The simple protocol or technique for bringing about the relaxation response consists of the 8 steps shown below. Since this is about the simplest protocol for bringing about the relaxation response, it should take only a few minutes to learn the basics.

Before you begin regular practice, it is suggested that you give some thought to step 1. For step 1, you choose a word or phrase or choose to focus on the rhythm of your breath. This word, phrase, or breathing rhythm can be called your relaxation agent. Unless you choose to change your relaxation agent later, you will need to do this step only one time.

After you have chosen your relaxation agent, using the simple protocol should become very easy and routine. The conditioning of your nervous system against addiction should build up over time and should not depend on any feelings that you may have during the relaxation response.

We are not aware of any problems that people have had using open protocols for the relaxation response. However, it is good to be aware of problems that some people have had with some traditional practices. These problems are discussed on the website. Also, please read their disclaimer before choosing to start any practice on your own.

The Simple Protocol for Bringing About the Relaxation Response

1. Choose your Relaxation Agent

Choose a Relaxation Agent - a word or phrase that you feel comfortable with or the rhythm of your breath.

2. Find a Quiet Place

It is best to find a quiet place and sit in a comfortable position. You may still be able to bring about the relaxation response when it is not quiet, but your relaxation may not be as deep.

3. Close your Eyes

Close your eyes and began to gently focus inward. Begin to breathe deeply, slowly, and naturally if you are not breathing that way already.

4. Begin Focusing on Your Chosen Agent

If you are using a word or phrase for your relaxation agent, then begin to gently repeat that word or phrase in your mind. Focus your attention on the easy repetition of that word or phrase.

If you are using the rhythm of your breathing for your relaxation agent, then gently focus your attention on the steady rhythm of your breath going in and out of your lungs.

5. Assume a Passive Attitude

You may notice that other thoughts come to your mind apart from your focus on your relaxation agent. When this happens, then gently and easily bring your attention back to the repetition of your relaxation agent.

6. Continue for 20 Minutes

Twenty minutes is a suggested time to practice this protocol per sitting. This was the time used in the protocol for the first scientific studies on the relaxation response.

7. Let Your Body Adapt Before Activity

Your body may be in a state of deep relaxation or rest after bringing about the relaxation response. Therefore, just as when you are coming out of a deep sleep, it is wise to give your body a few minutes before getting up. It is usually best to also keep your eyes closed during this time. A common practice is to use about 1 minute with your eyes closed for every 10 minutes that you experienced the relaxation response.

8. Practice at Least Once Daily

A regular practice brings the most benefits in re-conditioning your nervous system. Many people practice twice a day for increased benefits and conditioning of their nervous system.