The next part of the programme for first-timers is to learn to recognize the difference between a tensed and a relaxed muscle. This has already been explained in the 10-day programme (pages 60 to 66 in particular).
a. Take your partner’s right wrist in your hand and hold the arm out straight. Then tell your partner to try bending it up at the elbow. Ask where the stress or strain is felt. Always the partner will say ‘where you are holding me’ or ‘where my arm is levering itself against the couch. Then you must feel the biceps muscle of her right arm with your other hand. ‘This is where the real tension is, you tell her. Tell her to stay with this feeling for half a minute or so, and then relax her arm, feeling her muscle again and telling her to remember the difference in this feeling. Repeat this five times -it is a most important preliminary exercise for you both.
Repeat the procedure again with the triceps group of muscles at the back of the arm. These are best put into strong tension by you restraining your partner’s bent arm (at the elbow) against resistance. In other words she is trying to straighten her arm, but you won’t let her. Do this five times, relaxing the muscles between each tension session, and encourage her to keep feeling the difference.
c. Having learned ‘the difference’ tell her to lie still and practise pendulum breathing while enjoying the difference. It is important to stress to your partner that this first lesson is very important. So important that it is worth repeating several times in an attempt to cultivate the new experience of feeling a muscle group in relaxation. At least five to 10 minutes of pendulum breathing completes the first lesson.
Some couples will want to reverse roles at this point. Others postpone this for some hours or do it the next day.