This week we found out how Val got on with mindfulness of sounds. She responded well to this practice, noticing how we can get caught up in reactions to particular sounds, but that mindfulness allows us to let go and come back to listening to sounds themselves.
We then explored bringing mindfulness to the body, both in stillness and in movement.
Firstly, we had a go at a body scan practice. This involves slowly moving your attention around different areas of the body. Often we spend most of our time in our heads, so allowing ourselves to spend some time with the body can feel very different. If you would like to try this yourself pick 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.
The next practice we did was mindful walking, followed by some simple stretching. 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 this creates 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?). The 'Stretch and breath' practice below involves some basic standing stretches followed by a sitting practice. Remember to look after your body and only do what is right for you, and consult your doctor if you're unsure about what you are able to do.
Listen below to hear how Val got on with these practices:
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.
Other ways to bring mindfulness to the body
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 make a conscious movement or stay withsensations as they are. 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. When you are walking at any point during the day see if you can bring attention to what it feels like to move or open your awareness outwards and really engage with what you can see.