Sometimes when the head is full, or emotions are running high, getting out of our mental self and into our physical self is helpful. This is a quick and easy mindful body scan. I find it relieves tension, when the pressure feels full on and it’s also a good way to prepare mind and body for further meditation. I often use this too if I wake up in the night and can’t get back to sleep. Trust that with a bit of practice you’ll be able to train yourself in this self – relaxation technique – because it becomes familiar and you’ll get a kind of conditioned response.
Use 54321 relax for a quick pause, or take a longer journey down into mindful relaxation when you have more time.
Get comfy. Sit or lie down, spine nice and straight, and imagine that your body is divided into 5 zones.
Mentally number each zone, 5 down to 1 from the top of your head, down to your toes. VISUALIZE these body zones, eg :
Zone 5 is your head ; crown of the head, forehead, back of head, your mind and brain in the middle, eyes, muscles around your eyes , cheeks, jaw and temples, the whole of the head.
Zone 4 is your neck, shoulders, upper arms , lower arms, wrists, hands and fingers .
Zone 3 is your upper body; chest, lungs, heart, abdomen, muscles along your spine down to sacrum.
Zone 2 is your hips and pelvis.
Zone 1 is your legs to toes ; thighs, knees, calves, shins, ankles, feet, toes, soles of the feet.
Close your eyes ( or keep them open if you wish). Take 3 calm breaths to begin. Full breaths in through the nose, exhaling slowly through the mouth. Then allow your attention to scan slowly down your body, allowing the muscles in each body zone to soften and relax, as you start at the crown of the head, 5 , scanning down through the body 4 3 2 1 to the toes. Perhaps imagine this as a relaxation wave, or see the relaxation as a light in your favourite colour ,filling your body from top to bottom, or notice a comfortable warm feeling moving down through your body.
You may want to take a slow wander down into relaxation with this body scan, but in time you will be able to speed this up when you need, just by taking a deep breath in… and as you exhale , think and feel 54321 relax. Trust that with practice your body will enjoy a conditioned response, and muscle memory to your cue of 54321 relax and you will be able to relax your body quickly and easily.
Zoe Strickland – Meditation Made Easy – September 2019