With each of the following conscious breaths, inhale fully, extending your natural in-breath so your lungs are filled with air. Exhale very slowly, so that you can feel the actual sensation of releasing the breath and letting go.
With the first set of three breaths, as you exhale, imagine letting go of all thoughts. You might picture thoughts as clouds, appearing and then passing out of sight, leaving a wide open sky.
With the second set of three breaths, as you exhale, imagine letting go of all physical tension. In areas of tightness, you might sense a softening and then dissolving, as if ice is melting to water. (Alternately, “…you might sense dense dark clouds thinning and then breaking apart, revealing a bright, clear sky.”)
With the third set of three breaths, as you exhale, imagining letting go of all that burdens your heart. You might sense a loosening and releasing, as if water is disappearing into vapor. (Alternately, “…you might sense a heavy fog lifting, allowing the warmth and light of sun to fill your being.”
Then allow the breath to resume its natural rhythm, and sense the possibility of simply relaxing open with the in-breath – like a gently expanding balloon – and letting go with the out-breath, relaxing and settling into greater and greater ease and well-being. Continue as long as you’d like, and when you’re ready, explore re-entering activity with a relaxed and open attention.