Today, instead of talking about mindfulness, I have prepared an excretes for you to practise being mindful. It is sometimes hard to find time for relaxation and checking in with yourself. So, we need practical tools which can be adapted to suit time and different situations.
Mindful body scans are useful to help you recognise when you feel stressed but are not sure why or how it impacts on your being. While you may think you have to be at home to do this, it certainly helps; but with practise you can break up the routine into time manageable scans. For example, if you have a long commute on public transport you might choose to focus your awareness on the tension in your neck and shoulders.
Your mindful body scan routine
To begin, find a spot to sit or lay down where you feel safe, comfortable and will not be disturbed.
Close your eyes slowly and take a few long, slow deep breaths. Allow yourself a moment to feel the sensations within your body. Listen to your breathing and the feeling of contact your body makes with either the chair, or floor, or surface beneath you. Each breath you take, allow you to let go, slowly sinking gently into the surface beneath you.
Beginning with your head, focus on feeling its weight as it rests on the pillow or cushion beneath you (or the back of your chair). Then move your awareness to your forehead noticing if you can feel any stress or tension there.
Now, slowly move awareness to your eyes, your nose, the cheeks, your mouth, and your chin. As you scan your face, open up your senses to the sounds around you. What can you hear? Be aware moment by moment of the changing range of sensations in your body and breathing.
If you notice your mind wandering, don’t worry – this is perfectly normal. Gently, push aside any thoughts and guide your mind back to your head and face.
Slowly move your awareness to your neck and shoulders being aware of your breath as you do so. Tension and tightness is common in these areas, simply notice how it feels for you. If you do notice any tension, tightness or intense sensations, let your awareness explore it. Breathe into that tension area on the in-breath and let if go on the out-breath releasing those sensations from your body.
Now move your awareness to both your shoulders and the places where they are able to contact with with the surface beneath you. Extend your awareness to your arms, elbows, veins, hands and fingers and focus on your breathing.
Shift your focus to your chest and notice how it rises and falls as you breathe in and breathe out. Move your awareness down to the rib cage and along the sides then around to your upper back. If you become aware of any tension or pain in these areas, gently breathe into them and out again releasing all sensations from your body.
Now move your awareness to your lower abdomen and stomach and notice any sensations as you gently breathe in and out.If it helps, gently rest your hands on your stomach to really feel each breath. Extend your awareness to your lower back noticing the gentle pressure as it touches the surface beneath you.
Move your awareness towards your pelvis, hip bones, sitting bones and groin area. Focus and connect with any emotions that you may feel here. Be aware of how your breath feels as you slowly breathe in and breathe out, releasing any pain and tension you notice here.
Now move your attention slowly down to focus to your legs. Notice how the weight of your legs feel from the tops of your thighs, down into your ankles. What sensations do you feel here? Numbness, tingling or perhaps nothing at all.
Finally, you have reached your feet. Move your awareness gently into both feet. First focus on the soles of your feet before moving onto your heels, the top of your foot and into your toes. Focus on each toe in turn, moving from toe to toe, noticing the sensations you feel there.
As you finish your mindful body scan – taken in a deep breath and feel how it flows through your body from your head, right down into your toes. Breathe out and your breath flows back up towards your head. Repeat for a couple more breaths.
To finish up, take a long deep breath filling your body with oxygen before breathing out slowly. Take a moment to relax and become aware of how you feel and how freely your breathing flows. When you are ready, open your eyes.
For more mindfulness, you can listen to my series of Guided Meditations on your favourite App.