Four Minute Relaxation

This mental "journey inside the body" can be used as a "stand-alone" relaxation exercise. It takes about 4 minutes. The notes underneath the instructions originally were meant as a lead for myself (or any trainer) when reading the instructions to a group. The exercise is done sitting upright on a chair with both feet flat on the ground. To get some support sitting upright you might push your bottom into the back of the chair.

At the end of the exercise the eyes are kept closed for a short while. You breathe in deeply and move the fingers and toes playfully. You breathe in deeply again and stretch yourself. After breathing in deeply a third time the eyes are opened. This breathing and stretching serves to reactivate the circulation.

There is no order to actively relax the parts of the body which you are focussing on. Just perceiving passively does the trick! Simply let the relaxation response happen as it comes!

Exercise: a journey on the inside
Resting (30 sec.)
Sit down relaxed keeping an upright position. Close your eyes and enjoy the rest.
(15 sec.)

Accept any perceptions such as noises from the outside as well as thoughts which appear spontaneously, but let them pass by again. Don't ponder on them. Try not to start daydreaming.
(5 sec.)

When anything important comes to your mind simply make a mental note of it so you can come back to it later. Then let the thought pass by like any other thoughts, ideas, or perceptions..
(10 sec.)


Perceiving the hands (40 sec.)
Now lead your attention into the right arm and eventually into the right hand. Your attention is completely devoted to your right hand: how does it feel -
warm or cold?
dry or damp?
heavy or light?
How does it lie there, where do you perceive pressure?
(15 sec.)
Next lead your attention into the left arm, mentally travelling down to the left hand. How does your left hand feel?

warm or cold?
dry or damp?
heavy or light?
How does it lie there, where do you perceive pressure?
(15 sec.)
Possibly you can feel your pulse in the fingertips.Check how your left hand feels compared to the right.
(10 sec.)


Perceiving the feet (40 sec.)
Now lead your attention into the right leg and eventually into the right foot. Your attention is completely devoted to your right foot: how does it feel -

warm or cold?
dry or damp?
How does it touch the ground?
Are the toes streched out or crooked?
(15 sec.)
Next lead your attention into the left leg and eventually into the left foot. Does it feel -

warm or cold?
dry or damp?
How does it touch the ground?
Are the toes streched out or crooked?
(15 sec.)
Compare how both feet feel.
(10 sec.)


Perceiving the face (20 sec.)
Devote your attention to your face:

Are the eyes closed lightly or do you feel a pressure?
How does the jaw feel - relaxed or tense?
Do the lips touch gently or do you press them together?
(25 sec.)

Complete inside journey (60 Sec.)
Now conduct a mental journey through your body.

Start visiting your hands again,
then lead your attention to the face,
next to your neck and shoulders,
to your abdomen and back,
eventually reaching the feet again.
(60 sec.)

Conclusion (50 sec.)
Now terminate your exercise still keeping the eyes closed.
(20 sec.)

Breathe in deeply and move the fingers and toes gently
(10 sec.)
Breathe in deeply again and strech yourself.
(10 sec.)
Breathe in deeply a third time and open your eyes.