Relaxation Program: compact form

This second lesson will take you about half an hour. First you simply go through the given sequence of exercises. Sit on a chair in an upright position, both feet flat on the ground. Now just do the following exercises in a quick order to learn the sequence and how to do it.

1. Right hand and arm make a fist and bend the arm (the muscles must feel real tight)
release
2. Left hand and arm like right hand and arm
release
3. Face close the eyes, lift the eyebrows, clench the teeth, and pull back the corners of the mouth (or just: grimace)
release
4. Shoulders and neck pull the shoulders up and press your head back against their resistance (do not bend the head)
release
5. Chest, back, and belly breathe in deeply and hold your breath, make a hollow back, and tighten the abdominal muscles (if you cannot do this just draw in the belly)
release
6. Right leg pull up the heel, pressing the leg forward and down at the same time
release
7. Left leg like right leg

As for the face muscles find some grimace you can easily reproduce (don't bother to check each muscle group separately). Then repeat these exercises once in a quick succession so you can do them by heart next.

Relaxation Program: second training

Got it? Here is a short checklist. Preferably you should do the exercises with eyes closed. But if you print out the checklist and lay it somewhere near you, you might glimpse at it from time to time.

Tighten each group of muscles and hold the tension for about 5 seconds, then relax for about 30 seconds. While focusing your inner perception on the muscles just exercised you will sense that the process of relaxation progresses a little after releasing the muscles. Let it happen that way and enjoy it. Repeat each exercise once.

At the end keep your eyes closed for a short while and enjoy the rest a little longer. Breathe in deeply and move your fingers and toes playfully. Breathe in deeply again and stretch yourself. Breathe in deeply and open your eyes. Do this at the end of each session. This breathing and stretching shall make sure that your circulation is reactivated. Usually you will feel quite refreshed afterwards.

Before you now actually start, close your eyes and enjoy the rest for a minute or so. Accept any perceptions or emerging thoughts but let them pass by like leaves floating on a creek. Do not ponder or brood, try not to start daydreaming. If some important idea comes up you can come back to it later, when your exercise is finished. Okay? Now start tensing and relaxing the muscle groups in the order you just have trained.

Relaxation Program: practice

Within the next week you should practice this succession of exercises each day. Find a convenient time for your training. Usually the best times are either in the morning before breakfast or in the evening before dinner or supper. Never directly after meals! Regular practice is more important than frequency. (This is why I recommend to practice only once per day while most colleagues will tell you do practice twice. Many people give up too early because they somehow don't manage to find two training times each day. Others do their exercises four or five times at the weekends but never within the week. Rather practice a little less but regularly!)

The last lesson will teach you the short form of the Progressive Muscle Relaxation and also give you some additional hints.

© Material on this page provided by Bernd Harmsen 1996-1999