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VideoRelaxing the Mind and Body

Relaxing the Mind and Body

By relaxing each of our muscles slowly, we can prepare the body for rest — and the mind will follow.

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Welcome to this progressive muscle relaxation exercise that can support your body in unwinding, relaxing, and letting go of any tension or tightness you may be carrying. In this exercise, we'll be moving through the body, gently tensing different muscle groups, holding for a moment, and then releasing and softening the muscles. In doing so, we're relaxing the body, but also learning to notice when the body feels tense. It's this awareness that can help us to get a restful sleep. At first, this may feel awkward. You may not notice a difference right away. However, over time and with practice, you'll be able to notice where you're holding on to tension in the body, and we'll know how to relax and let go. This is an exercise that can be used before bed or anytime during the day. One last thing to note is that it's important that we're not squeezing the body in a way that creates more strain and tension. It's a gentle squeeze, helping us to create conditions for the body to rest. If there's an area of the body that's in pain or injured, feel free to just notice this area instead. So let's give this a try. When you're ready, take a moment to get comfortable. If you can, lying on your back, allowing the arms and hands to rest by your side, and letting the legs and feet roll outwards naturally. Closing the eyes if that feels right for you. And just taking some nice, big, deep breaths here. Breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, allowing the mind and body to settle and soften. Hum on the next exhale, returning the breath back to its natural rhythm. And now bringing the focus to the toes and feet. Gently curling and squeezing the muscles here, and then slowly letting go. Now noticing the rest of the lower body. The knees, hips, and gently tensing the muscles in the legs. Holding for a moment and then allowing this area of the body to soften. Bringing the focus to the torso, noticing the belly, the chest, shoulders, the back. And squeezing, holding for a moment, and releasing and letting go. Bringing the focus to our arms and hands. Gently clenching the fist and squeezing the arms. Holding for a moment and then letting go. Now noticing the neck, the jaw, the mouth, nose, ears, and eyes. Gently squeezing the face and then releasing and letting go. Now just noticing the entire body and seeing if we can squeeze the body as you inhale, holding the body in this way just for a moment, and then exhaling, letting everything go. We'll do this again. Breathing in, squeezing the body, breathing out, letting everything go. One last time, breathing in, squeeze, and breathing out, softening the body. Just continuing to rest in this space for a moment. Checking in and noticing how the body feels, and then noticing those different points of contact between...


Duration5 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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