While I was attending a relaxation and meditation seminar, we were encouraged to take what the speaker had shown us and come up with our own form of deep muscle relaxation. This is what I ended up with, thanks to the guidance and teaching of  Dr. Terry. It works very well for me.  You can change it to suit your needs as you see fit.

With your eyelids partially closed, adopt an attitude of passive volition.  Let it happen.  Assume the "rag doll" ¹ posture while laying on the floor.  If your mind wanders, gently bring it back but don't be concerned about it.

15 steps to deep muscle relaxation

  • Allow the room and to become quiet.  Do your best to get very comfortable.  Focus on your breathing, letting it gradually slow down. 
  • Let each breath become slower and deeper.  As you do, let your mind focus on the air as it comes in and as it goes back out.  Let all the air out so you can take deeper, slower breaths.  Become aware of your body and how it feels.
    1. As your awareness deepens, become aware of your right hand.  Notice how it feels.  Keeping all the other body muscles relaxed, make a white knuckle fist with your right hand.  Hold it for three to five seconds.  Sense the tension building and then let it go.  Feel the tension leaving.  Repeat this several times.  Note the difference as your hand becomes relaxed and loose.  Feel the relaxation.
    2. Gradually move up the arm.  Focus and bend your wrist.  (Follow the same procedure as in step "1").  Then move to the bicep, bending it, and the tricep pushing your arm down into the floor each time following the procedure described in step "a".
  • Now shift your attention to your left hand, keeping all other body muscles relaxed.  Repeat the procedure with the left hand and arm that you used in step "1".  You are doing very well.  Feel the area as it gets peaceful, smooth and comfortable. 
  • Now shift your attention to your left hand, keeping all other body muscles relaxed.  Repeat the procedure with the left hand and arm that you used in step "1".  You are doing very well.  Feel the area as it gets peaceful, smooth and comfortable.
  • Take a moment to sense both hands and arms.  Note the nice, relaxed, smooth feeling.
  • Now shift your attention to your right foot.  Keeping all other body muscled relaxed, pull your right foot and toes back towards you.  Hold this for three to five seconds.  You should be able to sense the tension building.  Let it go.  Sense the tension leaving.  Repeat this several times.  Noting the difference as your foot becomes loose and relaxed, feel the deep relaxation.
  • Gradually move up your leg.  Focus on the bend in your ankle,. following the same procedure as in "5".  Move to the knee (bending) and hips (tightening the muscles in your (buttocks), then to the small of your back (arching).  Each time, follow the procedure as you did in step "5".
  • Repeat this procedure with the left foot and knee muscles as you did in step "6".
  • Take a moment to sense both feet and legs.  Notice the nice feeling of the deep relaxation.
  • Now shift your attention to your abdomen.  Keeping all other body muscles relaxed, pull all your abdomen muscles in tightly as feel your organs tense.  Hold for three to five seconds until you sense the tension building.  Then let your abdomen relax while feeling the tension flowing out and the relaxation flowing in.  Repeat this several times.
  • Now shift your attention to your chestInhale deeply.  Follow the same procedure as you did in step "9".
  • Now shift your attention to your back.  Notice how it feels.  Keeping all other body muscles relaxed and your breathing calm and regular, pull your shoulders straight back while gently arching your upper back, and allow your abdomen and pelvis to move forward.  Hold for three to five seconds until you sense the tension building.  Then relax your back as you feel the tension flowing out and the deep relaxation flowing in.  Let your entire body be loose and limp, heavy, and relaxed.
  • Now shift your attention to your neck.  Raise your head.  Feel the tension in your neck.  Hold this for three to five seconds.  Quickly, let it go.  You will notice the tension flowing out of your neck.
  • Now without opening your eyes fully, raise your eyebrows.  Feel the tension all the way to the top of your scalp.  Let it go.  Sense the relaxed and peaceful feeling.
  • Now frown, pulling your eyebrows together.  Make wrinkles as deep as you can.  Repeat this several times.  Let it go and feel the wave of relaxation all the way down to your toes.
  • Once again, review your body.  Make sure you like each part.  Be very relaxed.
  • The final step is to count slowly from one to five.  On the count of five, take a deep breath.  On the inhale say:  "my mind is alert and wide awake".  Open your eyes widely.  Exhale saying: "relaxed and refreshed".  Gently stretch all of your muscles.  Then slowly get up feeling alert and very refreshed.

1 Relax your body. Slow down and let go! Systematically relax all parts of your body - so you become like a rag doll. Go floppy. Doing this replaces the normal tendency to try to fight the sensations by tensing your muscles or ‘freezing’.


Terry M.D., Dr. Jonathon. "Exploring relaxation and meditation.." . , . 10 May 2004.



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