Body and Breath Meditation
Being mindful is simply about waking up to what is. It's being aware, being in the present moment, and being fully conscious - of your inner landscape and the landscape around you.. There are many ways i which to practice mindfulness from meditation to yoga, to some forms of exercise, gardening, knitting to focused attention on eating.
The reported benefits of mindfulness practice are now being scientifically proven from reduced stress levels, greater vitality, increased productivity, better decision making, increased happiness, ease of pain and better relationships. Taking 5 minutes out of your day is so necessary when our lives are incredibly busy. That 5 minutes will help replenish and recharge you and give you a bit of space to remember to just breathe!
Our bodies are wonderful at letting us know when something is wrong, yet how often do we really stop long enough in order to really digest what’s going on in our body? By the time our bodies are in severe pain or stress, we’ve often missed the warning signals. Mindfulness allows you to pay attention to these signals so that you can take the necessary action before something
The following is a short exercise in bringing focused attention to your body and your breath. I suggest that you try it for five minutes and see how you go.
Find somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed. You may want to set a timer on your mobile phone so you know when your time is up…
- Sit comfortably on a chair with your feet uncrossed resting on the floor and your hands uncrossed resting on your lap.
- Close your eyes and take three deep breaths. On each out breath, imagine that you’re letting everything go – any worries or stresses you have – just choose to let them all go as you breathe out.
- Now pay attention to your body being held by the chair. Bring your attention to your back being supported, to your legs being supported, and perhaps your arms being supported. Now bring your focus to your feet being supported by the floor. As you do this, imagine your body and feet really relaxing or easing back into your chair and the floor.
- Starting at the bottom of your feet, bring awareness to any sensations present here. As you move slowly from your feet, to your ankles, to your knees and further up your body, pause on any area of your body that you are drawn to. Go slowly as you place your awareness on different parts of the body. Notice is any area feels tense, tight or stiff. If so, without judgement, just observe what’s going on in your body, what is obvious,, before moving to the next part of your body. End at the top of your head.
- Now bring your attention to your breath. Stay with your breath as you breath in and as you breath out. If your mind wanders, which it will do, that’s ok. Just observe the thought, then come back to your breath. Stay with your breath until your time is up. Given we all have thoughts, you will find your mind wandering. The important part here is not to chastise yourself but to recognise when you have a thought, so that you can come back to your breath.
I’d love to hear about your experience after having done the exercise. What did you personally notice about your practice?