How to recognize relaxation

Restart Day One routine, but this time breathe in and out in the four-second clock-pendulum way detailed in Day Two. After Routine a is blended to the relaxation response breathing, introduce Routine b.

You will have difficulty in synchronizing your newly learned breathing with your exercises and you may find yourself slipping back into ordinary or ‘deep’ breathing as you do so. Expect this and correct yourself.

Some people find this process easier to master if they record Day One, Routine b into a tape recorder, quite slowly, and then play it back while they are blending it with the pendulum breathing technique.

Instead of counting to 20, make an unconscious and private deal with yourself to do five (20-second) right leg raises and then five (20-second) left leg raises followed by an equal time of ‘both legs rest’ experience.

a Take 10 four-second pendulum breaths in and out, then gently feel front of right thigh with middle finger of right hand. Then prod thigh muscle with rigid finger, and continue with pendulum breathing. Your leg should feel relaxed.

b Lift right leg off floor. Hold for 20 seconds (without counting), and prod front of thigh. Keep with pendulum breathing. Repeat with left leg, then rest and feel the relaxation.

Concentrate on experiencing the tension feeling without actually raising the leg. If you cannot remember, then raise the leg and the memory will flood back. While the leg is tense compare it with the feeling in the other (relaxed) leg. While still enjoying your four-second pendulum breaths, remember the total leg relaxation feeling. Then invite this memory back while actually relaxing the leg. The closer you get to remembering the relaxed feeling, the nearer you are to mastering the relaxation response.

Follow your relaxation with a gentle get up and go routine. Indulge in a few good stretches to make yourself feel alert and refreshed.

Having synchronized leg relaxation with pendulum type breathing on Day Three, the next component to be added is arm relaxation. Start by sitting in a chair, and allow yourself 10 minutes for each of the three stages of arm and hand relaxation. Warm up with the Aeroplane exercises first if you like (see pages 27 to 30).

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