basic relaxation techniques

Finding Your Own Way

April, 2018

Chapter One in Our New Serialization…

Basic Relaxation Techniques


A certain amount of tension is necessary for our lives. In fact, it is essential! Life requires tension, – as does every enjoyable activity that we can indulge in. There is a joy in handling even simple everyday tasks. There is a sense of achievement in pushing the limits of our strength, speed and endurance.

Even fear can be positive. It prepares us for action and helps us to think faster and act decisively in a crisis. Then, we relax. Everything rests and we return to a normal level of tension.

Or, at least we should.

Many of us don’t. We live in fear. What will my partner say if I work late again? What will my boss do if I do not finish this job in time? What if I fail this exam? What if I cannot pay my bills?

Childhood fears remain below the level of awareness. For some, the fear of hell-fire, or, perhaps separation or maybe the bogeyman that we imagined to be under the bed.

Unexamined childhood fears and traumas cause much of our feeling of unease and feed our tendency to worry about the future. I have noticed that people often feel an emotion first, and then, look around them for a cause to ascribe it to later. We justify our feelings by blaming the people and situations around us. As a result, we cannot fully trust our own judgement until we learn to relax and become more aware of our own habitual feelings.

This first exercise is probably the longest one in the book, – but it quickly becomes streamlined with practice. Just by learning to relax for a short period, we can begin to realize what a normal level of tension should be. Regular practice will quickly allow us to relax at our own command.

The effects are far-reaching, – allowing us to gain control of many situations in which we were previously at the mercy of our emotions, and the manipulation of others. It is also the first step in effective meditation.

Basic Relaxation

This exercise is best carried out, initially, in a lying down position. With practice, it can then be done sitting down. After a while, the reader will be able to relax totally in most situations with a single simple command to relax. A walk in the woods can become a healing meditation.

In the first attempts at relaxing, there is a risk that the reader may fall into a deep, healing sleep.

Make sure that there are no candles burning, or anything that may become a hazard should you do so. Also make sure that you are warm, comfortable and are not going to be disturbed. Turn off your mobile phone and inform anyone in the house that you are unavailable for a while. Wear loose comfortable clothing. Lie flat on your back in a comfortable place. Feel free to use a pillow if it is more comfortable.

Take a deep breath.

As you breathe in, tense your whole body.

Breathe out and say “Relax” in your mind as you let go of the tension.

Breathe in and tense… Breathe out and relax.

Breathe in and tense …. Breathe out and relax.

Repeat this a few more times. Each time, tell yourself to “Relax!”

Allow yourself to breathe slowly and easily

Now turn your attention to your body, starting at your toes.

Wriggle your toes and tense them. Then tell them to relax as you let go of the tension.

Then relax your feet. First one foot, then the other foot, then both feet at the same time.

Tense and relax.

Then your calves, each one, then both. Then tense from the tip of your toes to your calves and relax.

Work your way up to your thighs. Tense and relax.

Again, become aware of your body from your toes to your thighs and tell yourself to “relax!”

Work your way up your torso. Tense and relax.

Then up to your shoulders and down your arms.

Wriggle your fingers, then tense and relax.

Pay careful attention to your neck muscles. Tense and relax.

Then the back of your head, tense and relax.

Then become aware of your facial muscles. Tense and relax.

Then focus on your forehead and the top of your head.

Take a deep breath and tense your whole body.

Then, as you exhale say “Relax!”

Just let everything go.

By this time, you should feel very heavy as if you were melting into the surface beneath you.

Repeat a few times, depending on the time available.

This simple exercise often results in discovering hidden attitudes and fears which are held in the muscles as “memories”. It does this by releasing the habitual tension that holds the energies in place in our bodies. Regular practice can loosen the grip of unconscious negative expectations on our health and interactions with others. I would recommend keeping a diary and noting any dreams or reveries as well as day to day events.

I would also recommend practicing this until it becomes streamlined, before moving on to any of the other meditations.


About the Author:

Finding Your Own Way by Patrick W Kavanagh

Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

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Writer, poet, Patrick W Kavanagh was born in Dublin and now lives and works in Lincolnshire in a small rural town. Patrick became fascinated by the strange abilities of the human mind from watching his mother give psychic readings using tea-leaves and playing cards. With a lifelong interest in metaphysics and parapsychology, he has given tarot and spirit readings for over 40 years. He travels to many events with his wife Tina, exploring the power of shamanic drumming to heal, and induce therapeutic trance states. They also hold a regular drumming circle in the picturesque Lincolnshire Wolds.

Also available at most retailers by Patrick W Kavanagh


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