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Breathing ?
Which of the following health conditions is not directly benefited by breathing exercises?
High blood pressure


 Progressive Relaxation, Option I: 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled The Healer Within by . View all columns in series
Mentally bring your awareness to and then consciously relax each part of you body, progressively, from the feet all the way up to your head. Your breath should be full and relaxed.
  • In a comfortable lying position, close your eyes and take 10 slow deep breaths.

  • Bring your awareness to your right leg. Inhale deeply and lift leg up slightly tensing the foot and leg. Tense up tighter. Exhale and let the leg drop gently. Roll the leg from side to side and relax. Repeat the same for the left leg and foot.

  • Now raise and tense your arm and make our hand into a fist. Tense up and hold. Exhale and drop the arm. Roll the right arm from side to side. Repeat with the left arm.

  • Now contract the buttocks. Tighten and release tension. Inhale and fill the abdomen with air, as if you were filling up a balloon. Hold one moment and then exhale fully out of the mouth.

  • Bring the shoulder blades together in back. Squeeze tightly and release.

  • Bring both shoulders up to your ears. Hold them up. Exhale and let them down. Repeat 3 times. Now push shoulders downward. Hold and release.

  • Tighten the facial muscles. Make your face like a prune. Squeeze tightly. Exhale and release tension.

  • Roll the neck gently from side to side.

Application Suggestions:

  • Health maintenance: 1 to 2 sessions per day.

  • Health enhancement: 2 to 5 sessions per day.

  • Disease intervention: Start slowly and build up to 10 sessions per day.

  • Getting started: 1 to 2 session per day. Really turn your attention toward gaining a sensation, a genuine perception of the circulation of the blood and energy in your body.

This technique is perfect for those of you who wish to tap the benefits of the self-applied methods but have little prior experience. In every tradition where techniques have been refined over thousands of years to enhance health, it is always notable that the distracted mind is one of the great challenges to the practice. Even the great meditation masters call their daily system of quieting the mind a "practice". It is not a finished product it is a "practice".

This indicates that even the experts are constantly practicing toward successful quieting of the mind and body. This particular technique assure a genuine state of relaxation by actually involving the body parts. In other techniques it is possible to wander to other thoughts because just the mind is involved and it is hard to be conscious of being unconscious. It is fairly obvious, when the next gesture is to contract the muscles in the arm, if you aren't doing it. You have to have said, "I think I'll stop this process." This technique is also excellent for people who have learned some type of relaxation exercise but are struggling to apply it successfully.

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 About The Author
Roger Jahnke has been in the health field since 1967 beginning with body therapies, herbal medicine, Tai Chi, Yoga and meditation. He turned his attention seriously to Oriental medicine in 1972 with study at the North......moreRoger Jahnke OMD
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