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Duration: 10 - 40 minutes depending on speed, or components can be broken up into smaller sessions

  • Find a comfortable position, sitting or lying, back straight, shoulders loose
  • Either close your eyes or fix them on a non-distracting spot on the wall or floor
  • For the next few minutes, there is nowhere you have to be, nothing you have to do, no one you have to please. It is your time. Time for you to purely and simply be present - here and now - and to notice what is happening, with an attitude of openness and curiosity
  • Bring your attention to your breathing. For the next few breaths, focus on emptying your lungs fully. Then notice how they refill by themselves
  • Now let your breath find its own natural rate and rhythm. Notice the rise and fall of your ribcage, the air flowing in and out of your nose, the rise and fall of your abdomen
  • Now bring your attention to your body. Notice the position of your head...your neck...your spine...your arms...your hands...your legs...your feet
  • For the next few minutes, the aim is to slowly scan your body from head to toe, noticing whatever sensations might be there. In doing this exercise, adopt the attitude of a curious scientist: observing without judging or trying to interfere. If you notice tension or discomfort, simply allow it to be there. Don't shy away from it. Don't try to get rid of it. Simply observe it. If your mind starts judging it or commenting on it, let those thoughts come and go like passing cars
  • Begin by bringing the awareness to your right foot. Notice what you can feel in your toes...in the sole...in the heel...on the back of your feet. Breath into this part of your body: follow you breath as if it moves down through your nose and throat, down through your chest and lungs and into this area. And then, follow the breath as it leaves, flowing back up through your body and out through your lungs.
  • Notice any warmth or coolness, tingling or throbbing. Notice what you can feel in the skin...the muscle...the bones. Whatever sensations you notice, allow them to be there, simply because they already are. Don't try to change anything. You don't have to like or want those sensations. All you need to do is observe them without struggling with them
  • From time to time, your attention will become distracted by thoughts or feelings. Each time this happens, simply notice what distracted you, then bring your attention back to the body. No matter how often your attention wanders - whether a hundred times or a thousand - your aim is simply to note what distracted you, and bring your attention back to the body
  • Now bring your attention to the right lower leg, from the ankle to the knee. Breathe into this part of your body: follow your breath as if it moves down through your nose and throat, down through your chest and lungs and into this area. And then, follow the breath as it leaves, flowing back up through your body and out through the lungs
  • Notice what you can feel in the shin...the calf...the ankle...
  • Notice any warmth or coolness, tingling or throbbing. Notice what you can feel in the skin...the muscles...the bones
  • Whatever sensations you notice, allow them to be there, simply because they already are. Don't try to change anything. You don't have to like or want those sensations. All you need to do is observe them without struggling with them
  • Now bring your attention to/breath into and out of/notice, allow, and make room for/the sensations in
    • The right thigh
    • The left foot
    • The left lower leg
    • The left thigh
    • The buttocks and pelvis
    • The abdomen
    • The chest
    • The right hand
    • The right forearm
    • The right upper arm
    • The left hand
    • The left forearm
    • The left upper arm
    • The shoulders
    • The neck
    • The jaw and mouth
    • The forehead
    • The scalp
  • Now bring your attention to your whole body, form head to toe. Breathe into your entire body: follow the breath as it moves through your entire body, from head to toe, all at once
  • Observe your body in its entirety. Notice how you're sitting or lying...the position of your arms and legs...your head...neck...spine. Bring your awareness to your entire body, and your breathing simultaneously
  • Get a sense of where you are in the room, the sounds around you. And when you're ready, open your eyes and bring yourself back to the room. Notice what you can see and feel and hear. If you like, have a stretch. And as you go about the rest of your day, aim to come back again and again to this experience of awareness and openess

 

Russ Harris, www.actmindfully.com.au 

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