Progressive Relaxation

Progressive Relaxation is a technique which involves focusing attention on one specific body part at a time and learning to relax it.

Over the course of several sessions it becomes easier and the relaxation level goes deeper.

Here is a a short and easy progressive relaxation technique. Read through the directions, remember the sequence of body parts, and then find a comfortable place to lie down and practice.

Lay flat on your back on the floor with a rolled up towel to support your neck if you need it.

1. First focus on just your breath as you lay flat on your back. Feel your belly rise with your in-breath and fall with your out-breath. Do this for 10 full breaths.

2. Now bring your attention to your left foot. Just your left foot. As you hold your focus on your left foot, feel your breath coming in and going all the way down to your left foot. As you exhale, feel the breath leaving your foot and coming all the way back up your leg and body and out of your mouth and nose. Repeat for two more full in and out breaths.

3. Move your focus up to you lower left leg. Breath to and from this body part as you hold your focus there for three full breaths.

4. Bring your focus to your upper left leg. Breathe to that part of your body for three full breaths.

5. Now focus on your left hip and left side of your pelvis. Breath for three full breaths holding your focus there.

6. Take your attention now to the right side of your body and down to you right foot. Repeat the process by focusing on first the right foot, then the right lower leg, the right upper leg and the right side of the pelvis and the right hip. Hold the attention on each body part for three full breaths each going slowly in and slowly out.

7. Focus on the entire abdominal area and breathe there for three breaths.

8. Move up to the chest area and breathe there for three breaths.

9. Next breathe to the neck and shoulder area.

10. Then focus on the whole head for three breaths. Then take each part of the head - lips, jaw, cheeks, eyes, forehead, back of head, and neck. Give each of those their own unique focus for three breaths each.

11. Finally bring your awareness to your whole body. Breathe in through the whole front side of the body and out through the back of the body,. Repeat for two more breaths.

12. Lie in stillness for a few moments and be fully present to your body and your breath as you just lie there.

Try this progressive relaxation technique each day for at least three consecutive days. Notice if it affects how you feel for the remainder of the day.

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