Tension increases pain. This five-minute relaxation exercise can help you let go of physical stress and begin to reduce your sense of suffering. If you enjoy this short relaxation experience, you may want to send for the longer audio version, available in our on-line store.
Narrator: Close your eyes gently, settle down comfortably. Begin by breathing out first; then breathe in easily just as much as you need. Now breathe out slowly with a slight sigh, and as you breathe out feel the tension begin to drain away. Then go back to your ordinary breathing; even, quiet and steady.
Now direct your thoughts to each part of your body; to your muscles and joints. Think first about your left foot. Your toes are relaxed and still. Your foot is resting easily on the floor. Now your right foot, toes, ankles.
Now, think about your legs. Your thighs roll outward when they are relaxed so let them go. Your back muscles will relax when you hold yourself upright and your spine is supported by the back of the chair. Let your abdominal muscles become soft and relaxed. There is no need to hold your tummy in tightly. It rises and falls as you breathe quietly.
Think about the fingers on your left hand; they are curved, limp, quiet and still. Now the fingers on your right hand; relaxed, soft and still. This feeling of relaxation spreads up your arms to your shoulders. Let your shoulders relax, let them drop easily. Your neck muscles will relax if your head is held upright; resting easily balanced on the top of your spine.
Let your face relax. Let the expression come off it. Make sure that your teeth are not held tightly together and let your jaw rest in its relaxed position. Your cheeks are soft because there is no need to keep up an expression. Your lips are soft and hardly touching. Relax your forehead so it feels a little wider and a little higher than before.
Now, instead of thinking of yourself in parts, become aware of the overall sensation of letting go, of quiet and rest. When your muscles are relaxed you begin to feel peaceful, rested and quiet.
Stay like this listening to your breathing for a moment.
Now wiggle your hands and legs a little and open your eyes and sit quietly for a moment.