With so much going on with COVID-19 and the challenges of life at home, it's easy to forget to stop and breathe. I know I am so focused on my children and the day to day that my attention is often outside of myself. Are they being safe? Are they fed? Are they doing their school work? Are the dishes done? Are the bills paid? And on and on.
Here is a meditation where you scan your whole body and bring your awareness to each body part as you breathe. This is a great meditation when you are feeling anxious or stressed and need to relax. It can also be helpful when you have trouble sleeping.
Find a quiet space to sit or lie down. If sitting, find a comfortable position, cross legged on a pillow or on a chair with your feet on the ground. Place your hands in your lap or palms up with thumb and forefinger touching or by your side, if lying down.
Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath.
Slowly lengthen and deepen your breath for several breaths noticing how you feel as you take in long, intentional breaths and slowly exhale each breath. The exhale is as important, if not more, than the inhale to release any tension and stress. Also try to breathe into your stomach and take long full breaths in and out, feeling your belly rise and fall.
If thoughts or distractions come up, that's okay. Notice them, imagine that they are on clouds, let them float by, and come back to your breath.
Now start with either your head or your toes and move up or down your body, focusing on each body part. Breathe into each area and release and relax with each breath. Maybe as you move from your head to your shoulders you notice tightness, tension, or pain. Take a long, deep breath into your shoulders and as you slowly exhale, feel your shoulders drop, let go, and relax. Let each breath melt away any stress, pain, or sensation. Breathe into each body part as long as you would like and then move on to another part of your body until you have breathed into every area (head, shoulders, arms, hands, back, stomach, hips, pelvis, thighs, knees, calves, ankles, feet, etc). Move slowly and take your time.
Once you have breathed into each body part, take time to breathe into your whole body letting go of any leftover tightness, stress, or pain. Allow your whole body to relax and simply breathe. Stay here for as many breaths as you would like and maybe by now you are fast asleep. Or maybe you are ready to open your eyes and move through your day feeling grounded and relaxed.
Do not worry if this mediation is not for you or if you struggle with it at one sitting. You can always try it another time since each sitting will be different. Let go of any judgments and be with what is in each moment.
I hope this meditation helps many of you relax, take a moment to breathe into your body, and let go of all the thoughts and stresses of life right now.
Stay healthy and safe.