Want to help relax students or clients at the end of a group class or personal training session? Use the following script to treat them to a reclining meditation designed to elicit deep relaxation.
Settling Down—Progressive Relaxation
“Please make yourself comfortable lying down. If you are feeling any strain in your lower back, please feel free to bend your knees, place your feet slightly apart and let the knees fall inward. Invite your body to rest, and take a few deep, cleansing breaths. Let all the accumulated moments of your day fade. If you find that you are leaning into the future, gently bring yourself back to focusing on your breath. Drop into your body and remain as present as possible.”
“Now begin to tighten the muscles in your lower body: curl your toes, flex your feet, squeeze the muscles around your knees, tense your buttocks and activate the abdomen. Feel your entire lower body contracted; strong, tense and active. . . . As you exhale, let everything go and let the feet flop apart. . . . Fully feel any sensations that arise.”
“Now become aware of your upper body. Make a fist, flex your wrist, squeeze the muscles around the elbows and shoulders, draw the shoulder blades together and tense the neck. Keep clenching your upper body . . . tight, tighter, as tight as you can. Now exhale and let all that tension go. Turn your palms up as your arms rest beside your hips.”
“Start to feel the tension building in your jaw. Clench your teeth, scrunch all the muscles in your face, and close your eyelids as tightly as you can. Stretch the skin on your scalp. Keep holding, holding. . . . Exhale and release.”
“Now open your mouth as wide as possible, stick your tongue out, and open your eyes wide, wider, even wider. . . . Keep squeezing. . . . Don’t worry, no one is looking! Now let all that tension go and release.”
“As your entire body relaxes, lie still and observe your internal energy rhythms.”
Going Deeper–Restorative Relaxation
“Close your eyes and roll them back as if to look at the space between your eyebrows. Let your internal gaze rest here; relax the muscles around your eyes. Swallow, and let your tongue rest near the back of your throat. Part your teeth inside your mouth and allow the jaw to slacken. Bring just a hint of a smile to your face and breathe naturally.”
“Feel the floor beneath you. Notice how it supports you, and sense the security that comes with that. . . . Become aware of the air around you and how it interacts with the exposed parts of your skin. You are embraced by the earth from below and the sky from above. . . Feel the reassuring power of this embrace.”
“To the best of your ability, keep your mindscape a sacred space. Imagine a vast, blue sky. The thoughts, images, sounds, internal dialogue and sensations are simply clouds passing through your sky. Sometimes they are dark, thunderous clouds; sometimes they are light, fluffy clouds; and other times the clouds just dance on the edges of your awareness. Allow the clouds to pass through your mind without reacting to them. Just rest, . . . surrender, . . . soften, . . . allow.”
(Long pause–1-2 minutes)
For a script on how to transition people back into class after the relaxation, see the full article in the May issue of IDEA Fitness Journal or online in the IDEA Article Archive.
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