This is the method used by Dr. Benson to elicit the relaxation response.
1. Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Beginning at your feet and progressing up to your face, deeply relax all your muscles.Keep them relaxed.
4. Breathe through your nose. Become aware of your breathing. As you breathe out, say the word one silently to yourself. Continue the pattern breathe in... out, "one"; in... out, "one"; and so on. Breathe easily and naturally.
5. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes. You may open your eyes to check the time, but do not use an alarm. When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes, first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes opeined. Do not stand up for a 30 few minutes.
6. Do not worry about whether you are succesful in achieving a deep level of relaxation. Maintain a passive attitude and permit relaxation to occur at its own pace. When distracting thoughts occur, try to ignore them by not dwelling on them and return to repeating one. With practice, the response should come with little effort. Practice the technique once or twice daily but not within two hours after any meal, since the digestive processes seem to interfere with the response.
(From the book The Relaxation Response, by Herbert Benson, M.D. Copyright (c) 1975 by William Morrow and Co. Inc.)