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Progressive Muscle Relaxation for Performance

Progressive muscle relaxation exercises are structured based on the principle that in order to relax muscles, you should first tense them. By practicing this, you gain body awareness about when you're tense and when you need to relax.


  • Now, sit comfortably in your chair.

  • You will be performing exercises to tense and then relax specific muscle groups in your body. Tensing is often the best way to relax.

  • Notice the muscles in your arms, your hands, and your fingers.

  • Now, make fists and straighten your arms out in front of you from the elbows. Squeeze your fists tightly.

  • Keep squeezing and feel the tension in your arms.

  • And now, let go. Allow your arms to drop down. Feel the warmth and relaxation. Observe the difference between tension and relaxation.

  • Now, tighten all the muscles in your arms again. The upper ones, the lower ones, the muscles in your palms, and the ones in your fingers. Squeeze even more intensely, and feel the tension.

  • Then slowly release, and let your arms relax.

  • Feel the weight and warmth flow from your shoulders, upper arms, lower arms, wrists, palms, to your fingertips.

  • Now, keeping this part of your body relaxed, focus your attention on the muscles in your face and neck.

  • Close your eyes and tighten your face as much as you can. Squeeze your eyes, scrunch your nose and lips, clench your teeth, press your tongue to the roof of your mouth, and stretch your neck backward.

  • Feel the muscles in your forehead, eyes, cheeks, lips, tongue, and neck tightened, and count to ten inside your mind.

  • Sense the relaxation moving from your forehead to your eyes, nose, cheeks, lips, tongue, and down to your neck.

  • Breathe calmly. All the muscles in this part of your body are calm now.

  • Now, direct your attention to the muscle groups in your torso: chest, abdomen, back, and shoulders.

  • Pull your shoulders back and upward.

  • Take a deep breath, hold it, and then exhale slowly.

  • Now, tighten the muscles in your abdomen. Pull them inwards and backward towards your spine.

  • Feel the tension from your shoulders down to your hips.

  • As you exhale, let your shoulders drop and allow your abdomen to relax.

  • Feel the warmth and relaxation flow downward.

  • Pay attention to your hips and legs. Notice which muscles are tense and which are relaxed.

  • Now, tighten your hips, thigh muscles, and calf muscles. Squeeze all the muscles in your hips and legs tightly.

  • Feel the tension in your thighs, knees, and calves. Squeeze harder and count to ten.

  • Then, relax and let the tension release. Feel the relaxation in your thighs, knees, calves, and ankles.

  • Extend your toes forward and try to turn your toes inward. Stretch and wait for ten seconds.

  • Release, and feel the warmth spreading.

  • Think about the areas or muscles that are still tense, any regions or muscles that you can still relax.

  • Relax your face, neck, shoulders, arms, and hands. Relax your torso, hips, legs, and feet.

  • Feel the relaxation throughout your body.

Continue to practice this exercise at least once a day.

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