A Gift For You!
I learned to do this relaxation technique in one of my pre-natal classes.
During my first attempt, one of the husbands had a brilliant idea to hoist himself up onto a pile of slippery, squeaky mats so that he (not his very pregnant wife) would be comfortable. While It was impossible for him to balance quietly on them, he was determined to finish what he started and blatantly ignored his wife’s multiple pleas to “get off the mats already.”
I tried to focus on my instructor's voice guiding us through this meditation as best I could. But the whole scene sent me into hysterics and I (not the dude perched up on the mats) was asked to take my uncontrollable laughter outside while this clueless hubby made his 762nd attempt to get comfy.
So, my first experience didn't go very well.
When I practiced on my own, all I could think about were those squeaky mats and laughing so hard I had tears rolling down my face. More laughter ensued.
But then one day I tried it and there were no giggles.
Instead, I found myself in a state of complete stillness, calm and relaxation.
Even when a gallstone decided to escape its confines using violent force.
That’s when this body scan meditation became pure bliss for my sore, exhausted, eight-months pregnant body.
Surprisingly, the sharp pains that took my breath away would subside when I took the time to check in and noticed that other parts of my body were pain free.
It took practice, but it even help me fall asleep during a gallbladder attack.
I was hooked.
To this day it’s still one of my most used tools when I need to take a moment for myself. It helps me stop my mind from wandering too far down that horrible, looping, “what if” path. And it’s one of the best things to help me determine what’s working and feeling good in my body, and what needs some extra tender loving care.
A body scan can be very basic, taking only a few minutes. Or, it can be quite intricate and drawn out so that it can take closer to an hour to complete.
The body scan meditation audio that I’ve made for you runs for a total of 6 minutes & 6 seconds. (Listen below)
It’s short enough so it won’t interrupt your day. But it’s long enough so you can try it out and see if you want to add it to your own toolbox. I'm totally biased, but I'd highly recommend that you give it a try!
The great thing about it is that you can modify it all you want.
Make it your own.
Extend it, or shorten it even further. You can do it lying down, or sitting in a comfortable chair. I've added it to the beginning or end of some of my yoga classes.
One way that I make it work for me when I have very limited time is to focus in on one, or two, body parts that don't grab my attention often. The sensations in my left pinky toe, the middle joint in my right index finger and the tops of my ears quickly bring me right back to the present moment each and every time.
Take a listen. Let me know if you'd like to hear more.
Transcription of audio file:
This quick body scan meditation will help you tune in to any sensations you’re feeling in this moment. As I guide you to each region, all you need to do is notice and experience what’s there. Feel free to release any tension you discover as you move your awareness throughout your body.
Before we begin, take a moment to either sit, or lie down, in a comfortable position. Feel yourself supported by whatever’s beneath you. Gently close your eyes, or lower your gaze, and bring your awareness to your breath. Don’t try to change it. Simply notice your inhalations and your exhalations. Feel the rise and fall of your belly as you breathe. With every out breath, allow your body to become heavy as you sink deeper into the chair or floor.
Imagine your breath making its way down to the soles of your feet, toes and your ankles. Keeping them still, notice the sensations in and around these parts of your body. There is no right or wrong to what you’re experiencing right now. If you don’t notice anything at the moment, that’s fine too. Just bring your awareness to the soles of your feet, your toes and your ankles. Accept the feelings that you’re feeling and continue to breath with them.
Move your attention up your legs, over your knees and bring your awareness to your thighs and pelvis. Notice how it feels deep down in your bones, and along the surface of your skin. Allow these areas to become as relaxed as possible. Invite any tight, gripping muscles to release with each exhale. If your mind begins to wander away from your body and your breath, know that this is entirely normal. When it happens, gently acknowledge it and return your attention to your body.
Allow your breath and awareness to move to your back. Take a moment to experience any sensations in your lower, middle and upper back.
Shift your attention around your sides to your abdomen. Allow your belly to be soft. Feel it rise and fall with your breath. You may feel your rib cage move with each inhalation and exhalation.
Move your focus up to your shoulders. With each exhale, remind your shoulders to let gravity gently pull them away from your ears. As they begin to relax let your breath and mind’s eye wander down to your fingers. Notice sensations on the surface and deeper in the joints of your fingers, hands and wrists. Move up along your forearms, over your elbows to your upper arms. Then move past your shoulders to your neck.
Take a moment here to notice the front, back and sides of your neck. What does this area feel like when you breathe and swallow?
Bring your awareness up to your head. Allow your jaw to relax. Let your teeth part, and find your tongue resting gently on the roof of your mouth. What does it feel like as air passes in and out of your nose? Imagine breathing into the space between your eyebrows, and allow your forehead to soften. Move your awareness to the top of your head and around to the back and sides.
Now feel your head connected to your neck. Your neck and arms to your torso, and your torso connected to your pelvis, as well as your legs and feet. Feel your skin surrounding your whole body.
As you bring awareness to your whole body, simply experience your breath moving freely throughout your entire being.
Know that you are complete right now, just as you are.
When you feel ready, slowly begin to deepen your breath. Wiggle your fingers and toes. Rotate your wrists and your ankles. Take at least one more deep breath before opening your eyes, and moving the rest of your body.
Thank you for taking this time for yourself and for practicing with me.