Stress and tension are the direct result of built-up resistance and fear. Stress and tension are the way your body
communicates an imbalance in your body. The way to
release this tension and balance your system is through
the harnessing of the breath. The breath has the power
to immediately dissipate all tension and replenish and
rejuvenate your life force.
This exercise is done in three parts. The first part guides
you to open and relax the breath, the second part allows
you to use the breath to release your tension, and the last
part uses the breath to refuel your energy and activate
your life-force energy.
Lie down in a comfortable place where you will not
be disturbed. Place both of your hands onto your stomach. First, notice the rhythm of your breathing. Is it relaxed or is it tense? Does it flow smoothly or does it flow
abruptly? Does it fill you with a sense of ease or does it
fill you with a sense of agitation?
If your breath is already deep and smooth, then continue breathing in this way, allowing your hands to rise
and fall with each new breath. If you find that your
breath is shallow and agitated, start calming the breath
by breathing deeply into your abdomen. Use your hands
to guide the breath going in and out of your abdomen.
With each in-breath, allow your hands to rise and with
each out-breath allow them to fall. Your hands should
be gently guiding your breath, allowing you to breathe
very deeply and smoothly.
As your breath becomes more serene and peaceful,
start to visualize the ocean. Think of its rhythm and
sound. For each inhale and exhale, I would like you to
constrict your throat to make a sound that resembles
the ocean. This will help you to deepen your breathing.
As you lift your abdomen up to inhale, visualize a large
wave lifting up inside the ocean. Match the size of this
great wave with the full extension of your abdomen. As
you exhale, visualize this wave falling and dispersing
onto a sandy beach. As you visualize this wave traveling
to the very end of the sandy beach, allow your exhale
to be fully drawn out to match the long length that this
wave would travel. Repeat this visualization until you
feel that your body is fully relaxed and your breathing
Secondly, once your breath is open, start taking notice of the stored-up tension located in different areas
of your body. You can start scanning your body as if
you were taking x-rays all the way from your head and
shoulders down to your legs and feet.
Once you locate where the tension is stored in your
body, start using the breath to release this tension. For
example, if you find tension in your shoulders (a very
common place), then breathe directly into that area of
your body and continue breathing there until you feel
that your shoulders have become more relaxed. On an
inhale you allow your breath to embrace whatever area
of your body is tense and needs attention, and on the
exhale you use your breath to release this tension. If necessary, you can make a sound while exhaling, which
helps some people further eliminate this tension.
Your breath works as a softening agent. Whatever
feels hard and rigid, your breath softens. As you release
tension in your body, you will release your emotional
tension, as well. Since emotional angst, such as anxiety
and worry, stores itself in your body, this exercise will
greatly affect the way you feelóboth emotionally and
Lastly, on an inhale, visualize a golden light coming
from just above your head and then traveling down your
body and resting itself in your abdomen. Imagine this
golden light as a bright and powerful sun of life-force
energy. On your exhale, visualize this sunís vibrant light
emanating and flowing from your abdomen into every
cell of your body. Imagine every cell of your body receiving this golden healing warmth. Repeat this visualization
for five to ten minutes until you feel fully restored.
From Letting the Light In, by Philip M. Berk
Please note that the use of Llewellyn Journal articles
is subject to certain Terms and Conditions