Body Awareness Meditation
Have you ever found yourself getting ready for bed at the end of a given day and noticed there is tension in your shoulders and neck? You don’t know how it got there, but somehow the stress of the day ended up in your body and now you feel every ounce of it!
>>> Body awareness meditation is a practice of bringing our focus onto our body and mindfully releasing the stress that crept in <<<
By feeling into the tension and allowing it to release, we not only become more physically relaxed, but we also increase our ability to mentally relax. How? When we are physically tense, we engage our sympathetic nervous system. Our brain believes our body is tense because there is potential danger present and it is preparing to protect itself. But, when we take the time to relax our body, we allow the parasympathetic nervous system to regain function and our body returns to a balanced state.
Below are a few tips to begin this meditation practice. As with all practices, it may not flow perfectly the first few times. You may have difficulty relaxing every muscle in the body, that is fine! If this is the case, focus on the muscles that create the most tension and stress for you. Another common complexity faced at the onset of the practice is that there isn’t a great deal of release the first few times through. Don’t become discouraged. It may take a few times through the practice for your body to understand what you are asking of it. But once you have it, relaxation is yours anywhere.
- Find a quiet space to lay down for 5 to 10 minutes
- Begin with 3 deep breaths in through the nose – breath down into the abdomen, relaxing the stomach and allowing the breath to sink deep down. Exhale fully and slowly through the nose.
- After completing 3 deep breaths, bring your awareness to your feet. Feel your feet fully – any sensations that are in your feet, any stress in the toes, arches or heels. Begin to imagine a warm sensation flowing into your feet, relaxing and releasing any sensation that feels stressful or tense.
- Once your feet are warm and relaxed, begin to move the warm sensation up over the ankles and into the calves and shins. Feel any tension or stress in these muscles begin to fade away as the warmth fills them.
- Feel the flow continue up the leg into the knees. As you feel the sensation enter the area of focus, allow all tension to fade and the body to fall heavier against the surface you are on.
- From the knees, continue the movement of warmth and relaxation up into the thighs and so on, until eventually the entire body is warm and relaxed
- If tension does remain, return your focus to the tense area and allow the warmth to flow into the muscle until it releases.
- After you have navigated through the body, take a few moments to allow the sensation of relaxation.