Guided Relaxation Techniques

These guided relaxation techniques will help you focus the power of your mind to reduce and manage stress.

Guided Relaxation Technique #1
Creating an Inner Oasis

Sit or position yourself comfortably and draw your attention inward. Allow outer sounds and movements to come and go without distraction. Now, allow your inner vision to draw you to a special place of beauty, peace, or power that represents an idealized environment or atmosphere for your deep relaxation and reenergizing. This may be a scene from your memory or imagination, or a composite image of both fantasy and reality. It should be a quiet environment, perhaps by the seashore, in the mountains, or even in your own backyard.

Allow this image to come alive for you now. Vividly imagine with all your senses that you are actually here alive in this experience. As you breathe, energize all of your senses. Vividly see the shapes and colors around you. Hear the sounds in the environment around you. Smell the fragrances in the air, and taste any wonderful flavors that are a part of this vision. With your body, feel the temperature of the air or breeze, and sense the shapes and textures of the world around you here. And spatially sense yourself amid Your surroundings, being aware of what is above you, behind you, in front of you, and to either side.Rest here now. Heal, harmonize, and come to rest.

Allow each breath to infuse you with calm, power, clarity, and peacefulness -- whatever feelings you most need. Allow your mind to absorb the Peacefulness and natural vitality of this wonderful place. Experience or imagČine Your body and mind as whole and complete. Imagine and sense your body-mind coming into a perfect harmony and resonance with the healing and energizing qualities of this special place of beauty, peace, and strength.

Rest here now. Absorb whatever qualities or energies you most need. Allow yourself to be attuned to a state of perfect harmony and resonance.

When you are ready, gently allow this image to melt into openness within you. Carrying with you all of the energy, vitality, beauty, power, peace, serenity, and strength of this mental oasis, become aware of your surroundings. As you breathe, imagine that you are receiving inspiration from thisplace within you. As you move into action, feel as though these positive feelings are welling up within your mind and body, and flowing into your outer life and actions. Let your outer world reflect some of the special qualities of your inner oasis.

Guided Relaxation Technique #2
Rainbow Light Relaxation

Begin by sitting comfortably, with your spine straight, your eyes soft, jaw loose, and body relaxed. Now vividly imagine that you are surrounded by a luminous mist of relaxation and well-being. Mentally give this mist a red color (different colors may subtly influence different effects for different people at different times) and a warm comforting emotional feeling.

Next, begin a cycle of five deep and slow breaths. As you inhale this relaxing mist and hold the breath for a slow count of five, imagine it filling your head, neck, and shoulders and soaking deeply into every pore and fiber of your head, neck, and shoulders.

As you breathe out, imagine exhaling all of your physical tensions, thoughts, cares, or mental dullness that may be stored in this region of your body. Imagine exhaling any physical, emotional, or mental disease as smoke or fog being flushed completely out of your body by this luminous relaxing mist. Imagine this fog or smoke dissolving completely into the space around you.

With a second cycle of five breaths, focus upon your torso, including your hands and arms. Vividly imagine and feel this relaxing mist flowing in through your nostrils, filling the center of your chest, and then spreading throughout your hands, arms, and torso, filling this region completely with a luminous, warm, relaxing feeling of red mist and light. As before, hold the first breath for a slow count of five, allowing the oxygen to saturate and nourish your tissues and wash away the waste products from your muscles and brain. Vividly imagine that this entire region is now alive with a vitalČizing red glow of deep relaxation.

With a third cycle of five breaths, direct your attention to your lower body, including your hips, buttocks, genitals, legs, and feet. As you inhale, vividly imagine this luminous relaxing mist flowing down to your navel, and as you exhale, imagine it diffusing to completely fill the whole lower portion of your body. Allow the muscles and tissues to be oxygenated and cleansed. Allow the following breaths to find their own natural rhythms and depth. Vividly sense and imagine this entire region of your body aglow with a deep, soothing sense of relaxation, warmth, and vitality.

With a last cycle of five breaths, vividly imagine that you are breathing in a pure crystalline mist and rainbow-like light. Allow the waves of the breath to come and flow effortlessly at their own natural rhythm. Imagine that this luminous substance flows first to the center of your chest and then pours forth throughout your whole body. Direct this powerful purifying and harmonizing light to any region of your body that is out of balance and calls for healing.

Sense and deeply feel that your whole being is now pure and clear like a crystal body that is flooded by rainbow light. Like brilliant light pouring through a crystal, imagine this luminous energy pouring through you and out into the world. Imagine that as you mentally direct it to others this light helps to dissolve their tensions, calm their minds, and open their hearts to a greater sense of relaxation, warmth, and well-being. Vividly sense and affirm that this energy and light that pours through you brings greater harmony to the world in which you live. This becomes a very simple, very quiet yet powerful gift or blessing that you offer to the world.

You will find that the more vivid your multisensory imagery, the more powerful and effective will be your use of visualization techniques on your own mindbody, on the minds and bodies of others, and on the world in which you live. If it is difficult for you to imagine seeing and feeling the colors and mist, energize your practice with a strong sense of confidence and conviction that it is happening all the same. As you become familiar with this basic technique, energize and enhance your practice by giving the luminous mist a soothing fragrance, a pleasing sound, and even a soothing or pleasing taste.

Once you are familiar with this guided relaxation technique, you will be able to access the same results with only four breaths: With the image of red light, draw in one breath to fill and cleanse your head and neck, one breath to the torso, one to the lower body, and a fourth breath to flood your whole crystal-clear body with rainbow light. With further practice, you will be able to master this method with a single breath by simply supercharging your whole mind-body with a rainbow-like relaxation at any time or place that you wish.

[Adapted from the book "The Fine Arts of Relaxation, Concentration, and Meditation" by Joel & Michelle Levey]

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