Twenty years ago I began teaching relaxation to veterans and others suffering PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
One of the most effective methods to help them relax, as well as using specific yoga postures was teaching the Yoga Nidra technique.
The method of systematically relaxing certain body parts helps the brain to relax and in doing so allows the entire nervous system to begin to move into the para sympathetic state. This relaxes the diaphragm sufficiently to begin conscious breathing.
Lets begin here:
Find a quiet space to lie on your back (bolster under knees if your back is uncomfortable also small one under neck if necessary).
Let your arms release away from your body, palms turned upwards. Your feet will rest hip width apart, with your toes falling outwards. If they don't, start a small jiggling movement through your entire body to ‘loosen up’.
Gently close your eyes, a eye pillow (with natural fragrance of lavender oil) can be nice to relax the eyes. Check your body is symmetrical, imagine a line running from the crown of your head down through to the centre space between your feet.
This relaxation posture already begins to influence your consciousness and will
allow for relaxation and the energy flow through your body to be restored.
Now we have to give the mind something to engage with!
Bring your attention inwards and become conscious of your breath. Don't let the mind fall into judgement, rather become the observer of the breath. The gentle in breath and the gentle out breath.
As you move through the meditation take as long as you need to at each stage. If you are unable to connect with any body part, simply apply a little tension to that area and then release with the breath.
As we go through the physical body, if you come across a part of your body that you can’t actually feel then just slightly tense it, the release it. Pay a little more attention to this area.
Relax the top of your feet, the underside of your feet.
Relax your ankles, the bones of the feet,
Relax your calves and shin bones
Relax the underside of your knees, the upper knee
Relax the underside of your legs, relax the top of the legs
Relax the sitting bones
Relax the buttocks
Relax the hips
Relax the lower back
Relax the belly
Relax the middle back, the upper back
Relax the chest
Relax the underside of the shoulders, the tops of the shoulders
Relax the underside of the upper arms, the elbows
Relax the underside of the lower arms,
The back of the wrist, the back of your hand, your fingers
Relax the palm of your hand, the front of your wrist
The lower arm, the upper arm
Relax your throat, the back of the head, the skull, the skin on the skull
The forehead, eyebrows, the eye bone, eyes
Relax your cheeks, cheekbones
Relax your nose,
Relax your ears, your lips, your tongue, and your jaw
Allow your entire body to relax
Your entire body to breathe
The recording for this meditation will be uploaded shortly.