You have now reached the end of your instructional course, and you should use Day Ten to decide exactly which of all the different procedures you have experienced suited you best. I do not want to dictate at this stage or make up your mind for you as to how you can most effectively plan your individual 30-minute-a-day programme, but from what others have said, and from personal experience, I would suggest that the following could act as a template for you to work to. However, you are the only person who knows and feels instinctively which way you should go.
Having got your relaxation response well and truly tailor-made for you, do not be surprised to find it change gradually with practice. Suddenly you will be feeling, ‘that really works for me’ or ‘I don’t think this routine is helping much’. Expect this to happen. It is evidence of your inner self talking to you perhaps for the first time in years. Learn to trust your feelings and instincts in this way. All that I have been trying to do for you is to unlock the doors of your own private relaxation therapy centre. Then you can stroll through the treatment rooms and settle in the one or two that make you feel good – really good and relaxed and at one with yourself.
Material that will act as a backdrop to the whole process of the relaxation response is dealt with later in this book. Already you may have been tempted to look ahead. And before you pick your final routine it might be worthwhile to read the rest of this book now, but if you do not want to get into the subject any more deeply then that is up to you and what you know now is quite workable and acceptable. Many hundreds of people have found the relaxation response they need by using only the information imparted so far.
Now is the time to select what you believe to be the best starting place in your muscle relaxation programme. This will be your regular entry point into every relaxation session, and will move you rapidly into mastering total body relaxation. The main objective is to get rid of any sensations that arise in muscles, or in the joints that they control, and everybody seems to fall quite naturally into their own best method.
Try to develop a switch-off system that does not rely-as it did to start with on Day One – on feeling tension. (On Day One it was only experienced so that we could subsequently dismiss it.) Sometimes simply saying, mantra-like/let it go’, or ‘fall limp’ or ‘heavy’ helps to silence certain muscle groups. A few breaths of pendulum breathing always ushers in the relaxation response, and you should start with five to 10 breaths. The following well-tried regime may suit you admirably.