Week 3 - 22nd July - Theme: Returning to the body - In stillness and in movement

posted 22 Jul 2014, 00:05 by Peter Morgan   [ updated 22 Jul 2014, 03:23 ]
Session 3 focused on reconnecting with the body. We practised paying attention to sensations in the body, both in relative stillness and during and after movement. Often we spend most of our time in our heads, so allowing ourselves to spend some time with the body can feel very different. 

We often see how fast the mind dismisses the body and returns to thought - our task is to notice this and where the mind has gone, then return the attention to the body. In movement some people find it easier to stay with sensations in the body, perhaps as there is more to 'listen' to and we are actively involved in making movements. However, there may also be a full range of pleasant, neutral or unpleasant sensations arising and choices to make about what is right for this particular body in this particular moment (e.g. is this enough of a stretch right now, am I noticing a tendency to compete with myself or others?).

Over time, we can get to know the patterns of sensations within the body and begin to develop a different relationship to it. This allows us to see how emotions or thoughts affect the body, or how particular sensations in the body might give rise to thoughts and emotions. When we spot a particular negative pattern occurring, we can then observe what is happening and choose to break the cycle. 

Home practice

See if you can bring more awareness to your body at moments throughout the day. Check-in with your posture, perhaps even taking a quick scan through different areas of the body. Based on what you find, choose whether to stay with the sensations as they are, or to make a conscious movement. This might be by adjusting your posture or perhaps recognising that you have been sat in the same position for a long time, so getting up and stretching or talking a short walk. Check-in with your eyes - sometimes when sitting at a screen, we blink less often. If you wish, take a few conscious blinks, or even allow the eyes to close for a few moments and let the eyes rest and regain some moisture from the eyelids.

For the formal practice this week, have a go at picking one of the body scan practices from the 'Free Resources' page. There is a range, from 4 minute body scans to 45 minutes, so see which you would like to do. It may also be interesting to spot why you chose a particular practice, and whether this identifies a particular pattern of thinking or behaviour for you.