will take you on the first stage of learning to reduce
your physical tension. This is a crucial skill in
mastering your body's Fight/Flight response. Once
you have mastered this skill you can use it often
to refresh your body and spirit. You won't always
need to go through the entire exercise, once you have
mastered the skill you will be able to close your
eyes and go directly to the relaxed state. Do this
frequently, whenever you realize your body is tense.
The Fight/Flight Response is triggered whenever we
perceive a threat to our well being. Our bodies can't
tell the difference if the threat is physical or emotional,
so it will activate at the slightest provocation.
Unfortunately, our world is filled with these provocations
so we will often experience the response. The effect
of this is cumulative and destructive. This exercise
turns off the response, you can't be tense and relaxed
at the same time, so as to help your body heal and
recover from the damage it experiences from our pressured
You can learn this skill in a variety of ways. The
best is through Biofeedback, this uses sensors that
report how various bodily systems are functioning.
These sensors display information about the system,
usually on a computer screen, so you can learn to
regulate them. Another way is by practicing Relaxation
exercises, often by listening to CDs which have music
and guided imagery/relaxation training content. Excellent
sources of both are available from the Wild Divine
Project which Deepak Chopra has contributed to. When
you click on the banner below you will be taken to
a web page describing the biofeedback system designed
for you to use at home.
If you are interested in Relaxation CDs, after you
have clicked on the banner you will be taken to a
page where you can click on the words "The Journey
To The Wild Divine" in the upper left hand corner.
This will take you another page where you can click
on "Shop". This will take you to list of
products, scroll down to find "Anna Coy's: The
Whole Body Breathing Series". This set of four
CDs takes you through four stages of Relaxation.
The players shown above will allow you
to listen to two different relaxation exercises. Each
one takes about fifteen minutes. Try each one and
then use the one you like the most frequently.
If you prefer you can make your own relaxation exercise.
Try tape recording the following script and then play
it back for yourself often:
Place your feet flat on the floor, close your eyes,
and relax your limbs. Move around until every part
of your body is supported and tension is minimized.
Good posture, including a straight spine, is best.
Begin by focusing on your face and feeling any tension
in the muscles of your head...your scalp...across
your forehead...around your eyes...your nose...your
cheeks...your mouth...your tongue...your jaw. (pause)
Make a mental picture of this tension. It may be a
metal band around your head, a burning piece of coal
behind your eyes, or a tight clamp on your jaw. (pause)
Now mentally picture your symbol of tension relaxing.
The metal band becomes a crown of soft feathers, the
burning coal becomes beautifully cool, or the tight
clamp loosens. (pause) Experience the muscles of your
head becoming relaxed. (pause) As they relax, feel
a wave of warm relaxation spreading throughout your
body. (pause) Contract the muscles of your head...wrinkle
your forehead, scalp, nose, and cheeks...squeeze your
eyelids together...open your mouth wide and stick
out your tongue. Maintain this state of tension for
about seven seconds, and then relax. (pause) Feel
the relaxation deepening in your body. (pause)
Now let your self concentrate on your neck and shoulders
and feel any tension in these muscles. (pause) Make
a mental picture of this tension.. (pause) Now mentally
picture the symbol of tension relaxing. (pause) Experience
the muscles of your neck and shoulders becoming more
relaxed, warm, and heavy. (pause) As they relax, feel
your body becoming more relaxed, warm, and heavy.
(pause) Tense the muscles of your neck and shoulders
by drawing your shoulders upward toward your neck,
squeezing tightly for about seven seconds. Then relax,
feeling the relaxation moving through your body. (pause)
Now bring your attention to your arms and hands and
notice any tension in these muscles. (pause) Make
a mental picture of this tension. (pause) Experience
the muscles of your arms and hands becoming relaxed,
warm, and heavy. (pause) As they relax, let your body
slip deeper into peaceful relaxation. (pause) Now
tense the muscles of your hands and arms by making
fists and flexing your biceps. Hold this pose for
about seven seconds and then relax, letting your arms
flop down, pulled by the force of gravity, very heavy
and very relaxed. Study the feeling of relaxation,
heaviness, and warmth, in your arms and hands and
notice that the rest of your body is becoming more
and more relaxed. (pause)
Next focus on your breathing. (pause) Note any tension
in the front of your torso...your chest...your lungs...your
stomach...your intestines. (pause) Make a mental picture
of this tension. (pause) Mentally imagine the symbol
of tension relaxing. (pause) As the muscles of your
torso become even more relaxed, feel a wave of warm
relaxation spreading out through your entire body.
(pause) Take a deep, slow breath, filling first the
bottom of your lungs, then the middle, then the top...and
slowly exhale. Inhale slowly again,..this time hold
your breath until it just begins to feel uncomfortable
and then exhale forcefully through your mouth. Experience
a wave of warm relaxation through your body as you
continue to breathe slowly and deeply.
Now notice your buttocks, thighs, calves, and feet,
and feel any tension in these muscles. (pause) Make
a mental picture of this tension. (pause) Now mentally
picture the symbol of tension relaxing and becoming
comfortable. (pause) Experience the muscles of your
buttocks, thighs, calves, and feet becoming heavy,
warm, and relaxed, along with the rest of your body.
(pause) Now contract the muscles of your buttocks,
thighs, calves, and feet by raising your legs straight
out in front of you and pointing your toes toward
you and squeezing your muscles tightly for seven seconds.
Then relax, letting your feet fall slowly to the floor.
(pause) Study the sensations of warm relaxation and
heaviness. (pause) Now raise your legs straight out
in front of you again, this time curling your toes
under and tightening the muscles of your buttocks,
thighs and calves for seven seconds. Then let your
legs fall to the floor again. Notice how relaxed,
heavy, and warm they are. (pause)
Now you will use visualization to directly relax your
mind. Imagine an escalator that leads down to a wonderfully
pleasant place. In your mind's eye, reach out and
grasp the railing and step on. As you slowly descend,
count backward from ten to one: ten...nine...eight...seven...six...five...four...three...two...one.
Step off the escalator and notice the path in front
of you. Follow it to a pleasant place of your own
choosing that is totally comfortable for you. It may
be by some water, in the mountains, in your home,
in a museum, or even in the clouds. It may be a place
you have been, or would like to go. or would like
to create beyond the boundaries of reality. (pause)
Mentally fill in the details of shape, color, lighting,
temperature, sound, texture, taste, and smell...Explore
your special place. (pause) In your mind's eye look
at your hands and feet and notice what you are wearing.
Note how you are feeling in this special place, and
relax even more. (pause) Continue to imagine yourself
relaxed in this very comfortable place for a little
When you are ready to return from your special place,
imagine returning to the escalator. (pause) Reach
out and grasp the railing and step on. As you ascend,
count to ten slowly: one...two...three...four...five...six...seven...eight...nine...ten.
when you reach ten and arrive back at the here-and-now,
open your eyes.
From Thoughts & Feelings
by McKay, Davis, Fanning