Progressive Relaxation - Woman laying on a mat

Progressive Relaxation, Option II:

The below technique can be approached a bit differently. Remember that one of the important guidelines is to make it up and have it be easy and fun, so feel free to tailor your practice so that it works for you. This may be done either sitting or lying down. The breath is full and relaxed, not urgent. On each exhalation deeply relax and silently affirm the following to yourself:

  1. Now my thighs are relaxed.
  2. Now my feet are relaxed.
  3. Now my calves are relaxed.
  4. Now my buttocks are relaxed.
  5. Now my hands are relaxed.
  6. Now my arms are relaxed.
  7. Now my abdomen is relaxed.
  8. Now my chest is relaxed.
  9. Now my back is relaxed.
  10. Now my shoulders are relaxed.
  11. Now my neck is relaxed.
  12. Now my face and jaw are relaxed.
  13. Now my eyes are relaxed.
  14. Now my temples and forehead are relaxed.
  15. Now my scalp is relaxed.
  16. Now my head is relaxed.

Notice this is just 16 deep breaths, not a great deal of time out of your day. For a super brief, nevertheless remarkable, dose of the most profound medicine we can get. Cut this sequence to 6-8 breaths with a whole body scanning and release of tension. Apply it while waiting in the line at the bank, while on hold with the insurance company, sitting in the dentist’s chair, and while at your work. It happens fast, no one knows but you and the benefits over time are significant.

Application Suggestions:

  • Health maintenance: 3 to 6 sessions per day.
  • Health enhancement: 6 to 10 sessions per day.
  • Disease intervention: Start slowly and build up to 15 to 20 sessions per day.
  • Getting intervention: 2 to 3 sessions per day. Notice how easy this can be. Confirm the simple but extraordinary value of this practice by doing it , vigilantly, for a couple or weeks, then spread the word.

This procedure includes 16 stations or points of awareness and is very simple and brief. It can be done with many more awareness points and may include focusing on each finger and toe, segments of the arms and legs, joints, individual organs, etc. (30 to 70 stations). In the Chinese tradition where energy pathways and points are accepted aspects of the body, attention is drawn to specific energy areas as the rhythm of the breath continues. In India the chakras or energy centers related to the endocrine organs and neurological complexes are the focus of attention as the practitioner goes deeper into a state of relaxation.

When you have been through each station and feel you could benefit from a deeper level of relaxation, go through again. When you feel you have attained a significantly deep state of relaxation turn your attention to inner healing. If the gastrointestinal system is a part of your health challenge then to bring awareness to that area of the body will add to the benefit of the relaxation session. Imagine and picture the gastrointestinal system operating optimally.

Acknowledge that the stomach and the intestines are charged with the life-force that they need. See them, in your mind’s eye, glowing radiantly with vitality.

Following the initial relaxation process, if you have cold hands or if discomfort in your hands is more severe as in Raynaud’s disease or Scleroderma, bring your awareness to your hands. Imagine that your hands are in the sun. resting beside you as you rest comfortably at the beach. Actually feel heat in your hands. In your mind’s eye see the capillaries, small blood vessels, become large tubes that carry large volume of warm blood from the center of the body to the periphery. Patients with serious circulatory disorders have, with this simple technique, learned to control the blood flow to various parts of the body.

If your heart needs healing then, following the preliminary relaxation, bring your awareness to the heart. If headaches are your major discomfort, bring the focus to the head. Or, if it is clear to you that the head pain is caused by too much tension or blood flow in the upper body, then bring the awareness to the hands and feet. See the veins, arteries and capillaries as big as pipes, rather than as tiny vessels. While the image of pipes carrying massive amounts of blood to the hands and feet may seem extreme, it is a powerful image that has helped many people.

The ability to consciously remove blood from one part of the body to another, slow heart rate, warm the hands, reduce oxygen consumption, etc, are called “voluntary physiological controls”. These are skills that are typical to yogis, fakirs, magicians and Qigong masters, It has been found, by scientific research that learning to apply the preliminary levels of these skills is a profound healing tool that has a significant effect on some major diseases.

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Written by Roger Jahnke OMD

Explore Wellness in 2021