6.0 - Warm up - Easing the Tension

6.0 – Warm up – Easing the Tension (10 minutes)

Materials needed: None

Purpose of piece: To relax the tension we carry in our bodies.

Facilitator’s Note: If desired, there is a Progressive Muscle Relaxation Script (Handout 6.0) that provides an alternative option designed specifically to ease muscular tension. You may want to review it to determine which meditation is best suited for your group.

Say to group: I’d like to invite you to participate in a short guided meditation to recognize the tension we are carrying and take a moment to relax our muscles.

  • To start, I invite you to take a moment to get comfortable where you’re sitting.
  • I invite you to notice what is happening in your body, what’s happening in your mind, what emotions might be present.
  • Allow for a slow, deep breath in, and allow it to slowly exhale.
  • Can you feel tension melting away as you gradually relax more and more deeply with each breath?
  • After another long slow, deep breath…exhale and allow your lungs to empty completely with your out-breath.
  • Take a third deep breath in. Feel free to take your time. Holding it, and then letting it go.
  • Already you may be drifting into a state of relaxation.
  • Allow yourself to continue breathing slowly and gently.
  • At this time, I invite you to bring your awareness to the top of your head.
  • Can you sense or imagine a feeling of relaxation beginning to spread down from the top of your scalp?
  • Can you feel the muscles in your forehead and temples relax?
  • If you feel comfortable, allow your eyes to relax and close or rest unfocused in front of you.
  • And let your cheeks and jaw soften and let go of all tension.
  • Feel this peaceful feeling flowing down your neck and deep into the muscles in your shoulders…soothing them…releasing them.
  • Allow this peaceful feeling to flow through your arms. Relaxing and soothing…all the way to the tips of your fingers.
  • As the body relaxes, the mind relaxes. Thoughts become weightless, like wisps of clouds on the breeze.
  • The peaceful sensation flows through the chest and the stomach. This area gently rises and falls as breath is taken in and let out…slowly and deeply. Soothing and relaxing.
  • Turning attention to the back, can you feel this relaxing sensation flow all the way down your spine?
  • Allow the peaceful feeling to flow through your lower body.
  • Allow it to relax the back of the thighs…the front of the thighs. These large, strong muscles becoming loose and relaxed.
  • Soothing feelings flow down through the knees, and into the calves.
  • Ankles relax. Feet relax.
  • Can you feel your entire body soft, calm and relaxed?
  • Do you feel any emotions right now?
  • I invite you to take three slow, deep breaths.
  • And take note of how your body feels at this moment.
  • After another two breaths, please open your eyes and return to the group.

Wrap up: Paying attention to our physical, emotional, and mental health is an important part of staying engaged in anti-racism work, particularly if we want to be engaged for the long term. Facing the tensions that come with anti-racism work takes effort, and this is a marathon, not a sprint.