Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Sitting in a comfortable position in a chair with your feet on the floor, or in a laying down position, straighten your spine, square your shoulders and begin to focus on your breathing. Taking a long cleansing breath in and then exhaling with a sigh. And now and taking one or two more more cleansing breath, breathing in deeply and fully, and sighing as you exhale. Now, softening the eyes and closing them or looking at a space in front of you, breathing naturally, turning your attention to your body. Noticing any pockets of tension you are holding onto in your body. Just making yourself aware of where you hold tension in the body. Now, we will begin to address particular parts of the body, tensing and releasing these different muscles, noticing how they feel when they are tense, and then how they feel when they are relaxed and softened.

Beginning with the forehead, the space between your temples, raising your eyebrows on an inhale, holding that, then releasing on the exhale. Taking notice of those muscles in the brow, relaxing and softening. Now, moving down to the jaw, clenching the jaw on your next inhale, and holding that tension for a few seconds, then slowly exhale and release. Taking notice of the looseness of the jaw, the softening and relaxing of the jaw. Breathing and softening. Moving your attention down the neck and to the shoulders, raising the shoulders to your ears on the next inhale, holding that position, and now on the exhale releasing the shoulders. Notice the heaviness and stillness in the shoulders. Becoming more aware of the body, the tensing and relaxing of the body. Now moving down the arms and making a fist on the next inhale. Holding the fist for a few seconds, and now releasing the hand, relaxing the fingers and feeling the tension run out of the body. Moving your attention down to your legs, pushing the knees together, creating a tension in the thigh, and holding that during the next inhale, now exhaling and releasing the legs, noticing the heaviness of the legs, the stillness of the legs. Now, moving your attention to the feet, flexing the feet and spreading the toes, inhaling and holding the feet. Exhale and release the feet, relaxing the toes. Noticing now your body relaxed and the tension fleeing from your body. With each breath the body  becoming more still and the mind more quiet. Breathing in stillness, sinking into the cushion.

When you are ready, slowly bring movement back to the body, moving your fingers, your toes, moving, your legs and arms just slightly. Now, opening the eyes and returning to the room, to the space, noticing the room around you.

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