I was thinking over the weekend that it feels ironic that some days I am spreading the work to get your body moving and other days I am all about sitting still in meditation. It feels like opposing messages. They are opposite, but not opposing. We need both.
One of the beautiful gifts of the work I do is that I get to loop back over and over again as I work with different groups to the practices. In the past I was a learn quick and move on to the the next new, shiny thing. Life has more than once allowed me to land on that big chute where I had to slide all the way back to the beginning of the game board, like in Chutes and Ladders.
In my first mindfulness class, the first meditation practice I learned was the body scan. It a simple practice where you lie on the floor and check in with your body from toes to head. I always feel asleep.
That may seem like a fail, falling asleep in a meditation. In this case, it was a big success. I could relax and fall asleep which in itself is a great skill.
As life gets busy it is easy to spend quite a bit of time living outside your body while thinking of the future or the past, preoccupied with your thoughts and disconnected from your physical body. The body can inform us of a lot of things if we are actually paying attention.
The body is like a piece of soft clay. All of our experiences leave an imprint that stays with us. We keep adding imprint after imprint after imprint. These show up in the body as sensations; physical tension or emotions. When we take the time to notice and investigate we can soften and release these sensations.
Mindfulness is paying attention to your life in the present moment. The body scan is a formal meditation practice that builds your skills in mindfulness.
The body scan meditation is a practice to check-in with your body,
to physically ground and anchor you to the present moment.
A body scan practice can help you:
- notice tension in an area of your body and release it
- get anchored to where you are physically at this moment, get out of your head
- practice non-judgement, noticing each body part and accepting it as it is with compassion
- sleep better using this a tool for relaxation and calming of the mind
- notice a “gut feeling” or other message your body may be giving you about a situation
- gain insight to connect the things in your life to physical sensations in your body
I hope you can find time this week to lie still, and find that sense of presence and peace. It is divine.