Supine relaxation exercise: The object of this exercise is to learn how to relax the physical body with complete thoroughness, for even when most people think that they have relaxed themselves, they unconsciously still keep some of their muscles taut.
Lie down flat on the back on a couch, the arms parallel to the trunk, palms upright. This supine position is more effective for most persons, especially the middle-aged, than the sitting one for relaxation purposes, because it reduces the heart's work in pumping blood, and this imposes less strain upon it. In the sitting or even squatting yogi position, the heart is forced to raise the blood up to a level higher than itself, whereas this is not required when the body is lying flat on the back.
This exercise is divided into five sequences to tense and relax each different body-part by turns.
(a) Begin with the feet and twist them from right to left, then back to right, a few times. Stop abruptly after each complete twist and relax as much as possible.
(b) Turn the legs and hips as far as you can to the right and left a few times, stop suddenly and relax the muscles affected completely.
(c) Twist the head and neck a few times: first backwards, then to the right, then forward and lastly to the left. Immediately after the last turn let the head fall limply forwards as if it were weighted.
(d) Every part of the body has been progressively and perfectly relaxed in turn. Now the whole body should be left in this limp posture for two to five minutes.
(e) Double up the fists loosely and place them on the upper chest. Take a deep breath, slowly and easily. As you breathe in, gradually tense every part of the body, from head to feet, tightening up as much as possible without strain. Hold this for as long as is easily possible. Then gradually and slowly untense while expelling the breath. When normal condition of the body is attained continue to loosen up further free of all tensions. Repeat three or four times.
-- Notebooks Category 3: Relax and Retreat > Chapter 3: Relax Body, Breath, Mind > # 10