5, then release. Observe.
- Now a common trouble spot:the neck and shoulders. You can fully tense both by simply shrugging, taking your shoulders high near your earlobes. Hold for 5, then release. You may want to repeat this a few times of you are particularly tense in this area.
- Now the face: open your mouth in the widest yawn you can manage without risking dislocation of the jaw hinges. Hold for 5, then release.
- Squeeze your eyelids tight shut as if you want to shut out everything around you. Hold for 5, then open your eyes and release.
- Raise your eyebrows as much as possible. Feel your forehead stretch and hold for 5, then release.
The whole body should now be relaxed. Allow your attention to slip deeply into this sense of relaxation, letting your breathe remain slow and deep. Soak up the sensation of a relaxed body and mind!