5 minute relaxation

It is better to have a chair with arms, but ideally, you should be able to  learn to relax anywhere you find yourself. Use a cushion in the small of the  back if it helps. Make sure you are warm.

Sit upright and well back in the chair so that your thighs and back are  supported, and rest your hand in the cradle position on your lap, or lightly on  top of your thighs. If you like, take off your shoes, and let your feet rest on  the ground (if they don't touch the floor, try and find a book or similar object  to rest them on). If you want to, close your eyes.

Begin by breathing out first. Then breathe in easily, just as much as you  need. Now breathe out slowly, with a slight sigh, like a balloon slowly  deflating. Do this once more, slowly ….. breathe in ….. breathe out, as you  breathe out, feel the tension begin to drain away. Then go back to your ordinary  breathing, even, quiet, steady. Now direct your thoughts to each part of your  body in turn, to the muscles and joints.

Think first about your left foot. Your toes are still. Your foot feels heavy  on the floor. Let your foot and toes start to feel completely relaxed. Now think  about your right foot … toes … ankles … they are resting heavily on the floor.  Let both your feet, your toes, ankles start to relax. Now think about your legs.  Let your legs feel completely relaxed and heavy on the chair. Your thighs, your  knees roll outwards when they relax, so let them go.

Think now about your back, and your spine. Let the tension drain away, from  your back, and from your spine. Follow your breathing, and each time you breathe  out, relax your back and spine a little more. Let your abdominal muscles become  soft and loose. There's no need to hold your stomach in tight, it rises and  falls as you breathe quietly - feel that your stomach is completely relaxed. No  tension in your chest.

Let your breathing be slow and easy, and each time you breathe out, let go a  little more. Think now about the fingers of your left hand - they are curved,  limp and quite still. Now the fingers of your right hand …relaxed …soft and  still. Let this feeling of relaxation spread - up your arms …. Feel the  heaviness in your arms - up to your shoulders. Let your shoulders relax, let  them drop easily … and then let them drop even further than you thought they  could. Think about your neck. Feel the tension melt away from your neck and  shoulders.

Each time you breathe out, relax your neck a little more. Now before we move  on, just check to see if all these parts of your body are still relaxed - your  feet, legs, back and spine, tummy, hands, arms, neck and shoulders. Keep your  breathing gentle and easy. Every time you breathe out, relax a little more, and  let all the tensions ease away from your body. No tensions … just enjoy this  feeling of relaxation.

Now think about your face. Let the expression come off your face. Smooth out  your brow and let your forehead feel wide, and relaxed. Let your eyebrows drop  gently. There's no tension round your eyes … your eyelids slightly closed, your  eyes are still. Let your jaw unwind … teeth slightly apart as your jaw unwinds  more and more. Feel the relief of letting go. Now think about your tongue, and  throat. Let your tongue drop down to the bottom of your mouth and relax  completely. Relax your tongue and throat. And your lips … lips gently together,  no pressure between them. Let all the muscles in your face unwind and let go -  there's no tension in your face - just let it relax more and more.

Now, instead of thinking about yourself in parts, feel the all-over sensation  of letting go, of quiet and rest. Check to see if you are still relaxed. Stay  like this for a few moments, and listen to your breathing … in … and out … let  your body become looser, heavier, each time you breathe out.

Now continue for a little longer, and enjoy this time for relaxation.

Coming back - slowly wriggle your hands a little, and your feet.

When you are ready, open your eyes and sit quietly for a while.

Stretch, if you want to, or yawn, and slowly start to move again.