Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

June 15, 2009

Relaxation Techniques for Prayer


Encourage your students to learn these relaxation techniques for prayer. Take some time during a class period or other gathering to allow them to practice these three steps. Consider providing a religious icon or image for them to observe and contemplate on during this time.
 1. Awareness of Your Senses

Assume a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Hold it momentarily, and then let it go. Relax your body. Begin with your neck muscles, then your shoulders, your chest and your back, your arm and legs.

Be aware of the clothing on your shoulders, on your back. Become aware of your legs. Let the tension of your legs leave through your feet. Become aware of your hands. Easily bend your fingers back and forth.

Repeat this pattern of awareness. Take a deep breath. Relax the neck muscles, the shoulders, the trunk of your body, your arms, your legs. Feel the heat or coolness of the room.

Dwell for a moment on the part of your body that is most tense. For example, relax the forehead, the jaw, the neck. Let your arms and legs rest. Come to a total stillness. You are now ready to pray.

2. Breathing

Take a relaxing position. Let the tension drain from your body.

Now focus on breathing through your nose. Observe your breathing. Feel the air as it comes in and goes out.

Don't try to control your breathing. Just observe it for a few quiet, peaceful moments. Be aware of how it comes in to fill your lungs and how it goes out of your nostrils.

After a short time observing your breathing, begin to count your breaths silently. Count "one" as you inhale. Count "and" as you exhale. Count "two" as you breathe in again; "and" as you exhale. Continue to count to 15 or 20. You are now ready for prayer.

3. Listening

Take a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Relax the tension in your body. Feel the tightness drain from your face, your neck, your shoulders, your arms, your legs.

Feel the air on your skin. Be aware of each breath that you take in and let out.

Block your ears with your thumbs. Listen to each breath as you take it in and let it out.

After ten breaths, let your hands reset on your lap. Now be attentive to all the sounds around you. Hear them all: the sounds near to you and the ones in the distance.

Listen to the sounds, big and little, blend together. Continue with this exercise as you ready yourself for prayer.

Comments

1 bernadette ryan

March 5, 2018
Hi. thanks for this great website. I'm aware that Christians need to stay clear of MIndfulness. I'm doing an anxiety course and they keep talking about mindfulness and the relaxation above here is very much like the 'mindfulness' relaxation we practised. I'm really confused. Can you pls enlighten me - I'm Catholic and I would not go to yoga or Thai Chai or anything Eastern - Budhist etc and I'm looking for Catholic alternatives. Many thanks God bless you Bernadette

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