I’ve recently discovered something magical. More accurately, a tool I’ve been practicing has become more effective and useful over time. The brilliant part is that anyone can do this, and it carries over to so many areas of life. The more I guide other people through this process, the more I learn about the depth and breadth of its impact, and the more I am stunned by how amazing our bodies are.
Luckily, it doesn’t require any money, devices, special circumstances, or specific education to maximize the potential of this tool.
It also directly increases our ability to relax, our capacity to sense and feel, and our ability to make aligned decisions. Start with these simple steps:
- Allow your awareness to relax into the feeling of the breath. Sensing the breath as a practice on its own has many positive effects, and there are many layers of subtlety to experience. But my favorite benefit of focusing on the breath is that it’s simple. And it feels good.
In a world of achievement, where all our practices are supposed to improve us and increase our impact in the world, is it ok to say that it just feels good? YES. Pleasure and positive feedback are important elements in growth and progress.
- Let awareness (the most effortless part of you- always tracking your body and environment- relax and let sensations gently come into your experience) gently concentrate in one part of your body. It’s common to start with your feet or your head, but if there is pain or discomfort, it can be better to start somewhere that is easy to feel and has no pain. Slowly allow your awareness to move through your body in a sequential way. Just feel the sensation directly, rather than describing and visualizing.
- After you’ve moved through, feel your entire body and breath at the same time. With eyes closed, allow the sensations on the surface of the skin, then the sounds in the room. It can be very relaxing to simply let your awareness rest on these sensory experiences. Allow yourself to notice anything that feels relaxing or generally good. Then open your eyes and allow the visual sensing of objects to be experienced, while still feeling your body in its entirety and the sounds.
Throughout this process, it’s very normal for awareness to loop back to thoughts. This is not a problem. Just keep relaxing back into feeling. Voice guidance can be helpful, as it amplifies the intention and quiets thoughts. Here are some simple guided versions of this practice.
As this is practiced over time, you may find yourself noticing more during the day. Perhaps your shoulders tense whenever you’re concentrating or thinking about a task ahead. Or maybe you lose touch with your legs and feet, and forget about your connection to the ground when you’re stressed.
When you’re giving that presentation? Take a deep breath, feel your feet and your belly, and you can bet the next thing that comes out of your mouth will clearer and more connected to your audience. My favorite part of performing a quick scan is that I can tell what I want to do at any point in time by feeling my body. The more I pay attention to sensation, the more it shows me.
There are many, many benefits to this practice and it can be accessed at any time.
Let me know how it goes.