Welcome to the second session of our 5-part Guided Mindfulness Meditation series. With mindfulness meditation (also known as Insight or Vipassana), we develop clear, nonjudgemental awareness that helps us to connect more deeply with our lives. To stay mindful in the moment, we focus on an anchor of our direct experience. Last week we worked with mindfulness of breathing. This week, our focus is on mindfulness of the body.
Meditation is the #1 tool that you have, right now, to experience contentment in your life. It is possible to be peacefully aware, regardless of what’s going on within you or around you. This body awareness meditation is especially important to practice right now as most of us are feeling a lot of discontent around the Covid-19 shelter in place.
Mindfulness of body sensations is a doorway into our inner landscape. This is where we can process this discontent in order to find greater ease. It is also a wonderful opportunity to connect with your body and work through any fear or judgements you have about it.
Guided Meditation: Mindfulness of Breathing Instruction
If this is your first time meditating, you may want to look back on our last meditation session for helpful tips on what to expect.
Try to find a space where you won’t be disturbed. It’s nice to create a ritual that will make this time more meaningful and help you commit to your practice. You can light a candle, use crystals, or choose to apply or diffuse essential oils.
For this mindfulness of the body meditation, I used these essential oils that help relate to the body:
- Patchouli – the oil of physicality. Helps one feel more grounded and embodied, which is why it’s traditionally used in yoga practices.
- Grapefruit – the oil of honoring the body. Helps one process judgement or shame about the body and encourages body positivity
Come to sit in a comfortable position on a cushion or chair. Stay upright in your body so you can remain as alert as possible.
Meditation Instruction: Using Body Awareness as an Anchor
Start your timer for at least 10 minutes. Then, let your hands rest on your knees or thighs.
Drop the mind into the body by taking several slow deep breaths. You can exhale with a “ha” sound out of the mouth to help you release tension in the body. Feel gravity’s pull as you let your shoulders drop and your hips settle into the Earth.
With mindfulness, we simply watch what unfolds in the moment. But for a beginner, it’s helpful to first direct the mind. Bring your awareness to the whole volume of the body. Notice where it is in space, feeling the front, sides, and back of the body. Notice if you’re weighted evenly in both sit bones or if you’re leaning to one side.
Discomfort in the body is one the biggest excuses for not wanting to do the practice. So, definitely adjust your posture until it feels balanced and comfortable. There is a point where you want to stop fixing your shape and fidgeting every time the body wants to move.
Do your best to just watch discomfort show up and then pass. This will build up your tolerance for discomfort. You’ll learn how to stay present and appreciative, even when conditions are not what you’d like. It also shows you that when we bring our mind to discomfort and give it presence, it often shifts and disappears.
Practice the ability to be with the body as it is by scanning it from head to toe. Take your time in each body part. Notice if you’re feeling spaciousness and physical ease or if there are places where you’re habitually tight. Try not to get caught up in a story. If you find yourself in a mental dialogue, simply note where the mind went. Then watch the breath moving in the body.
As you visit each region of the body, you may come up against resistance to live in that space. Maybe it’s a belly that’s bigger than you like or another place you’re self conscious of. Strengthen your resolve to stay with all the emotions that come up. If you stay long enough, you’ll be able to shift negative beliefs and form new ones as appreciation builds.
Another mindfulness of the body method you can follow is to name what you’re feeling. Say to yourself “tension”, “digestion”, or “cold”, or whatever you’re experiencing.
With enough practice, you can let go of the methods and just let the mind float around the body. Be present with whatever shows up in your awareness of the body. Just sit in these regions with wide open awareness until you’re called to visit somewhere else.
How did this body awareness meditation work out for you? Let me know in the comments below! I hope you’ll join me next week to learn how to practice mindfulness of emotions.
Wishing you health and happiness, always…
When you’re ready, try the next meditation in our series Mindfulness of Emotions.