This is another extremely simple method that initiates the relaxation response. Begin by taking slow deep breaths. Repeat these messages to yourself:
- “My hands and arms are heavy and warm” (5 times).
- “My feet and legs are heavy and warm” (5 times).
- “My abdomen is warm and comfortable” (5 times).
- “My breathing is deep and even” (10 times).
- “My heartbeat is calm and regular” (10 times).
- “My forehead is cool” (5 times).
- “When I open my eyes, I will remain relaxed and refreshed” (3 times).
- Health maintenance: 2 to 3 sessions per day.
- Health enhancement: 6 to 10 sessions per day.
- Disease intervention: Start slowly and build up to 10 to 15 sessions per day. Until you are well you have time to do this.
- Getting started: 2 to 3 sessions per day.
Because we are generally addicted to complexity and busyness, reaching a state of authentic relaxation is a challenge. Many of us are locked into worry, hurry, overwork and compulsive behaviors and the mind is very difficult to quit. The beauty of these progressive relaxation processes is their simplicity and their ability to allow the mind to have an easy focus. When the attention wanders off of the process one need only return to the breath and the sequence of awareness points.
In contrast to meditation which, in many traditions, attempts to empty the mind with accompanying images, any one, including young children, harried executives or older individuals whose habits are more deeply set can benefit from this exercise.
There are a number of advanced relaxation and meditation methods which include concentration, focus, intention and visualization that are used to regulate the body function, move the Qi or energy to specific areas of the body and even project the energy outside the body. These methods accelerate the individual’s health and personal development practice to a greater level of power and refinement. Two such methods, “the circulation of the light in the microcosmic orbit to refine the energy body” and the “marrow washing practice” will be revealed in the advanced practice section .
Clearly, breath practice and relaxation practice enhance one another. You are in charge of how to bring these together. Remember to invent your own practice and have it be run, even inspiring. In China, breath, relaxation and movement are merged together to create Qigong in its many different forms including Tai Chi.
Commit yourself to mastering these practices. They are, at their least, incredible healing tools that you can use right away for no cost to help you to rehabilitate your health and literally regenerate temporarily deficient and exhausted tissues, glands and organs. At their greatest, they are the seed skills for enhanced mental and physical capability and they are the foundation tools for spiritual growth.