With Progressive Relaxation, you tense, then relax various parts of the body, part by part. This is based upon the very simple procedure of comparing tension against relaxation, much like yoga.
Since you generally have very little awareness of the sensation of relaxation, you first tense a set of muscles as hard as you can until you feel real tension, even tenderness and pain in the muscles.
Then you allow those muscles to relax, and try to become aware of, to feel internally, the difference between tension and relaxation.
- Lie flat on your back, with your feet about two feet apart and your arms a few inches from your sides, palms up.
- First think of the right leg. Slowly raise that leg off the floor. Hold it fully tensed. Point the toes,move the ankle.Concentrate on that leg, trying to keep the rest of the body relaxed.
- After a few seconds relax the muscles of that leg, letting it fall to the floor. Shake the leg gently from side to side, relax it fully, and forget about the existence of this leg.
- Repeat the same process with the left leg, then with each arm.
- Next, bring the mind to the muscles of the pelvis, buttocks, anus and abdomen. Tense them, squeeze the buttocks together, then push the stomach muscles toward the floor.
- Now relax. Move up to the chest and shoulder area. Raise the body up slightly, drawing the shoulder blades close together, stretching the chest upward.
- Hold for a few seconds, then let the chest area sink down, relaxed.
- Lift the head off the floor about one inch. Slowly turn the head from side to side three times, then stop at the center and let it down gently.
- Now turn the head from side to side while it is on the floor, then let it relax.
- Coming to the facial muscles, squeeze them all together, pouting, wrinkling the nose, squinting the eyes, gritting the teeth, making big chewing movements.
- Let the facial muscles relax.
Now that you have relaxed all the muscles of the body, allow your mind to go over the entire body, searching for any spots of tension.
If you come across tension anywhere, mentally concentrate on this part and will it to relax. You can tense and relax any part again if it is needed.
This is complete relaxation. After a few minutes, you may stretch, gently imagine that fresh energy is entering into each part of the body, then slowly sit up.
In my book you will find much more information about how to counteract stress and maintain a healthful state of relaxation, so useful in avoiding epileaptic seizures.
This is not just theory - I only share information with you that has proved useful to me.