This is a basic relaxation practice that evolves over time. As the mind becomes stronger and your capacity to concentrate increases, the relaxation of the body, breath and mind become deeper and even more enjoyable.

Click here for guided practice: Systematic Progressive Relaxation

Click here for guided practice: Blue Star deep shavasana relaxation

Find a quiet place (not your bed) where you can be undisturbed for about 10 minutes. Lie comfortably in shavasana. Be aware of your entire body from head to toes and toes to head.  Let the body settle into the floor.  Observe the breath at the navel center for a moment. Allow the stomach muscles to relax and the breath to be even, smooth and relaxed. Focus your awareness on the internal world, letting go of thoughts and worries about the external world for the duration of this practice.

Bring the mind through the body in the following order. As you bring the mind to each part of the body, relax the muscles and let go of any holding or tension. Bring your mind from one part to the next in sequence.  Try not to let yourself drift off into sleep or follow a train of thoughts and be distracted. As soon as you notice this has happened, bring your mind back to the body, the breath and the practice. You may find it helpful to tape these instructions leaving a pause of a few breaths between each area.

Now let go of the breath and bring your awareness to the crown of the head. . Relax the scalp … forehead … eyebrows and eyelids, the corners of the eyes and the eyes themselves … Keep the forehead, eyebrows and eyes relaxed as you soften the muscles of the cheeks. Observe the flow of breath in the nostrils – the warm moist exhalation, the coolness of the inhalation, the smooth even quality of the breath.  Let go of the breath and relax the mouth, corners of the mouth, the lips and the tongue … hinges of the jaw …  front of the neck to the pit of the throat … sides of the neck and allow this warm softness to flow down over the shoulders … upper arms … lower arms … hands … fingers all the way to the fingertips …

For a moment, breath as though you are inhaling from the fingers to the crown of the head and exhaling from the crown of the head, allowing the breath to relax and flow through the neck, shoulders, arms and flow out through the fingertips.  Let the breath go and bring your awareness to the joints of the fingers and hands … wrists … elbows … shoulders.  Now relax the large muscles of the back and the chest, stopping for a moment at the heart center.  Relax the stomach … navel center. Observe the wave of the breath at the navel center then continue to the lower abdomen … hip area … thighs … calves … feet all the way to the tips of the toes.  Breath as though you are inhaling through the soles of the feet, allowing the mind to flow with the breath through the body to the top of the head.  Exhale smoothly letting the mind flow back through the body and release out through the soles of the feet.  Continue this breath awareness for several breaths, letting the exhalation cleanse and release any holding or fatigue from the body and the inhalation nourish and nurture the body.

Let go of the breath and bring the mind to the joints of the feet … ankles … knees … hip joints … tailbone and slowly up the spine through the lower back … mid back behind the shoulder blades … top of the back … neck … then back to the top of the head.

Be aware of your entire body from head to toes and toes to head.  Enjoy the stillness and ease of the body and breath for a few moments before completing the practice.  When ready, slowly wiggle the toes and fingertips. Then bend the knees and turn onto your left side, supporting your head with your arm. Breathe and watch the flow of the breath in the right nostril for at least seven breaths before coming up to sitting.  Sit for as long as you like or move into meditation.

Contact: Lynn Fraser