The power of our breath and our ability to “read” our body cannot be over stated in terms of what it contributes to our headspace and physical presence. Sometimes we are in an unwittingly fixed pattern of working through our planned exercises or daily pursuits.
So routine are our routines that we may believe we are breathing and moving properly when in fact it is more familiar than it is effective. So much so, we miss the signs that tension is being held or our breath is becoming compromised.
It is easy to fall into this trap as I have found myself. We move regularly with specific exercises and activities in mind because they are the right thing to do. However, we can do them without pausing to tune into what our body is trying to tell us.
A simple way to tune in to your body is to mentally work your way around all your bodily parts and listen to its feedback. This means of mentally scanning your body while breathing efficiently, once well practiced, can give you invaluable information of where you need to pay attention or simply give you a greater awareness of how your body is performing. It is easier then to act on any feedback it is giving you.
To learn how to do this body scan properly, it is best done lying down where you are warm and comfortable with no possibility of distractions or interruptions. Close your eyes and start by observing your breath and with each outward breath, sink your body backwards into the floor. Then begin to visualise each part of your body and how you relate to it.
You can begin with your head and work downwards to your feet and hands or from your feet and work upwards. Wherever your starting point, focus your full attention on that area. How it feels in connection with the ground, what the muscles or bones or skin are drawing your attention to. This can be in terms of temperature, discomfort, pressure, tension or in fact, a sense of nothingness.The more you repeat this ‘scanning’ the more aware you become of each part of your body, in greater and greater detail.
As you move from one area of your body to the next, use your quiet in and out breaths to help release any negative tension or sensations. This takes time to not only connect but to then use in a constructive way. If you struggle to get to grips with this, be reassured that this is exactly how I felt when beginning this journey. Thankfully I stuck at it and with time I began to have a greater sense of awareness and connectedness with different parts of my body.
Combining a body scan while engaging your attention towards your in and out breathe, is also useful. It helps move your brain and thoughts into a state of neutral as your body achieves a greater sense of awareness and relaxation, leaving your mindset open to greater clarity.
Try this out if you are unfamiliar with this concept. If you have had experience of this before, perhaps attempt it with fresh eyes. Try scanning or breathing into different areas of your chest in a different order or perform the body scan at a different time of day or reversing the order you scan your body. It’s surprising how one small change can have a significant impact on your understanding or awareness of your body.
Use these techniques to tune in with your body to tune out the unwanted noise in your head and tension in your limbs and spine.
Give it a go then drop me a line on how it worked out for you.