Uploaded on Aug 21, 2011
Anne Ornish: This exercise is designed to relax the body and promote healing. To support yourself in relaxing deeply and progressively, you can choose to lie on your back or sit on a chair. You can keep your eyes closed or open for the duration of this practice.
Whatever feels good for you, situate yourself so you feel comfortably at ease. You may want to place pillows under the knees and head for more comfort. If you want a pendulum to go to one side, you first pull it to the other side and let it go. The same is true for your body—to fully relax your muscles, it can be helpful to begin by tensing them first.
Begin by inhaling as you gently squeeze the muscles of your right leg. Exhale as you relax. Do the same with the left leg. Inhale and gently squeeze the right arm. Exhale as you relax. Do the same with the left arm. Now, inhale and squeeze the muscles of the buttocks. Exhale as you relax. Inhale. Expand the abdomen. Then let the abdomen completely relax as you exhale through the mouth.
Leaving the arms relaxed at the sides, inhale, bring the shoulders up toward the ears, and exhale as you relax.
Inhale, then bring the shoulders together in front of the chest. Exhale. Relax.
Inhale and push the shoulders toward the feet. Exhale as you relax.
Slowly roll your head from side to side and allow the neck to relax.
Inhale and gently squeeze together all the facial muscles, including the jaw, mouth, eyes and forehead. Squint and blink your eyes so as to softening the small muscles around your eyes, releasing any holding in your jaw, allowing it to hinge slightly open. Exhale and relax.
Using the mind, go through the body, mentally allowing each part of the body to relax even more. You're not actively trying to relax your body; you're just allowing it to relax.
The feet, legs, hips relax.
Hands, arms, shoulders relax.
Buttocks, abdomen, chest, heart, throat relax.
Spine and all the muscles in the back and neck relax.
Allow all the muscles of the face and head to relax.
Now bring the awareness to your breathing. Without trying to change the pattern of breathing, just observe or feel the gentle flow of air as it comes in and out as the body and mind begin to quiet down (about l minute).
Observe what is happening in the mind. Just notice whatever thoughts or feelings come up, let them pass without trying to judge, suppress, or control them. Allow a few minutes of silence to fully enjoy the experience of deep relaxation.
Now, ask your inner wisdom, your inner teacher, to make itself known to you in some way. It's a voice that speaks clearly but quietly. Silently express your appreciation to it for guiding you.
Ask it if there is anything you need to pay attention to that you may have been ignoring. This inner teacher may communicate to you in words, images, symbols, or in other forms. Listen.
Gradually allow the inhalations to become a little deeper with each breath. Imagine that you are breathing in light and healing energy as well as oxygen that is revitalizing and recharging the body and mind. Allow this energy to come in through the head, down the back, spine, and front of the body, the arms to the hands, and the legs to the feet.
After a few minutes, slowly move your fingers and toes, hands and feet. Then gently roll your arms and legs back and forth.
When you are ready, slowly roll over onto the side, bend the knees and then come to a seated position feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Quietly listening to what is there to be heard, dwelling within with the feeling tone of any sensations that are there to be felt...honoring inhabiting your body as a precious temple enshrining your existence...as a divine mirror keeping you alive, alert and informed...continuing to follow the breath as it merges with the currents of energy moving from head to toe...enlivening the experience of your body as a whole.
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