Mindfulness – The Body Scan Exercise Part 1 of 4
One of the most important exercises within mindfulness is to learn to observe your breathing without necessarily altering it. This is one step in developing the ability to stay in the observant, non-judging position and postpone reactions, an ability that can be used in more stressful or distressing situations.
Here comes one version of the body scan exercise within mindfulness. You can record this exercise yourself in a slow pace with pauses marked with the dots and then play it back to yourself:
Lay down in a comfortable and tranquil place with dim lighting and close your eyes. Make sure that you will not get cold. This is an exercise in being awake for you to use in your daily life. So, if you easily fall asleep, try either doing the exercise with your eyes open or sitting on a comfortable chair. Should you fall asleep, it’s ok – then that’s what you need right now.
Lay your arms along the sides without touching your body or let them rest on your knees. Turn your palms upwards. Let your feet fall to the sides. If you sit – sit a bit from the chair back with the soles to the floor. Follow some breaths – all the way in and all the way out – at your own pace.
Feel how the stomach moves outwards when you breathe in and moves inwards while breathing out … moves outwards when you breathe in … moves inwards when breathing out … breathe at your own pace.
This exercise gives you the opportunity to practice aiming your attention to a specific area, here your breathing, and then keep it focused on it as long as possible. Note when your attention walks away and then carefully return it to what you want to pay attention to, which right now is your breathing.
Also, try to notice what you feel at every moment. Be open to be present here and now: to solitude, to face life as it is, whether it is pleasant, unpleasant or neither.] Next time I will expand this exercise to include body scan, another common exercise within mindfulness.
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