ClimateHealth

8-Minute Progressive Relaxation

10-Minute Contemplation Releasing Pain and Insults

30-Minute Centering Combination


Free audio and transcripts below

        When I take ten to twenty minutes a day to breathe and relax, I find it easier to remember that the weather inside can be different from the weather outside. Listening to a recording helps redirect busy thoughts to engaging in the relaxation method in a relatively short time. Having practiced relaxation methods since 1971, I’ve found “Progressive Relaxation” to be practical and satisfying.

        During the audio one is asked to squeeze and release tension from several sets of muscles, in combination with specified breathing. If any injury is troubling you, it may be better to skip that area, while only holding and releasing the breath. For injury-free muscles, the tension and release pumps the lymph system, helping it to clear lactic acid from muscles, resetting and relaxing them. This practice relaxes faster than deep breathing alone.

        This method of relaxation can not be practiced safely while driving. During that critical activity deep breathing and soothing music are recommended for relief of stress while maintaining focus for alertness.

        If the following session plays intermittently due to slow transmission over the internet connection or if the web browser cuts off the audio before the ending, the entire recording can be placed onto a computer by right-clicking, then clicking “download”.  It may take ten or twenty minutes for the entire audio file to download. (Please turn the computer speaker volume on.)

8-Minute Progressive Relaxation

        This session includes several ten second silent periods to allow time for relaxed breaths. To listen now, just click: Relaxation. The transcript is below.

        Further free audio downloads including this method by another author are at hws.edu/studentlife/counseling_relax.aspx

10-Minute Contemplation for Releasing Pain and Insults

        During this contemplation I’ll be sharing thoughts about releasing insults as well as pain. Using relaxation exercises to center, one can let go of the feeling of the unfairness of an uncomfortable experience. It becomes more bearable, only an experience, however uncomfortable.

        If pain is so intense that it is hard to breathe, try exhaling the pain, then breathing towards the abdomen.

        One of the first thoughts will be about food. I have a challenge keeping from stuffing myself, although it may not appear that way. I want to share a method of stopping eating before getting stuffed, that could be applied to any craving.

        The recording also describes a feeling of oneness with others. While these thoughts are meaningful to me, if they’re not to you, at any time please feel free to say to yourself “I am returning to full alertness”. The transcript is below.

        This session can be downloaded and set to play after the above relaxation session, or each can be practiced independently. Initially, daily repetition may deepen the changes that you have in mind.

        To listen now, just click: Contemplation.

        Further free audio downloads about these subjects by other authors are at the meditation page of onlinecollege.org and learningmeditation.com

30-Minute Centering Combination

        This deeply relaxing session begins with the above Progressive Relaxation, then the sounds of surf in the ocean of calm, followed by the above Contemplation, then surf. Just click: Centering. The transcripts are below.

       Further free audio is at loyola.edu/campuslife/healthservices/counselingcenter/relaxation.html

Nutritional support of relaxation

        B vitamins support nerves in the brain and the rest of the body. Many people may need to take B-complex daily due to the intensive modern lifestyle taxing the nervous system, resulting in depression or anxiety. Multivitamins usually contain relatively little of the essential vitamins in B-complex. A lower dosage B-complex such as that available from New Chapter provides gentle support for the nervous system, with a tablet that can be taken in the morning and evening so that deficiency is avoided. (I receive no income from this recommendation.) Nutritional yeast is a food-based alternative that contains B vitamins, although probably less balanced among the individual B vitamins than some of the commercial B-complex.

        Caffeine stimulates the “fight or flight” responses of the body, imitating fear and making it more difficult to relax. Caffeine is in chocolate. Green tea contains some caffeine, but is gentler than coffee. Excessive garlic also can tend to inhibit relaxation.

        Even after giving up milk and cheese in 1987 I continued getting knots of tension in the muscles near my shoulder blades, but after stopping eating flesh in 2001, the knots went away. Eating excessive animal-based foods may increase irritability and decrease concentration.

        For a discussion of foods that support health, please see my free ebook Healthspan and online video available from this website, written as a public service.

Further methods

        Another relaxation method involves thinking a silent “Ahhh…” while breathing deeply. First release all the breath, then breathe deeply into the abdomen toward the navel. Repeat while voicing a silent “Ahhh…” to oneself. Repeat, and when thoughts continually stray, continually return to focus on deep abdominal breathing and the silent “Ahhh…” Returning and straying again and again, occasionally one slips into the center from which all life is in perspective. This method also can be used in combination with “Progressive Relaxation” of muscles.

        With repetition of relaxation exercises, one begins to feel a center of peace within, which is the hub of the wheel of life. From this central hub of peace, pain at the rim of the wheel becomes less harsh; past and future pain come to be less intense; joy becomes founded in satisfaction. While relaxation can reveal the center, one can remain in touch with the center in daily life, because one is the entire wheel of life, both center and rim. Rather than spinning and wobbling without a hub, one is the wheel. Life is fuller.

Extended Thoughts

        What lies beyond ego and personality? Everyone has an underlying awareness that is capable of witnessing ego and personality, “egoless” without judgment. This awareness can be confirmed by observing one’s ongoing experience. Therefore one’s deepest nature is not ego and personality. It is the awareness of the pool of calm introduced in the Contemplation.

        The pool of calm is the essence of existence, underlies everyone, whether aware of it or not, and underlies every being, all of life and all of matter, underlies all existence, the universe. So we are one with the essence of the universe. We resonate with every being and with the universe.

       For a free ebook supporting robust living based on eating mainly unrefined plant-sourced foods, please see HealthspanBook. For other free resources to support health from this website: SiteMap

Transcripts

        The transcript of “Progressive Relaxation” follows:

First release all the breath, then breathe deeply into the abdomen toward the navel, and exhale then breathe deeply and hold it. Release and breathe.

Now breathe deeply, holding it, and tense all the muscles of the body, from the toes to the brow. Release and breathe. Another deep breath, and exhale then breathe deeply and hold it. Release.

A deep breath, hold it while raising the eyebrows. Release and breathe. Breathe deeply, hold it and squeeze the eyelids shut. Release and breathe. Holding a breath, push the tongue up against the palette. Release and breathe. A deep breath, hold it and open the jaw.

Release, and breathe, and exhale then breathe deeply and hold it. Release.

Holding a breath, tense the shoulder and neck muscles. Release. Another breath, and push the arms down. Release. Breathe deeply, holding it while tensing the arms upward, not necessarily lifting them. Release and breathe. Holding a breath, arch the back.

Release, and another breath, and exhale then breathe deeply and hold it. Release.

Another breath, and tighten the abdominal muscles. Release. And breathe deeply, tensing the upper legs. Release. Holding a breath, tense the lower legs. Release. And breathe, curling the toes downward. Release. And breathe deeply, curling the toes upward.

Release, and breathe, and exhale then breathe deeply and hold it. Release.

A deep breath, and tense all the muscles of the body, from the toes to the brow.

Release, and another breath, and exhale then breathe deeply and hold it. Release.

Take your time, slowly returning to full alertness.

        The transcript of “Contemplation for Releasing Pain and Insults” follows:

Breathe into the abdomen toward the navel, release and repeat… You are in a pool of warmth, a pool that is warming your arms, legs, head, and core. The right arm is in the pool, warming, relaxing. The right leg is deep in the pool, relaxing. Breathing,… the left leg is warming in the pool. The left arm is relaxing in the pool. The head is in the pool of calm. Breathing,… … the core is floating deep in the pool, warming, relaxing.

This pool underlies every moment, whether one is aware of it or not. One can sense it in daily life. During stressful challenges one can breathe,… then recall the pool to ease anxiety and increase focus on meeting the challenge.

When one is tempted to indulge in excessive distractions of food, alcohol, coffee, that divide one’s being, while trying to escape anxiety rather than ease and refocus it, then breathing, … one can recall the pool of calm to reduce the urgency of the cravings of the moment, substituting the comfort of the pool for excessive distractions.

To maintain health, if one has eaten a satisfying meal but is tempted to eat another bite of dessert, then breathing, … one can recall the pool of warm calm, substituting the deep comfort of the pool for excessive comfort food. And so on with any excessive distraction from being whole.

This pool of relaxation is an unending and ever ready resource that can ease the grip of physical and mental pain. In daily life, when feeling pain, then breathing, inhaling relief, exhaling the pain, inhaling, exhaling, recall the pool, making pain less overwhelming, less like an unfair offense, only an experience, more bearable in touch with the pool.

This calming pool of warmth has always been beneath every moment, whether aware of it or not. Breathing, … floating in the pool relaxing the arms, legs, head, and core, warming… Recall a painful time and feel this pool beneath that time. Breathe deeply, holding it… Release and breathing, the pain is releasing its grip, as you are in the pool, making the pain less overwhelming; you are one with the pool and your experience. Whenever you happen to think of that painful time, breathing, recall this underlying pool soothing the pain, making it more bearable.

The pool is beneath all your life experience, in touch with every moment, whether recalled or not. Breathing, floating in the pool warming the arms, legs, head, and core, relaxing… feel this pool beneath every painful moment. Breathe deeply, holding it… Release and breathing, the pain is easing its grip, as you are in the pool, making the pain less overwhelming; you are one with the pool and your experience. Whenever you happen to think of a painful time, then breathing, recall this underlying pool calming the pain, making it more bearable.

This pool underlies everyone, whether aware of it or not, so that we are one with each other, of this pool. In daily life when others offend, one breathes deeply as, even while disagreeing with the offense, one recalls this warming pool of oneness as the offense becomes less pressing, less like an unfair insult, only an experience, because everyone is of the essence of the other. The offense is less overwhelming in touch with this calming pool, breathing, … so that the rage of reaction can be refocused to a response recognizing the life of the other, then asserting one’s needs as one feels the essence of the other, because the essence of the other person is one with the pool beneath all life, that underlies everyone’s every moment.

Breathe,… breathe and hold it, release… you are in the pool of calm… ... Take your time, … slowly returning … to full alertness.