We’re going to learn four different techniques and bring them together into one deep and powerful relaxation method.
By practicing these techniques together, you’ll learn how to evoke the super-important Relaxation Response, which scientists have found is so beneficial to our physical, emotional and mental well-being.
Also, this relaxation method provides a solid basis for meditation practice as it prepares your mind to start letting go of your “daily business” and settle into the more relaxed focus of meditation.
So let’s get on with it!
Technique #1: Setting Your Intention
It’s always a good idea whenever starting your relaxation or meditation practice to do what’s called “setting your intention”. This can be as simple as saying “Now I’m going to relax.” Or if you prefer, you can say a prayer, recite a poem, whatever – as long as it helps you set your intention to actually do the thing you are setting out to do.
Setting an intention raises one of your competing desires above all the rest – at least momentarily. It also adds a certain momentum which, if you can keep it going, will help you maintain your intention despite the constant yammering from all the other desires.
Technique #2: Relax the Exhalation
Try this little trick: breathing through the nose, take a normal breath in, just a little on the deep side. As you breath in, really concentrate on noticing the specific muscles you are using to pull the breath in. Focus on the muscles that are creating the space inside you into which the inhalation can flow.
Now, on the exhalation, suddenly relax those very same muscles. Really just let them go. The breath will come out fast and will likely even make a “whooshing” sound as exits out your nose. That’s fine. Don’t worry about that. Do maintain your focus on those muscles which you just relaxed. You’ll likely notice a wonderful sense of relaxation spread throughout your abdomen and chest cavity.
Do this three or four times, each time being sure to concentrate on the sensations of relaxation that come from quickly relaxing the muscles of inhalation.
Technique #3: A Wave of Relaxation
With the third technique, imagine the sensations of a warm wave of relaxation gathering at the top of your head with the inhalation. Then, with the exhalation it moves down over your head and neck to your chest, relaxing all the muscles along the way. Then, with your next inhalation, it stops and gathers itself again. And again, with the exhalation, it moves down your torso until you begin your next inhalation, at which point it gathers again.
And so it continues, gathering with the inhalation, moving and relaxing with the exhalation, until it reaches your feet, having relaxed everything along the way.
Technique #4: Peaceful Relaxing Piece by Piece
After setting your intention, doing the relaxed deep breathing and enjoying a nice wave of relaxation, go through each part of your body and relax each one in turn. The places to touch upon are:
| – forehead |
– upper back
– lower back
– lower legs
Put It All Together
And that’s the practice. Enough explanation for now. Give it a try and enjoy the deep relaxation you’ll experience!