Proper exercise and adequate nutrition are top of the list when it comes to staying healthy. But just as important is the amount and quality of sleep you get daily. If you don’t get enough sleep, your physical and mental health can suffer.

The first step to getting rest is being in a relaxed state.

But relaxing is sometimes easier said than done. Don’t know where to start? Try conscious relaxation.

Allow from 5 – 20 minutes to perform this exercise. Find a quiet, comfortable place on the floor or ground. Make sure that the temperature is at a comfortable degree. The temperature should not be cold, especially the floor or ground. If possible, elevate the head by using a towel or a pillow. Also place a pillow under the knees. Place an eye bag, towel or covering over the eyes for optimum light blockage. You might want to have some relaxing music if it will not be a distraction. Prepare to totally relax and enjoy the experience.

  1. Lie flat on your back.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Take a couple of deep breaths. Exaggerate the inhalation and exhalation.
  4. Release all tension from the body allowing all your limbs to fall.
  5. Arms should be positioned alongside the body with the palms faced up.
  6. Legs should be slightly apart with feet going in the opposite direction.
  7. Purposefully relax.
  8. Clear your mind.
  9. Visualize yourself in a very peaceful place. Visualize yourself rising from your body seeing yourself lying on the floor.
  10. Your physical body is sinking more into the ground as you visualize yourself floating away from your body to your peaceful place.
  11. See yourself lying down at your peaceful place.
  12. Consciously see and feel yourself relaxed, losing the body and mind.
    -Visualize each individual toe and relaxed them one at a time. Starting with the big toe and working down to the pinky toe.
    -Move your attention to your upper feet to your middle feet to your heel. Feel your ankles release.
    -Move your attention to your lower legs consciously relaxing all the muscles in the lower leg (front and back)
    -Moving up to the shin and the calves to the knees, circling the knees.
    -Moving your attention to the upper legs (front and back) to the groin and thighs. Release the buttocks.
    -Consciously release all around the genitals.
    -Move your attention to the whole spin, lower back then to the middle back and the upper back.
    -Release all muscles in the stomach noticing the navel as you make your way up to the chest.
    -Consciously relax the rib cage, heart and lungs.
    -Allow the chest muscles to fall.
    -Relax the shoulders as they fall deeper and deeper into the earth.
    -Move your attention to the upper arms, then middle then lower (front and back).
    -Relax the wrists.
    -Relax the palms of the hands to the backs of the hands.
    -Consciously release each finger from the thumb to the pinky.
    -Relax the neck.
    -Moving your attention to the back of the head to the crown to the scalp.
    -Release the forehead.
    -Relax the face.
    -Allow the eyes balls while closed to fall to the back of the lids.
    -Release the nasal cavities.
    -Relax the mouth allowing the tongue to fall from the roof of the mouth (mouth can be slightly opened).
    -Relax the jaws.
    -Relax the chin.

    Allow your body to sink more and more into the earth.
    Release all thoughts, tension from the body and conscious thought.
    Your breathing should be free.
  13. Stay in the comfortable position for as long as possible. You should be totally relaxed. If you fall asleep, that is ok. The purpose is not to sleep, but to allow yourself to be consciously relaxed.
  14. Allow yourself to come back into consciousness.
  15. Allow your body to float back into your body.
  16. Feel the floor or ground.
  17. Consciously scan the body noticing how relaxed you are.
  18. Slowly open the eyes.
  19. Take a few deep breaths (inhaling and exhaling).
  20. Slowly and gently stretch, wiggle the toes and fingers.
  21. Slowly and gently get up.
  22. Enjoy the relaxed body.
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