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   BARE BONES INSTRUCTIONS
FOR RELAXATION TECHNIQUES

Contents of this Page

          These links will take you to short, basic instructions for the heart-centering techniques we describe at greater length in the Techniques section of this site. Where applicable, we provide a link to the more detailed description. 

          You may find these brief written instructions are all you need. However, most people find it easier to be guided verbally.  Audios of guided instructions will be available in our Store.

Tense-Release for the Face
Tense-Release for the Whole Body
Body Scan
1-Minute Mindful Relaxation, Whole Body

* Tense-Release for the Face *

Preparation:

  • Get into a comfortable position either sitting up or lying down. 
  • Check to see that you're breathing abdominally and let your breath gradually become slower, gentle, and a little deeper. 
                       (Click here for Abdominal Breathing instructions.)
  • With each exhalation, be willing to let go of whatever you were doing, thinking, or feeling before.  
  • Let your attention rest on the flow of your breath and simply be present with whatever you’re experiencing in the moment.
  • As you tense and release different parts of your face (as explained below), be sure to do so very gently, tensing up only as much as is comfortable for you. 
  • With each part of the face, as you exhale, focus on what your muscles feel like as they let go of tension.

Basic Instructions:

Bring your attention to your forehead.  

  1. Keeping the rest of your face and body relaxed, inhale and gently wrinkle up your forehead.
  2. Hold your breath and feel the tension in your forehead. 
  3. Exhale slowly and release the tension. 
  4. Without tensing, take another deep breath, and as you slowly exhale fully, imagine your forehead is becoming softer and softer.
  5. Again, inhale and gently tense up your forehead. 
  6. Hold it for just a moment.
  7. Exhale and let it go.  
  8. Without tensing up, take another deep breath, and as you slowly exhale fully, continue letting go... as your forehead becomes more and more deeply relaxed. 
  9. Breathe normally and notice the feeling of relaxation in your forehead.

Bring your attention to your eyes.  

  1. Keeping the rest of your face and body relaxed, inhale and gently squint your eyes. 
  2. Hold your breath and feel the tension in your eyes. 
  3. Exhale slowly and release the tension. Feel your eyes softening and expanding. 
  4. Without tensing, take another deep breath, and as you slowly exhale fully, imagine your eyes are becoming softer and softer.
  5. Again, inhale and squint your eyes. 
  6. Hold it for just a moment.
  7. Exhale and let it go.  
  8. Without tensing up, take another deep breath, and as you slowly exhale fully, let your eyelids, eyeballs, and the muscles behind your eyes continue to relax.
  9. Breathe normally and notice the feeling of relaxation in your forehead.

Bring your attention to your cheeks.  

  1. Inhale, and gently raise your cheeks.  
  2. Hold a moment and feel the tension.  
  3. Exhale slowly letting your cheeks release and relax.
  4. Without tensing up, take another deep breath, slowly exhale fully and let your cheeks continue to relax.
  5. Again, inhale, gently scrunching up your cheeks. 
  6. Hold it just a moment.
  7. Now exhale and let your cheeks relax and soften.  
  8. Without tensing up, take another deep breath, and as you slowly exhale. fully, imagine your cheeks are becoming more and more deeply relaxed. 
  9. Breathe normally and observe the feeling of relaxation in your cheeks.

Bring your attention to the area of your mouth and jaw.  

  1. Inhale and gently open your mouth wide. 
  2. Hold it a moment, and feel the tension in your jaw.  
  3. Exhale slowly letting your mouth close until your lips are just slightly parted. 
  4. Without tensing up, take another deep breath. Slowly exhale fully, letting your mouth and jaw continue to relax and let go of tension.
  5. Again, inhale, gently opening your mouth wide. 
  6. Hold it and feel the tension.
  7. Exhale and let it go, letting your mouth and jaw relax and soften.  
  8. Without tensing up, take another deep breath, and as you slowly exhale fully, let your mouth and jaw relax even more.  
  9. Let your breath return to normal and notice the sensations in your jaw.

Bring your attention to your whole face.

  1. Inhale and gently tense your whole face.
  2. Hold it gently – then exhale letting your entire face soften and relax.
  3. Scan your face, noticing any remaining areas of tension.  
  4. Without tensing any muscles, see if you can relax even more deeply, letting go of any remaining tension. You can use your exhalation to help release any tension that you find. 
  5. See if you can let the relaxation spread from your face throughout your whole head – into your scalp, the top of the head, the sides of the head, and the back of the head.
  6. Take a moment to experience how your body feels.  Notice any changes in your state of mind or your emotions. Just be gently present with whatever you're experiencing, without judging what it is (or isn’t).  
  7. When you’re ready to move on to your next activity, see if you can carry the feeling of relaxation with you.

* Tense-Release for the Whole Body *
For more detailed instructions click here.

Preparation:

  • Get into a comfortable position either sitting up or lying down. 
  • Check to see that you're breathing abdominally and let your breath gradually become slower, gentle, and a little deeper.  
                       (Click here for Abdominal Breathing instructions.)
  • With each exhalation, be willing to let go of whatever you were doing, thinking, or feeling before.  
  • Let your attention rest on the flow of your breath and simply be present with whatever you’re experiencing in the moment.
  • As you tense and release different parts of your body (as explained below), be sure to do so very gently, tensing up only as much as is comfortable for you. 
  • With each part of the body, as you exhale, focus on what your muscles feel like as they let go of tension.

Basic Instructions:

Bring your attention to your head

  1. Keeping the rest of your face and body relaxed, inhale and gently tense up your face and scalp. 
  2. Hold your breath and feel the tension in your head. 
  3. Exhale slowly and release the tension. 
  4. Without tensing take another deep breath, and as you slowly exhale fully, imagine your head is getting more relaxed.
  5. Again, inhale and gently tense up your head. 
  6. Hold it for just a moment, then exhale and let it go.  
  7. Without tensing up, take another deep breath, and as you slowly exhale fully, allow your head to become more and more deeply relaxed. 
  8. Breathe normally and observe the sensations in your head and your face.

Shift your attention into your arms – from your shoulders to the tips of your fingers.

  1. Take a deep breath in, and as you do, gently stiffen your arms, making a fist with your hands.  
  2. Hold the breath and the tension for a moment.  
  3. Exhale slowly releasing the tension. 
  4. Again, breathe in, gently tensing both arms.
  5. Hold the breath for a moment, then exhale releasing the tension.  
  6. Breathe in without tensing, and as you exhale, continue to release tension from your arms and your hands.  
  7. Breathe normally and observe the sensations in your shoulders, arms and hands.

Shift your attention to the front of your torso

  1. Take a deep breath in, and as you do, gently lift your chest up and squeeze your belly in.  
  2. Hold your breath, and hold the tension for a moment. 
  3. Exhale slowly releasing the tension.  
  4. Again, breathe in, lifting your chest and contracting your belly.
  5. Hold the breath, then exhale releasing the tension. 
  6. Breathe in without tensing, and as you exhale continue to release tension from your chest and your belly.  
  7. Let your breath return to normal and take a moment to observe the sensations in your torso.

Shift your attention into your back.

  1. Take a deep breath in, and as you do, gently pull back your shoulders and arch your back.  
  2. Hold your breath and hold the tension for a moment.
  3. Exhale slowly releasing the tension.  
  4. Again, breathe in, pulling your shoulders back and arching your back.
  5. Hold for a moment, then exhale fully, releasing the tension. 
  6. Breathe in without tensing, and as you exhale let your back relax even more.  
  7. Let your breath return to normal and take a moment to observe the sensations in your back.

Shift your attention into your legs and your feet.

  1. Take a deep breath in, and as you do, gently flex your feet, and tense up your legs and your buttocks.
  2. Hold the breath, hold the tension, and now exhale slowly releasing the tension.  
  3. Again, breathe in, gently tensing your feet, legs and buttocks.
  4. Hold the breath for a moment, then exhale slowly releasing the tension. 
  5. Breathe in without tensing, and as you exhale continue to release tension from your legs and your buttocks.  
  6. Let your breath return to normal and take a moment to observe the sensations in your legs and feet.

Bring your attention into your whole body.  

  1. As you inhale, very gently tense the body all the way from your head to your feet, hold for a second, and now exhale very slowly, releasing the tension.
  2. Breathe in without tensing, and as you slowly exhale, let your body continue to release and relax. 
  3. One more breath in, and as you exhale fully, let the body relax even more deeply. 
  4. Take a moment or two to experience how your body feels. Don’t be concerned or judge what you observe - just be a kind and gentle witness to whatever it is you're experiencing.  
  5. Slowly open your eyes and sit quietly for a moment.  
  6. As you return to your activities, see if you notice any tendency to tense the muscles in your face, your shoulders, or any place that isn’t needed for your movements.  If you do, gently invite your body to let the tension go.

* Body Scan *
For more detailed instructions click here.

Preparation:

  • Get into a comfortable position either sitting up or lying down.
  • Take a slow deep ocean breath in, and as you exhale gradually let go of your day. (Click here for Ocean Breathing instructions).  
  • Take another slow deep ocean breath in and as you exhale, begin to let go of whatever’s been on your mind.  
  • Take one more slow deep ocean breath in and allow yourself to gently drift inward toward the hub of your wheel of awareness. 

Basic Instructions:

  1. Bring your attention into the area of your head and become aware of the sensations.
  2. Observe the different qualities of sensation without judging or trying to change them, just allowing them to be as they are. 
  3. Explore the different parts of your head – the back of your head, top, left side, right side, your forehead, eyes, cheeks, and jaw.  As you notice any areas of tension, gently invite them to soften and release the tension – without making any effort to do so and without judging the results.    
  4. Take a slow deep ocean breath in, and as you exhale, imagine that you're sending the breath into your head, washing away any tension that’s there.  
  5. Inhale again, and this time as you exhale, imagine your head is dissolving into a cloud of softly vibrating energy.  
  6. Let your breathing return to normal. 


  7. Shift your attention into your arms – from your shoulders to the tips of your fingers – and become aware of the sensations there.  
  8. Observe the different qualities of sensation without judging or trying to change them, just allowing them to be as they are. 
  9. Explore the full length of your arms – upper arms, elbow joint, forearms, wrist joints, the palms of your hands, backs of your hands, and your fingers.  As you notice any areas of tension, imagine releasing the tension without making any effort to do so and without judging the results.    
  10. Take a slow deep ocean breath in, and as you exhale, imagine that you're sending the breath down through your arms and out your fingertips, washing away any tension that’s there.  
  11. Inhale again, and as you exhale, imagine your arms and hands are dissolving into a cloud of softly vibrating energy.
  12. Let your breathing gradually return to normal.
     

  13. Shift your attention to the front of your torso and become aware of the sensations in your chest and your belly. 
  14. Observe the different qualities of sensation without judging or trying to change them, just allowing them to be as they are. 
  15. Explore the different parts of your torso – the left side of your chest, right side, your upper belly, lower belly, left side of the belly, and right side of the belly. As you notice any areas of tension, imagine releasing the tension without making any effort to do so and without judging the results.    
  16. Take a slow deep ocean breath in, and as you exhale, imagine the breath spreading throughout your chest and belly, carrying away any tension.  
  17. Inhale again, and as you exhale, imagine that your chest and belly are dissolving into a cloud of softly vibrating energy.  
  18. Gradually let your breath return to normal.


  19. Shift your attention to your back and become aware of the sensations throughout your back.  
  20. Simply observe the different qualities and intensities of sensation without judging or trying to change them.
  21. Explore the different parts of your back – the upper back, middle part of your back, lower back. As you notice any areas of tension, imagine releasing the tension without making any effort to do so and without judging the results.    
  22. Take a slow deep ocean breath in, and as you exhale, imagine your breath expanding throughout your back carrying away any tension.
  23. Inhale again, and as you exhale, imagine your whole back is dissolving into a cloud of softly vibrating energy.  
  24. Gradually let your breath return to normal.


  25. Shift your attention to your legs and feet and become aware of the sensations there. Observe the different qualities and intensities of sensation without judging or trying to change them, just allowing them to be as they are. 
  26. Simply observe the different qualities and intensities of sensation without judging or trying to change them.
  27. Explore the different parts of your legs – your hip joints, buttocks, thighs, knee joints, lower legs, ankle joints, soles of the feet, top of the feet, and toes. As you notice any areas of tension, imagine releasing the tension without making any effort to do so and without judging the results.
  28. Take a slow deep ocean breath in, and as you exhale, imagine your breath spreading down your legs and out your toes, carrying away any tension. 
  29. Inhale once more, and as you exhale, imagine your legs and feet dissolving into a cloud of softly vibrating energy.  
  30. Gradually let your breath return to normal.


  31. Take a gentle, slow, deep, ocean breath in and this time as you exhale fully, imagine the breath expanding throughout your whole body.  
  32. Take another deep breath and as you exhale fully, again imagine the breath expanding throughout your whole body.  
  33. Take a third deep breath and as you exhale fully, again imagine the breath expanding throughout your whole body.  
  34. Take one more slow ocean breath in, and as you exhale fully, imagine your whole body as a cloud of softly vibrating energy.
  35. Take a moment to experience how your body feels.  Notice any changes in your mind or your emotions.  Don’t think about, analyze or judge what you observe.  Just notice and be present with whatever you're experiencing.  
  36. Slowly open your eyes and remain quiet for a moment.
  37. As you return to your activities, see if you can maintain a sense of whatever benefits you’ my have experienced.

* One Minute Mindful Relaxation for the Whole Body *
For more detailed instructions click here.

Basic Instructions:

  1. Bring your attention to your head and neck. Take a slow, deep breath in, hold it for a moment, and slowly exhale fully, releasing tension from your head and neck as you exhale. 
  2. Bring your attention to your shoulders, arms, and hands.  Take another deep breath in, hold it for a moment, and as you slowly exhale fully, release any tension from your shoulders, arms, and hands.  
  3. Bring your attention to your back, chest, and belly.  Take another deep breath in, hold it for a moment, and slowly exhale, releasing tension from your back, chest, and belly.
  4. Bring your attention to your hips, legs, and feet.  Take another deep breath in, hold it for a moment, and slowly exhale fully, releasing tension from your hips, legs, and feet. 
  5. Bring your attention to your whole body.  Take one more deep breath in and as you slowly exhale fully, continue releasing tension from your whole body.

 Bare Bones Instructions for Other Techniques

Breathing:
Abdominal Breathing
Ocean Breathing
Spinal Breathing
Alternate Nostril Breathing
3-Part Breath w/ Breath Holding
Alternate Nostril w/ Breath Holding
Fast Belly Breathing
Breath Watching

Relaxation:
Tense-Release for the Face
Tense-Release for the Whole Body
Body Scan
1-Minute Mindful Relaxation, Whole Body

Imagery:
Creative Visualization: Preview of Day
Creative Visualization: Review of Day
Light Imagery
Imagery for Relaxation
Ocean Imagery

Concentration:
Breath Counting
Breath Watching
Breathing with Words
Thought Counting
Thought Noting and Labeling
31 Points

Heart-Centering:
Basic Practice
Heart-Centering with Light Imagery

Mindfulness:
Wheel of Awareness Meditation
Beginner 1-Minute Mindfulness
Intermediate Mindfulness
Advanced Mindfulness
Space of Awareness

Mindful/Heartful CBT:
Basic CBT
Basic Mindful/Heartful CBT