How often do you consciously relax? I don’t mean taking a nap, going to sleep or just lazing on the couch. I mean really relaxing your body.

There’s an art to conscious relaxation that will allow you to feel relaxed after a few minutes of concentration. The technique is simple but can yield great results. You have several large muscles in your body and if you can learn how to contract and release them then you can start a relaxation practice.

Start with the easy ones. Contract your calf muscles, breathe deeply and release them when you exhale. As you get better at this you can then move to your upper legs and slowly progress to your other large muscles. The entire process shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.

Lastly and one of the most important is your tongue. If you’re like most people reading this then at this moment your tongue is either touching the roof of your mouth or the back of your front teeth. It is in a tensed positon. Learn to relax your tongue by letting it fall to the bottom of your mouth. Doing this will allow your jaw to loosen up and will ultimately relax your entire neck and face. Practice this during the day and especially when you go to bed. Learning to relax your tongue is one of the simplest and most rewarding relaxation techniques you can do.

“We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.” – Thich Nhat Hanh