Much of the tension in our bodies goes unnoticed, lurking just beyond our awareness as a vague sense of discomfort. Becoming conscious of such tension provides us with a simple and relaxing way to release it.

The Practice:

Lie down on a hard surface. Support your head with a pillow, and your knees as well if necessary. Let yourself sink into the surface completely, as in the corpse pose in yoga.

Beginning at your toes, perform a slow and steady body scan. Include every part of your body. Whenever you encounter an area that's completely relaxed, bask in that relaxation. Whenever you find some tension, pause for a moment. Don't stress or fight it. Just keep your attention focused specifically on that spot for the next few breaths. Imagine all that tension melting away. Even if it doesn't melt completely, you've definitely begun the process.

Raphael Cushnir in How Now