While sitting in a chair, uncross your legs and place your feet flat on the floor. Allow your arms to rest gently in your lap. Close your eyes or if you’re more comfortable, keep your eyes open and slightly downcast. Become aware of yourself sitting in the chair. Feel your back against the back of the chair, allow your body to sink into it and let it support you. Briefly notice your body and how it’s feeling right now. Are there any muscles that might be tense? Is your heart beating fast? How is your breathing? Is it fast or shallow? Is it hard to get a breath? Just notice it for right now. Take a deep breath, hold it briefly, and let it go with a sigh of relief. Let any other thoughts in your head step aside for now. Bring your attention to your breath. Become aware of how your breath goes in through your nose, down your throat, and into your lungs expanding your belly. Then notice the exhale, of how passive your exhale is. Listen to the sounds that your air makes as it moves in and out. Be aware of your lungs expanding and contracting. Try to have the rhythm of the breath coming in equal that of the breath going out. Repeat this for a few cycles. Keep your breathing slow and rhythmic. If you find yourself distracted, just notice your thought, then let it go, gently bringing your attention back to your breathing. As you do this, continue to listen to your breathing. Start to bring your awareness back to you sitting in the chair stretching your arms and legs as you desire. Bring your awareness back to the room.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Uncross your legs and arms. Close your eyes or if you’re more comfortable, keep your eyes open and slightly downcast. Begin with breath awareness. Put all your attention on your breathing until you begin to relax.
Bring your attention to a part of your body. You may start with your feet or your hands or your head. Begin to focus your attention on that part of your body. Continue your breathing as your do. Notice what that part of your body feels like. Feel any tension that exists. Allow your mind to connect with that part of your body. Begin to feel that part of you becoming very heavy. Say to yourself, for example, “My hands are very heavy. My hands are very heavy.” Repeat this numerous times. Now, begin to feel warmth spreading into that part of your body. Heaviness and warmth are sensations of relaxation. Say to yourself, “My hands are warm. My hands are warm.” You may then pair the phrases. “My hands are very heavy and warm,” repeating this over until you can feel those sensations. Then slowly move on to the next connected body part, repeating this process.
You can start with your feet and move to your calves, then thighs, then hips, then stomach, then chest, then shoulders, neck, arms, hands, and finally the head and face (which you may wish to do in sections – mouth, cheeks, eyes, forehead). As you connect mentally with each body part, keep your breathing slow and rhythmic. Begin to feel the heaviness and warmth spreading and repeat those phrases at each part.
Another variation is to move through each body part, intentionally tensing that area, holding the tension and then releasing it, consciously relaxing the muscles in each area.
Uncross your legs and arms. Close your eyes or if you’re more comfortable, keep your eyes open and slightly downcast.
Begin with breath awareness. Put all your attention on your breathing until you begin to relax. Scan your body to see if there is any place you are holding tension and let that tension go.
Imagine you are in a place that you love. It can be a place you have been before, a perfect place you make up, or a combination of the two. You feel totally safe there and no one else is allowed to be there. This is your private magical sanctuary. Think of that special place and let it take shape.
As your place begins to take shape in your mind, look around all around you. Notice the textures and shapes and colors. Listen to the sounds of your special place. The temperature is just right…feel it on your skin. You may feel the crunch of leaves or the soft sand beneath your feet. Now take a deep breath through your nose and notice all the aromas around you
You can create anything you want there, any way you want it. This is your special place. Know the sense of certainty. Everything is right, just as it should be. Feel peace and the comfort in this special place.
Take a look around your place and remember it. Remember how you feel when you are there, so you can go back anytime you need or want to. And when you are ready, open your eyes and bring yourself back.
The “Power Pause” – A Quick Mid-Day Retreat
Sit comfortably in a chair. Close your eyes or if you’re more comfortable, keep your eyes open and slightly downcast. Pay attention to your breathing and try to make the rhythm of your inhale equal to the exhale. Slowly, count for yourself from one to ten. As you do, imagine yourself traveling gently down in an elevator to a private place of peace and tranquility.
- * One – just beginning to allow relaxation to spread through your scalp, your face, and your neck
- * Two – going down deeper, more relaxed, down to tranquilit
- * Three – your arms and your hands are relaxing – breathe easy
- * Four – every breath guides you to deeper relaxation, closer to your special place, free from stress and tension
- * Five – down the elevator, allowing your stomach knots to dissolve, deeper relaxation, calmer feelings, comfortable
- * Six – going deeper still, letting go of all cares and worries, buttocks and thighs now relaxing, allowing yourself to let go even more
- * Seven – your legs and feet can join in the growing relaxation, all the way down to the tips of your toes
- * Eight – journeying deeper to your special private place, totally calm, more profoundly relaxed
- * Nine – almost there, drifting comfortably deeper
- * Ten – letting the elevator doors slide open. Step out into your place of calmness and freedom from stress. Enjoy the feelings. Let them soak deep into every part of you. Just let yourself drift with these feelings for a short time.
- * Good – gently let yourself come back up this elevator in your own way, one floor at a time
- * …Nine…Eight…Seven…Six…Five…Four…Three…Two…One…good, bring these calm feelings with you, all the way back to your everyday state of alertness, refreshed and relaxed.
Just 5 minutes a day of total relaxation can reset your body’s immune system and enhance your greater physical, emotional, and spiritual health.