If you enter a relaxation programme here, without reading the section in the 10-day plan that seems most relevant to you, then you may be at a bit of a disadvantage. It is quite possible to learn the relaxation response with a friend, but both of you should first of all read pages 21 – 27 on pendulum breathing and practise this together for half an hour or so on two or three occasions before progressing any further.
a. The ‘giver’ continues in the role of relaxation tutor rather than masseur. It is important for the tutor to say to his partner something along the following lines: ‘Although I am going to help you to relax, you are the one who got yourself tensed up in this way. These are your muscles and you are going to relax them. I’ve given you a massage to show you that I am involved in trying to help you. Now it’s up to you to learn to relax, and it’s an active not a passive process.
b. While saying this arrange your partner on a firm couch, making sure that he or she is lying comfortably on the back with a pillow or cushion under the head. Constricting clothes should have been abandoned and the legs should be rotated outwards and parted slightly, the feet pointing about 45° away from the vertical. Knees are slightly flexed (bent). Arms should be by the side with the elbow joint about 6 inches (15 cms) away from the body, and the palms should rest on the outer thighs. Encourage your partner to wriggle comfortable. Take up the relaxation position yourself.
c. Establish pendulum breathing. Now no more wriggling or fidgeting is the rule. At this stage it is a good idea to say that initially strange itchings occur and that the face often becomes sensitive to out of place hair and so on. Stress that these are good signs: the body is really itching to relax. Practise pendulum breathing together for five minutes before you start the next part of the programme.
2. The difference between a tense and a relaxed muscle