Basic Relaxation Exercises #1

Tensions/Release Exercise

This simple technique can lay the groundwork for many mediations. It can also serve as a complete meditation in itself.

Sit in a comfortable position, either in a half-lotus posture on a cushion or upright on a comfortable, straight-backed chair.

Become aware of your breathing. Gradually, slow down your breathing rate, taking deeper, more rhythmic breaths.

When you exhale, say the word "peace" aloud or use another word with peaceful connotations, such as shanti or shalom. A goal in breath rate would be a count of six as you inhale, and a count of six when you exhale.

Be aware of any tension in your body; silently scan your face, neck, shoulders, chest, arms, hands, hands, stomach, pelvis, legs, and feet to perceive any areas of tension. 

If you come upon an area that is tense, direct your calming breath to that area.

When you inhale, visualize the breath moving towards the tense area, and bathing it with warmth and calming energy. As you exhale, visualize the tension leaving that part of your body. Continue this process until your body is completely relaxed.