How to Perform Deep Relaxation Meditation - dummies

By Stephan Bodian, Dean Ornish

Here’s a meditation you can do any time you have 15 or 20 minutes to spare and want to shed some of the tension you’ve accumulated in your busy life. It’s also a great way to prepare for the other meditations because it leaves you feeling relaxed, refreshed, and in touch with yourself.

  1. Find a comfortable place to lie down, like on a bed or on the floor. Take off your shoes, loosen your belt and other tight clothing, and stretch out on your back with your arms resting at your sides, legs slightly apart.

  2. Sense your body as a whole, including the places where it contacts the surface of the bed or floor.

  3. Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your feet. Wiggle your toes, flex your feet, and then let go of all tension as much as you can, allowing your feet to melt into the floor.

  4. Shift your awareness to your lower legs, thighs, and hips. Imagine them becoming heavy and relaxed and melting into the floor.

    If the image of melting doesn’t appeal to you, you might try dissolving, sinking, or disappearing.

  5. Bring your awareness to your lower abdomen. Imagine all tension draining away, your breath deepening, and your belly opening and softening.

  6. Bring your awareness to your upper abdomen, chest, neck, and throat, feeling the areas opening and softening.

  7. Bring your awareness to your shoulders, upper arms, lower arms, and hands. Imagine them becoming heavy and relaxed and melting into the floor.

  8. Bring your awareness to your head and face. Feel the tension melting away from your face, across your head and into the floor.

  9. Scan your body from head to toe, searching for any remaining areas of tension or discomfort.

    If you find any, just imagine them relaxing completely.

  10. Experience your body as one field of relaxation, without parts or edges.

  11. Continue to rest in this way for five or ten minutes more; then very slowly begin to wiggle your fingers and toes, stretch your arms and legs, open your eyes, and gradually come up to a sitting position.

Check in with yourself and notice how you feel. Do you feel more relaxed? Does your body feel lighter or more expanded? Does the world appear different in any way? Now gently get up and go about your day.