Home Remedies Index


Relaxation & Visualization Exercises

Relaxation exercises help you to recognize and release
tension that you hold in your body. Stressful patterns of
behavior are learned responses, and the best way to change
them is to set aside time to consciously practice the art of
relaxation. Relaxation exercises are beneficial for virtually any
physical ailment-from headaches to hypertension-because
deep relaxation encourages the free flow of energy and
helps to bring your body into a state of balance. Deep
relaxation also helps to calm your mind and brings about a
sense of peace and well-being.

Visualization takes relaxation a step further, as it channels
the power of your imagination to evoke changes in your mind
and body. When you create a mental image of what you
would like to manifest, your body and mind respond to the
picture as though it were a real experience. When practiced
on a regular basis, visualization can improve your health and
can help you to replace negative habits with positive,
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life-affirming ones.

You might find it helpful to tape the following exercises or to have a friend read them to you so that you can fully
appreciate the experience.
Gentle Progressive Relaxation.

This exercise helps you to identify the way that you hold tension in your body through first tensing and then
relaxing your muscles. When you tense a muscle, do it gently-just enough to help you focus your attention on
that muscle.

Lie down in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Take a deep, easy breath, expanding your abdomen as
you inhale. Exhale completely, allowing your abdomen to naturally sink toward your spine. Take a couple of easy
breaths in this way, and focus on the rhythm of your breath as it enters and leaves your body. As you exhale,
imagine that you are exhaling worries and tension with your breath. Release all of your concerns as you take this
time for deep, healing relaxation.

Consciously focus your attention on your feet. Feel the air around your feet, the surface that your feet are resting
upon, and become aware of any tension you are holding in your feet. Gently curl your toes as you inhale, hold
your inhalation for a moment, and with your next exhalation, relax your feet and toes.

Move your attention to your lower legs, becoming aware of any tension in your calves. Inhale, gently tense your
calves, hold your inhalation for a moment, and as you exhale, relax your calves and feel the tension flowing out of
your lower legs and down through your feet. Bring your attention to your upper legs and notice any tension that
you are holding in your thighs. Inhale while gently tensing your thigh muscles, hold your inhalation for a moment,
and then as you exhale, relax your thighs. Take another deep, easy breath, and feel the tension flowing out of
your thighs, down your calves, and out of your feet as you exhale.

Become aware of your hips and buttocks resting against the surface on which you are lying. Notice any tension
that you are holding in your hips, and as you inhale, gently tense your buttocks muscles. Hold the tension for a
moment, and as you exhale, relax your buttocks and hips. Move your attention to your lower back, and become
aware of tension that you are holding there. Inhale deeply as you gently arch your lower back, hold the inhalation
for a moment, and then relax as you release the tension from your lower back. Take another deep, relaxing
breath, and let any remaining tension in your lower back, hips, buttocks, thighs, and calves flow down your legs
and out of your feet with your exhalation. Notice and enjoy the feeling of deep relaxation that comes with the
release of tension.

Move your attention to your shoulders, and become aware of tension that you are holding there. Inhale, and
gently tense your shoulder muscles by raising your shoulders toward your ears. Hold the tension for a moment,
and then release it as you exhale. Focus your attention on your upper arms and gently contract the muscles of
your upper arms as you inhale. Hold the contraction, and then relax and let go of the tension with your
exhalation. Notice any tension in your lower arms and hands, inhale, and gently curl your fists into balls and
tighten the muscles in your forearms. Hold the contraction for a moment, and then release it as you exhale.
Expand your attention to include your shoulders, upper arms, lower arms and hands, being aware of any
remaining tension. Take a deep: relaxing breath, and as you exhale, let go of any lingering tension, allowing it to
flow down your arms and out of your hands.

Bring your attention to your upper back, neck, and head, and notice the surface upon which your head and upper
back are resting. Become aware of any tension that you are holding in your head, neck, and upper back. Contract
these muscles as you inhale, and hold the contraction for a moment. With a deep exhalation, let the tension flow
out of your upper back, neck, and head. Take another deep, relaxing breath, and let go of any residual tension.
Notice any tightness in your forehead and around your eyes, and gently tense these muscles as you inhale. Hold
the tension for a moment, and then release it as you exhale. Let your attention move to your mouth and jaw, and
as you inhale, simply notice any tension here without clenching your jaw. As you exhale, allow your jaw to drop
slightly, and relax your mouth and jaw completely. Take another deep inhalation and hold it for a moment. As you
exhale, release any remaining tension in your scalp, face, head, and neck, and allow it to flow down through your
shoulders, your arms, and out of your hands and fingers.

Move your attention to your chest, and notice the subtle movement of your chest as you inhale. Take a deep
inhalation, expand your chest by gently arching your upper back, and hold the inhalation for a moment. Exhale,
and let tension flow out of your chest, down your arms, and out through your fingertips. Let your attention move
to your abdomen, and notice how your abdomen expands as you inhale. Inhale deeply, expanding your abdomen
fully, and hold the inhalation for a moment. Exhale, and let go of any tightness in your abdominal area.

Inhale a deep, easy breath, and imagine your breath filling your entire body with healing relaxation. As you
exhale, visualize any remaining tension flowing out of your body. Continue breathing in a relaxed and easy
manner for a few minutes, enjoying the deep sense of peace and relaxation that comes from letting go of tension.
When you are ready, inhale deeply, stretch, and gently open your eyes as you return to a state of full alertness.
Healing Visualization.

This visualization begins with a deep relaxation that prepares your mind and body to receive the healing images
you create. You can use this exercise to improve your overall well-being, or to focus on a specific health concern.

Lie in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Take a deep, easy breath and begin to relax your body and
your mind. Focus your attention on your breath, noticing the rising and falling of your abdomen as your breath
enters and leaves your body. Without effort, scan your body for tension. Breathe into any tightness that you find
and release it with your exhalation. Take three deep, easy breaths, allowing your body and mind to become
more deeply relaxed with each exhalation.

Now imagine in your mind's eye a blank screen. Inhale, and visualize the number 5 on the screen. See the
number 5 clearly in your mind. As you exhale, visualize the number 5 slowly fading. Take a deep, relaxing
inhalation, and see the number 4 appear on the screen in your mind. Exhale, and allow the number 4 to
gradually fade. As you inhale again, see the number 3 appear on the screen. Notice how relaxed you are feeling
as you exhale, and watch the number 3 slowly fade. Inhale, and visualize the number 2 on the screen. Exhale,
watching the number 2 fade, and allow yourself to become even more deeply relaxed. Inhale, and see the
number 1 appear on the screen. As you exhale completely, watch the number 1 fade, leaving the screen blank.

Patiently watch the screen in your mind's eye as an image begins to appear. See yourself on the screen, lying
comfortably in a beautiful meadow. It is a warm, sunny day, and you are completely safe and protected. Feel the
warmth of the sunlight on your body and the gentle breeze caressing your skin. See the rich green of the velvety
grass, the deep azure blue of the sky, and the white puffy clouds drifting above you. Smell the sweet freshness
of the meadow grasses and flowers, and hear the pleasing sounds of the rustle of leaves in the warm breeze,
the faint chirping of birds in the trees, and the melodious bubbling of a gentle nearby stream. Allow yourself to
sink even more deeply into this peaceful place, knowing that you are safe and protected. You are warm,
comfortable, and completely safe.

Feel the warmth of the sun, and as you inhale, imagine that your body is filled with the golden healing light of the
sun's rays. Imagine every cell and organ of your body being bathed, purified and healed by this warm, soothing
light. Notice any place where the energy seems to get stuck, and breathe into that place, using Your breath and
the purifying light to gently dissolve the blockage. Allow the healing energy of the golden light to flow freely
throughout your body. Take a few minutes to scan your entire body while you inhale healing, soothing, golden
light and exhale tension. Visualize your organs working in perfect harmony, and see yourself in vibrant health.
Acknowledge the deep relaxation and health that you are experiencing, and know that you can access this state
of well-being at any time. Relax in this place of balance for a few minutes, enjoying the feeling of being in perfect
health.

When you are ready, take a deep breath, and begin to slowly bring your attention back to the present moment.
Become aware of your surroundings, stretch your arms and legs, and gently open your eyes while maintaining a
feeling of deep calmness and well-being.

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