Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

Relaxation 101…Inhale calm, exhale tension

  • Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
  • Close your eyes and soften your jaw.
  • Let your breathing become rhythmic and smooth. There is no need to force the breath. Notice your breath as it moves in and out.
  • As you breathe in, see if you are able to imagine that you are breathing in a sensation of relaxation. With your exhale, imagine that your are breathing out any feelings of tension you may be holding. Just continue to do this for the next ten breaths.  Each breath is smooth and rhythmic; each breath in brings a feeling of relaxation, each breath out releases tension or tightness.
  • Assume a passive attitude.  Don’t worry about how well you’re doing.  When mindless thoughts occur (and they will!), simply observe the shift in your focus, let that go, and gently return your awareness to your breath.
  • Continue for 2 to 3 minutes. Over time, work your way up to a 10-minute practice.
  • When you have completed your relaxation, do not stand immediately.  Continue sitting quietly, allowing other thoughts to return.  Then open your eyes and sit for a moment before rising slowly.
  • Take one more moment to express self-gratitude.  Thank yourself for the gift you have just received—from you!
  • Practice the technique once or twice daily. The regular practice of eliciting the relaxation response will allow for more ease and familiarity. You will also reap the recuperative benefits to your health.
Robin Mallery

4 Responses to “Relaxation 101…Inhale calm, exhale tension”

  • Melissa Silva:

    Can you include an audio portion with your voice as a guide. I have experienced this withyou and the sound of your voice really is a huge part of this process! Thank you!

  • Robin Mallery:

    Thank you for the wonderful idea! I have considered audio tapes in the past, but not as an attachment to an article or as a stand alone program on my website. I will follow up on this, check back in a couple of weeks. Robin

  • I have been using this technique for the past several months….since I began seeing Robin after my heart attack in Aug. 2010. What a difference this is making in my life. It does take practice…I can tell when I have forgotten. It comes back quickly though and has certainly helped me slow down and relax when I have needed it.

  • Robin Mallery:

    Thank you Cathy. I feel gratified to be able to affect in some small way your healing, post cardiac event. The practice of quieting is a gift to you, from you, and I honor your commitment. I’ve attached a guided imagery relaxation audio session for your listening pleasure. Best to you and with love,


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"With you guiding me through the HeartMatters program, I was able to achieve a level of physical fitness that made regular and focused exercise feel more like a natural part of my day. I had slipped into a malaise that meant exercise could be ‘put aside’ for work or other important activities. Getting past this is a subtle but powerful accomplishment.

I really enjoyed playing and exercising with you outdoors (my preferred MO for our time together). The joy you bring to your work is wonderful. This flexibility put a kind of structure into my day that helped me ‘choose’ again – showed me how to take back some control of my schedule for important things like meditation and exercise.  It was also part of my journey of re-learning how to say NO to things. This represents additional forward movement for me.

Thanks Robin – I have really benefited from your work in more ways than just the obvious fitter, leaner, stronger me."

---J.E., Northern California,  Communication Consultant

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