Relaxation Sample 2 Exercise
Text for the audio file "Relaxation Sample 2"
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This is an active exercise. I will ask you to tense some specific muscles while letting your other muscles relax. Focus your attention on the feelings of tension that come from those tensed muscles. Then I'll ask you to release the tensed muscles all at once and notice how those muscles feel as you allow them to relax more and more. You will learn to become aware of the difference between tension and relaxation and you will learn to just let yourself relax more deeply when you need to, any time, any place.
Gently shift your attention to your hand lying in your lap. Clench your fists. While holding them clenched, pull your forearms up against your upper arms as far as you can. Pull, your forearms up tight enough so you can feel, the large muscle in your upper arms, the bicep, tighten. Hold it. Relax; just let your arms flop down into your lap, and notice the difference between tension and relaxation. With practice, you will learn to just allow yourself relax more deeply when you need to.
Gently shift your attention to your head and raise your eyebrows. At the same time, imagine moving your scalp down to meet your eyebrows. Don't worry if you can't feel your scalp; many people can't. Release that tension all at once, now. Just allow your forehead to smooth out.
Once again, raise your eyebrows and feel the muscles that are tense. Now try to let about half of the tension go from your forehead while keeping the remaining tension at a constant, even level. Now, let half of that tension go and hold the remaining tension steady. And release half of that; half of that, so you are maintaining just a tiny level of tension. And let all of that tension go. Learning to relax the forehead can be a key to relaxing much of the rest of your body even though you may not feel that the forehead muscle is tense.
Now, tense all the muscles in your body, but do them in this sequence. Raise your toes tip as if to touch your shins and hold that while tensing your thighs, your buttocks. Take a deep breath and hold it. Clench your fists and tighten your upper arms. Grit your teeth and close your eyes tight. Hold it so you're tense all over. Now, let go all at once. Don't ease off, but just let go and feel the tension leaving your body.
Now, let's go back to Sample Number 1. You can become more relaxed by taking in a deep breath, holding it for a count of 4 and then letting it out. As you let it out, think "Calm". Once again, take a deep breath; hold it ; as you let it out, think and feel "Calm".
Continue breathing normally and with each exhalation think or hear yourself mentally say "Calm".
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