Body Scan

Unwind from stress with this grounding body scan meditation

Thinking harder doesn’t solve problems. Creating headspace does.

This working from home bizzo has seen the English language adopt a new phrase: Zoom fatigue. And with a sample size of me, I concur – this sh*t is real! From work and homeschooling to catchups with family and friends, our screentime has ballooned (as has my waistline) and my eyes have never been so stingy and dry.

Zoom fatigue is real! But not with my new glasses.

And that’s just the physical side effects. Without the twice-daily commute and alone time in the car, I’ve definitely noticed, come 5pm, my head is so chock-full with thoughts, tasks and deadlines I can barely string together a sentence.

It’s at this point I realise the alarm bells have been ringing for some time but I’ve only just bothered to look up and see what the fuss is. Oh yeah.

GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD.

But if we’re not in our heads, then where can we be? Here, in our body. Back down on Earth.

Here’s a grounding body scan meditation you can try to relax, unwind and clear that mental mud. xx

Gravity

– MEDITATION –

Grab your headphones, settle in and enjoy.


Hello.

Get yourself set up, nice and comfortable, wherever it is that you are.

MOVEMENT

Perhaps doing some gentle stretches to start things off. Tilting the head from side to side. Feeling the lovely stretch up the sides of the neck. Rolling the shoulders backwards three or four times… and then forwards.

And if it doesn’t feel too odd, try rocking your body; gently swaying from side to side as a way of preparing for stillness.

And if you’re laying down then you might like to move your hands and feet in a circular motion a few times one way and a few times another.

Just feeling into what the body is experiencing with these gentle movements.

And when you’re ready just becoming centred and still, readjusting yourself into your preferred meditation position.

BREATH

So, I invite you to make contact with the breath now.

Taking a deep refreshing inhalation… and a long cleansing exhalation.

Really feeling the chest open up and expand as the oxygen comes into the lungs. And allowing gravity to pull your muscles downward as you expel all the air out of the body.

Repeating that a few more times. Breathing in that energising in-breath. And on the out-breath allowing the body, and the muscles, to sink further and further towards the earth, allowing gravity to do its thing.

BODY SCAN

In times of stress, busyness or anxiety, feeling grounded and supported by the earth can help us relax, unwind and give us the headspace to navigate difficult situations.

And so, with your breathing returned to its natural state, what might be helpful now is to visit each part of the body and consciously invite gravity to connect it down with the earth.

We’ll start with the most obvious place: the feet. For as Thich Nhat Hanh said, it’s the feet that kiss the earth every time we walk.

Allowing the feet to sink into the floor, imagining if you can, or getting a sense that, they are rooted into the earth.

Then, feeling the underside of the thighs and the bottom making contact with your cushion or the chair… Allowing gravity to draw this base towards the earth, creating a sturdy and solid foundation. Feeling supported by the earth.

Moving upward a little to the pelvis and stomach. Allowing these body parts to yield to gravity. Taking a breath and letting the tummy hang loose. Giving permission for everything to relax and soften and be supported by your base. Your foundation.

As you’re sitting here breathing, you may be able to detect the ribs and the chest expanding and contracting. Moving in and out. So, on the exhale, as the chest contracts, let the gravity centre you, and root you further towards the earth. Imagining that out-breath is like a chord travelling downward, plugging into the earth, like a tether.

So, next, we’ll move up to the shoulders and the arms and surrender these to gravity. Letting them hang and drop, very comfortably and loose.

And finally, reaching the head and the neck. Noticing if there’s any tension… in temples, the jaw, the eyes. The neck.

Allowing the shoulders to support the neck and the head.
Allowing the chest and the ribs to support the shoulders and the arms.
Allowing the pelvis and the tummy to support the chest and the ribs.
Allowing the legs, the buttocks and the feet to support the pelvis and the tummy.
And allowing the earth to support your entire body.

Feeling that gravity attract you further down. Down, down, down towards the earth. The earth that is here to support you. And gravity that’s holding you here in place.

CHECK-IN

So, have a little check-in with the breath, once more. Perhaps, for you, it’s flowing a little more freely now. Or maybe it’s not and that’s okay. Whatever your experience, is completely valid. It will be different every time you meditate.

So, for now, I’ll leave you to go on with your own unguided practice and finish up in your own time.

See you next time.

Articles

6 things I’m doing to self-isolate from negative thinking during coronavirus

SOME TIPS ON SURVIVING LOCKDOWN DURING COVID-19

1. Writing a gratitude journal

Okay, so I’m not doing this the old-fashioned way, putting pen to paper inside a padlocked diary or anything. I’m doing it via Instagram and Facebook stories, which for me is way more fun and it also helps me tick off tip number three, below.

I have found this to be really, really helpful. And because I’m publishing mine to social media, it’s keeping me accountable to show up every day and think of at least one thing that’s bought a smile to my face, even for just a moment.

I know I’m in a much better position than so many that have been affected by coronavirus. My family and I all have our health. We have a home. My husband and I have our jobs. We all have each other. I can’t compare any suffering I’ve felt the past few weeks with that of so many others.

But I truly believe this gratitude practice has kept me from turning to the dark side of a spiral of negative thinking. So I’m keeping it going indefinitely.

2. Meditating, obviously

Ha! This goes without saying. But actually, when COVID hit, my meditation practice went AWOL. It was temporarily replaced with obsessive news-watching, social-media checking and phone calls with friends.

Thankfully, my meditation group was able to move online pretty quickly, and now that the dust has settled a little (and toilet paper’s not such a hot commodity), I’ve found my practice is returning and I’m remembering how bloody good it feels.

Here are a 10 meditations that may help ease coronavirus anxiety:

3. Creating more than I consume

This one’s hard. The urge to watch news and check social media can be fierce! But I know how I feel in my body if I’ve consumed too much Instagram or Facebook. I know how it feels to have sat around watching news report after news report.

On the other hand, creating is so much more rewarding. It doesn’t need to be artistic. It can be cooking, making, planning, problem-solving, caring, building, entertaining, practising or inspiring – doing these things yourself instead of watching others do it on YouTube.

My family and I are currently doing what ScoMo said we all should: stay home and do puzzles. This thousand-piece patience tester will hopefully end up the Lion King motif it is meant to.

4. Moving my body

Another thing I’m SO grateful is that my hubby has become the family PT! He’s had us out doing laps of the local oval, riding bikes, walking, shooting hoops and doing circuit training at home. Our very own PE Joe!

My Pilates studio has also recorded these YouTube workouts which is great (and my pelvic floor thanks me.)

5. Connecting with others

Even though we can’t see each other like we used to, how amazing is technology!? It’s not quite the real thing to catch up with friends and family over Zoom, but it’s a pretty decent substitute. We may not be able to have a change of scenery but these FaceTime catch-ups make all the difference.

6. Limiting news coverage

I’ve never been a big consumer of news. Anything important that I need to know has always managed to find me. I’ve probably watched more news in the past few weeks than I have in 12 months. Even so, I’m still limiting my news intake to once per day, and it’s usually via The Project.

I’d love to hear your tips for staying sane during COVID-19. Share your ideas in the comments below!

Difficult Emotions

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A MEDITATION TO EASE THE ANXIETY OF CORONAVIRUS 
INSPIRED BY THE COVID-19 POEM
AND THE PEOPLE STAYED HOME BY KITTY O’MEARA

It’s April 2020 and coronavirus has shut down the world. People have lost their lives and livelihoods; and we find ourselves contained to the four walls of our homes in an effort to reduce the spread of a virus that as yet has no cure or vaccine.

I’ve felt a rollercoaster of emotions the past few weeks. A conflicting concoction of relief to have some breathing room from an overcrowded schedule and the panic of uncertainty around work, money, and – toilet paper!

Thankfully, my news feed has been filled with funny memes, inspiring stories, and poems of a higher purpose to the global pandemic.

This particular one was a source of comfort, so thanks, Kitty O’Meara, whoever you are.

INTRO

This is a meditation that might help ease the fear and anxiety of coronavirus; inspired by Kitty O’Meara’s poem And the People Stayed Home. 

First getting yourself nice and comfortable, in a relaxed position where you can be somewhat alert. 

And I’d just like to say; it’s really lovely to be connecting with you at this time; whoever you are.   

CHECKING IN 

This time that you’ve set aside for yourself right now is an opportunity to step away from the news, social media and phone calls with friends; and perhaps for the first time today, just be present with what’s happening. 

So I invite you to check in with yourself by asking the question:  

 In this moment, what is happening? 

What is happening in my mind? This is simple a noticing game. No judgement here. Is it busy, worried, relaxed or something else?   

What is happening in my body? Can you notice any tension, energy, pulsing or pain rising to the surface now that you’ve stopped and become still? 

What is happening in my environment? What sounds can you hear. Is there any interesting about those? What aromas can you smell, what temperatures can you feel in and around your body? 

BREATH 

Of course another way we can be present is to know that we’re breathing. So let’s remind ourselves what it feels like to breathe, by taking some deliberate, mindful breaths.   

And if it feels good for you, wherever you are, you may even like to make these breaths a quite audible sigh.  

Deep full in-breath and an even longer out-breath. 

A couple more times. 

Deep, full in-breath; even longer out-breath.  

And when it feels right, letting the breath return to its regular rhythm. 

MEDITATION 

And as we each grapple with this very new way of life; the uncertainty and how quickly things are changing, I just wanted to note that it’s going to be quite normal and necessary for some processing of your situation to occur within meditation.  

You may find that many of your meditations over the coming weeks and months are spent largely in thought and that those moments of sustained stillness or concentration are a little harder to come by. 

This is totally OK; it doesn’t make these meditations any less worthwhile and nor does it mean you should be forcing extra effort to attain some particular state of mind.   

I think now more than ever, an attitude of kindness and self-care is the intention of our practice. 

COVID-19 POEM

And so with this in mind, I’d like to share with you a poem written by Kitty O’Meara, in response to coronavirus, whose words you may find comforting and helpful.   

It’s called: And the People Stayed Home  

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being and were still. And listened more deeply.

Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows.

And the people began to think differently. And the people healed.

And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

I’ll leave you here with these words and if you wish you can take them into your own meditation. Going with whatever style practice is appropriate for you at this time, with whatever you’re going through. 

Take care.