Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique (PMRT)

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Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique
One of the most powerful stress management exercises is PMRT or the Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique. I've taught this effective method for many years, especially integrated into the end of traditional Hatha Yoga classes -- right before Savasana, the relaxation pose. To learn and practice this simple technique is one of the best stress relief tips I can offer you here.

Enjoy one of my published articles on this subject from a monthly column, "Doing a 360" from Dayspring (Copyright, 2008) The Alliance of Divine Love Ministry~ Practice PMRT and other stress management exercises for a calmer and peaceful life free from tension and stress. Blessings, Namasté Sanskrit OM Symbol signature from Rev Nancy About this author

360 Article: Stress Management Exercises
Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique

Doing a 360: Sacred Spherical Strategies for Optimal Living
By Rev. Nancy Ash, E-RYT

This month I share a practical strategy for reducing and managing stress levels. It’s called Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique. This is a powerful yet simple system I’ve used for more than thirty years.

I was first exposed to it as a teen in yoga classes, during the preparation phase for deep relaxation which is called Savasana. I wrote about that pose (asana) in our April 08 issue. During subsequent college studies in Stress Management, I learned more about this effective tool as a separate practice, in and of itself. In other words, if you’re not into hatha yoga, its okay—you don’t have to be. Anyone can do PMRT.

The basic principle and first goal of this stress reduction technique is to learn to discern the opposing feelings of tension and relaxation in your body. The concept is that you have to know when your muscles are tense in order to consciously relax them. PMRT teaches this very easily.

So, the best way to do this is to contract your muscles, focus on that feeling of tension, release the tension, and feel the opposite, relaxation. For example, slightly tighten your dominant fist right now. Focus on it. Release and keep sensing it as it relaxes. Study the changing sensations of your hand. With daily practice you will learn to extend relaxation throughout your entire body...head to toes.

There are dozens of muscle group movements taught in a PMRT program. A specific set of detailed protocols is too long for this brief article, however, I offer a taste so you may practice a little today.

Many of us hold tension in our face without realizing it. Try these:

  • Scrunch up your face into a prune (not too tight).
  • Hold for 5-7 seconds.
  • Quickly let go.
  • Feel the sensation of your face relaxing, 20-30 seconds. Eyes closed.
  • Stick out your tongue as far as you can without too much tension.
  • Hold for 5-7 seconds.
  • Quickly release.
  • Study changing sensations, 20-30 seconds. Eyes closed.

Guidelines: Tense a muscle group 5-7 seconds (not too long). Relax at least 20-30 seconds. Practice with eyes closed to enhance sensation. Don’t tense your muscles so hard...a common mistake is too much tension.

Release the ‘holds’ quickly, not slowly. Practice each muscle group twice. Relax the breath. Practice daily to reduce stress levels.

You can practice sitting in a chair or lying down as in yoga relaxation. A full session can be 10-40 minutes. Think of PMRT as a set of relaxation stress management exercises. If you wish to learn more there are many books available. One of the pioneers in this field is psychologist Gerald Rosen, Ph.D., author of The Relaxation Book, 1977.

Yours in the Greatest Degree of Love, Nancy

The Rev. Nancy Ash, E-RYT is an ADL Ministerial Trainer, and nationally certified Creative Wellness Instructor. She writes from the foothills of the Sandia Mtns. in New Mexico. (Copyright, 2008)

May all be splendid for you and your family.

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