Start by getting into a comfortable position. Sit with your feet flat on the floor, legs uncrossed, and your hands resting comfortably at your side or on your lap. Or, lie down with your legs outstretched and your arms comfortably by your side. Close your eyes.
Begin by noticing your breathing, making sure your abdomen (not your chest) rises and falls with each breath. Breathe slowly, and pause after each breath. As your breathing becomes more relaxed and restful, concentrate on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Feel yourself becoming more relaxed with each breath.
Next, tense the muscles in your face by squeezing your eyes shut and clinching your teeth, holding that face as tight as you can for four seconds. Then release the muscles in your face, and feel your face soften. Repeat the tense face and relaxation two more times. With each tense and release cycle, you’ll feel your face relax and soften more.
Now move your awareness to your shoulders and neck. Tense these muscles by pressing the shoulders as far as you can towards the ears and holding for a count of four seconds, and then release. Repeat this two more times, relaxing your shoulders and neck more after each cycle.
Notice the difference between a tense muscle and a relaxed muscle as you go through the process. Remember to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth, releasing any residual tension in your face, neck, and shoulders with every breath.
Bring your awareness to the muscles in your arms. Tense the muscles in both of your arms by tightly curling your fists to your shoulders and holding them as if you are lifting weights. Hold this position for four seconds and then release. Do the same thing again two more times. Next, with your upper arms relaxed, make the tightest fist you can. Hold this for four seconds and release; repeat for a total of three times. Feel your arms becoming more heavy and relaxed with each tense/release cycle.
Check back for tension in your face, shoulders, neck, and arms. Feel how relaxed and soft your face is. Notice how there is no tension in your neck, shoulders, and arms. Take three slow breaths, relaxing even more with each breath.
Now notice the muscles in your upper back, around your shoulder blades. Tense the muscles in your upper back by pressing the shoulder blades tightly together and holding for a count of four seconds and then slowly release. Repeat two more times. Notice the difference between tensed muscles and relaxed muscles as you go through the process. With each cycle, you notice it becomes easier and easier to release tension and relax.
Move your focus to the muscles in your abdomen and low back. Tense the muscles in your abdomen by imagining that you are trying to touch your belly button to your spine, and hold for a count of four seconds and then release. Repeat this twice more.
Remember to slowly inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. As you take slow breaths, release any residual tension in your entire upper body. Relax even more with each breath.
Now on to your legs. Squeeze the tops of your thighs to tighten the muscles in your upper legs. Hold for four seconds and then release. Complete three cycles of tensing and relaxing your thighs. Feel your legs becoming heavy and relaxed. Next, pull your toes towards your knees, holding for four seconds, and then release. Repeat this two more times.
Your entire body should now feel very relaxed. Slowly check back to make sure there is no tension in your face, shoulders, arms, abdomen, or legs. Take slow, deep breaths. Notice how good it feels to be completely relaxed!