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By Chris Sovey, DPT, PT, RN,BSN
The following video is the final continuation of our 4 part series on meditation. Be sure to review all the previous types of meditation from the past 3 weeks. Download them, implement them regularly, and most importantly, subscribe to our YouTube channel and mailing lists to receive more self-empowerment tools like these in the future!
As stated in part 1 of this series, progressive muscle relaxation is an invaluable tool to decrease acute stress, reduce muscle tension, and further turn off the “fight-or-flight” response. I have personally written and recorded an additional free guided-meditation practice.
A High-Fidelity, 192 Kbps audio MP3 of this meditation can be found here.
If you missed part 1 of our meditation series, it can be found here.
Part 2 can be found here.
Part 3 can be found here.
Here is the YouTube Video of part 1 in the meditation series. It outlines an introduction to meditation:
Here is the YouTube Video of part 2 in the meditation series. It demonstrates a guided mindfulness meditation practice.
Here is the YouTube Video of part 3 in the meditation series. It demonstrates a deep breathing meditation practice.
If you prefer a written version of the above meditation practice, it can be found below:
Hello, and welcome to a progressive muscle relaxation tutorial by Chris Sovey. This meditation is part 4 of a 4-part meditation series. This particular meditation is primarily designed to assist in the reduction of acute stress and muscle tension. Please see the description in the link below. This production is copyright 2015 by Chris Sovey of Healthy Consumer, LLC. All rights reserved. This meditation is available as a free download for personal use in the link below. Let us begin.
Start by finding a comfortable room with no distractions. Turn off your cell phone and other electronic devices. Pick a time of day where you know there will be at least 20 minutes where you will not be interrupted.
If it is not possible to find a quiet room, it is ok. Just try your best to minimize external stimulation.
Begin reclined or lying on your back in a comfortable position. Your knees should preferably be straight but could be slightly bent, with a pillow under your knees if that is safe and comfortable for you. Legs are gently spread and palms face towards the ceiling. The back of the neck is long.
First, take note of any obvious tension in your body. Shake your arms and legs a little, as to wring out any miscellaneous stress from your day.
Next, tune into your breath. Take note of its rhythm. Observe its depth. Is it shallow or deep? Does it flow with ease, or is it labored? Just observe for a few moments, without judging or changing it.
First start with 5 expansive breath cycles.
Inhale… 2… 3… Exhale… 2…. 3… 4… 5… 6… [x5 cycles]
Continue breathing deeply and easily. Don’t force the breath. Let it flow in and out of the body as naturally as possible.
Now …. Tune into the feet. Let’s focus on our contract-relax cycles. We will combine the contractions and relaxations with breath to enhance the effect.
Inhale: flex all the toes on both feet. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.
Next, move up to the ankles. Inhale. Flex all your toes and point both ankles down. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.
Next, tune into the calf muscles. Inhale. Flex your toes, point your ankles, and squeeze your calf muscles. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.
Focus your attention on the front and backs of your thighs. Inhale. Flex your toes, point your ankles, squeeze your calf muscles, and contract the front and back of your thighs. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.
Continue up to your pelvic floor, the deep muscles between your thighs. Inhale, draw up all the previous muscles in both legs, and engage the pelvic floor as if you were sucking up water through a straw between your legs. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.
Now turn to your gluteal muscles and front of the groin. Inhale, draw up all the previous muscles in both legs, engage the pelvic floor, and activate the gluteal muscles and the front of your groin. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.
Move to the lower abdomen. Inhale deeply into the abdominal cavity, expanding in all directions. Draw up the muscles of the foot, ankle, leg, glutes, groin, and now the abdomen. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.
Notice any tension in your chest and neck. Inhale. Active your leg muscles, the pelvic floor, groin, glutes, abdomen, and draw in the muscles of the chest and neck. Contract the front, sides, and back of the chest walls. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.
Note the position of your shoulders. On an exhale. Let them melt into your supporting surface. Inhale: Legs, pelvic floor, groin, abdomen, chest, neck. Squeeze the front and back of the shoulders, draw your arms into your side body. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.
Observe any tension in the forearms, wrists, or fingers. Inhale, active all the previous muscles, squeeze the arms into the side body, engage the forearm, wrists, and reach through the fingertips with energy. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.
Lastly, move up to the face. Inhale, contract all the previous sets of muscles, scrunch the face, purse the lips, Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.
Do one last full body contraction together. Inhale, Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze!! Releasing all tension, and relax.
Continue to breath deeply and easily, for as long as you need. When you are ready, return to the room, and open your eyes.
Perform this practice several times a week, as a regular discipline, to help prevent accumulated stress or tension in the muscular system.
Photos by: Teakwood and Kah Wai Sin: