Progressive Relaxation

St. Francis Prep. Physical Education 788

Tai Chi/Yoga


INTRODUCTION - This exercise is designed to alleviate tension and make you feel less anxious. It can be used any time during the day or at night to help you fall asleep. With sufficient practice, this procedure will not only work, but will become very easy to implement for any stresses you may encounter.


  1. Sit or lie down in a comfortable place
  2. Take some deep breaths through your nose and release slowly
    (Make sure you fill your lungs to capacity)
  3. Imagine a scene you find relaxing
    (Imagine the scene with complete detail. Take as long as you need)
  4. Tense muscle groups (1 through 14)

Tense each area for 5-7 seconds

Instructions for Tensing Muscle Groups

Muscle Group
Method of Tensing

1. Dominant hand and arm

2. Nondominant hand and arm

3. Forehead and eyes

4. Upper cheeks and nose

5. Jaw, lower face, neck

6. Shoulders, upper back, chest

7. Abdomen

8. Buttocks

9. Dominant upper leg

10. Dominant lower leg

11. Dominant foot

12. Nondominant upper leg

13. Nondominant lower leg

14. Nondominant foot

Make a tight fist, curl toward shoulder, bend arm to elbow

Same as dominant

Open eyes wide and raise eyebrows. Make as many wrinkles as possible on your forehead

Frown, squint eyes, and wrinkle nose

Clench teeth, protrude chin. Corners of mouth should be pulled down

Shrug shoulders and pull shoulder blades back as far as possible as though trying to have them touch one another

Bend forward slightly at waist, protrude stomach, tighten muscles as much as possible, make very hardSqueeze buttocks together, push down into chair at same time

Push large muscle on top of thigh against smaller areas on bottom of thigh. Make muscles hard, press them against each other

Pull toes up till they point toward head. Stretch and harden muscles in calf

Point toes outward and downward, stretching foot

Same as dominant

Same as dominant

Same as dominant

5- Focus on total body relaxation while continuing to breathe deeply through your nose
6- Once again focus on the image you find relaxing