For massage therapists, meditation is a wonderful tool for self care. As a practice, it can be defined as an intentional act of focus or reflection with the goal being to alter one’s state of awareness. There are many forms of meditation. They can be as simple as practicing a breathing technique or reciting a mantra to more active practices like Tai Chi or Yoga.
Whatever style of meditation you engage with, there are a variety of benefits, both mental and physical. Science has shown that regular meditation can reduce stress, combat depression, improve sleep, lower blood pressure and more. So what are you waiting for? Below is an easy meditation you can incorporate into your self-care routine that is simple to learn, remember and practice.
The basic body check-in meditation is no-nonsense and can be done just about anywhere in a few minutes time. But don’t let the low entry level commitment cause you to doubt the transformative power of this simple technique.
- Find a quiet, comfortable place to lay where you won’t be disturbed by people or technology. You may want to put a pillow behind your knees and head and pull the shades or dim your lights.
- Get comfortable and take a few full, deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose, inhaling and expanding your lungs until your belly and chest are full and your shoulders lift slightly. Exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat for several breaths.
- While breathing, simply try to be aware of your body. Are you as comfortable as you could be? If not, make whatever adjustments you need to feel as relaxed as possible.
- Once you feel totally comfortable, you are ready to begin your check-in. The process is simple but requires a bit of imagination; try to think of the air you inhale as healing energy and the air you exhale as releasing negative energy or tension from your body. You will focus your attention in on a body part and think about its function and what it does for you. Breath in and as you do, imagine that healing energy to traveling to that body part. As you breathe out, imagine that any remaining tension is leaving that body part with your exhale. Repeat for several breaths and when you feel ready, move on to the next body part. Begin at your feet, and repeat this process for the calves, thighs, pelvic area and glutes, low back, chest and upper back, hands, forearms, upper arms, shoulders and neck, and finally your face and head. If a particular area feels more tense, spend more time there. If an area already feels pretty relaxed, only take a few breaths there and then move on.
- Once you have completed your conscious check-ins and released tension in each part of your body, remain completely still. Focus on your whole body continuing to breath in healing energy through your nose and exhaling tension from your entire body through your mouth. You can stay in this state as long as you like or have time for.
- When you are ready, slowly begin to move again. Start by moving your eyes behind your closed eyelids, wiggle your fingers and toes, then open your eyes and slowly sit up.
- (Optional) Once you feel connected to normal body awareness again, a short stretching routine is a great way to bring this meditation to a close, exploring how your newly refreshed body feels in motion.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Let us know 🙂