Go Deep: Intense Progressive Muscle Relaxation

When you are ready, start to do some longer relaxation exercises.  This is one example, often called progressive muscle relaxation.

In this relaxation you will travel throughout your body, breathing to and relaxing the muscles of your body, one body part at a time.

This is a slower method of relaxation, it will take more time to complete.

The longer relaxation is best done in a reclining position, but that is not essential.  Make sure that you are comfortable, your body supported.  It is best if the environment is quiet.  Sometimes people like soft relaxing music, or some nature sounds, like gently running water or falling rain, in the background.

Start by focusing on your breathing.  Notice the air going into your lungs, and going out.  Be comfortable with those sensations. If you are starting to learn relaxation exercises, you may start with Simple, Short Breathing Meditation.

Starting at the top of your head, breathe to the muscles and the nerves and the bones at the top of your head.photo_44412_20110601

Continue to breathe to the top of your head, and relax the muscles on your head.  Slowly, as you are breathing, focus your attention over your forehead,  then down the back of your head.

Relax the muscles of your face, concentrating on the muscles around your eyes, and breathe to these muscles.  Also breathe to the muscles  around your nose and mouth.  Pay attention to the muscles around your temples, and the side of your head.

Breathe to the muscles around your mouth, relaxing them consciously. You may tighten and relax the muscles of your jaw, then open and close your jaw, and finally, allow your jaw to go slack, allowing your mouth to open, relaxing those muscles. Breathe to your jaw and spend some time here, relaxing the area just below your ears, down along your entire jaw.

Next, be aware of and breathe to the muscles around the back of your neck. Mentally tighten these muscles and then relax them as you breathe to them.  Continue to tighten and then relax the muscles of your mouth and throat, breathing to them and inviting those muscles to relax.

Take a moment and breathe to your entire head, face, neck and throat.  Allow these muscles to relax and enjoy the sensation of rest that the relaxation provides.

Next, breathe to and relax your shoulders. It is easier to tense the muscles of the shoulders for a few seconds, then relax them.  Encourage the muscles to tighten up, then relax as you breathe out.  Enjoy the sensation of your shoulders relaxing and melting as you breathe to them.

Continue down your upper arms tensing the muscles as you breathe in, then relaxing them as you breathe out.  Focus your attention on the muscles lengthening and softening.

Continue to your elbows, softening and lengthening the muscles around your elbows.

Move on to your forearms.  Tighten as you breathe in, and relax as you breathe out. Do the same to the muscles in your wrists.  Breathe to your hands as you tighten and relax the muscles of your hand.  Breathe to and relax each finger.

Take a moment to focus on your entire shoulders, arms, and hands.  Breathe to your shoulders, arms, wrists and hands. Allow them to relax and enjoy that sensation.

Next relax the muscles around your midsection.  Notice how the air feels going in and out of your lungs.  Notice and mentally relax each rib.  Consciously relax your backbone, being aware of the nerves that enter and exit from your spinal cord. Breathe to the muscles of your midsection starting from your armpits and down over your back and stomach down to your hip area.

Breathe to your entire midsection encouraging even more relaxation.

Tighten and relax the muscles of your hips.  Move down your thighs.  Tighten and release the muscles in your thighs. Breathe to them as you relax them.

Calm

Calm

Move to your knees, and tighten the muscles as you breathe in, then relax those muscles as you breathe out. Breathe as you relax the muscles in your lower leg, the calf muscles. Do the same to the muscles in your ankles. Allow the ankles to move around as you breathe to them and relax them.

Relax the muscles in your feet, breathing to the many muscles in the feet.  Breathe to and relax each toe.  Take some time to move your feet around and consciously enjoy the sensation of relaxation in your feet.

Take some time and breathe to the muscles in your hips, legs and feet.  Enjoy the sensation of relaxation in your legs.

Finally, focus on your body as a whole.  You can tense up your entire body as you breathe in, then relax it as you breathe out.

Take a few minutes to enjoy the complete sense of peace and relaxation after this exercise.  Give yourself the gift of time to enjoy this.