Exercise – Body Awareness
Good for stress management, general anxiety and traumatic stress reactions.
(Ages 8 through Adult)
Make sure you don’t have other competing activities going on around you (i.e. the TV is off, the kids are taken care of, cell phone is off…), and find a comfortable spot to relax.
Take a moment to get in a comfortable and relaxed position. Uncross your arms and legs. Letting them hang by your side or rest on the chair as you take in a nice deep breath. Notice that you can feel air as it comes in through your noise and goes down into your lungs. You feel your chest expand pushing out in all directions causing your body to rise, and then as you let the air out slowly you feel yourself sink down. Feel the gentle rhyme of your breathing. The rise and fall. The soft motion of your living body.
Now, if you haven’t already, close your eyes and I want you to focus your full attention on the top of your head. I want you to imagine a warm relaxed feeling that starts from the top of your head and flows down your forehead. Intentionally let the muscles on your forehead relax. Any tension or stress just melting away with the slow warmth that spreads down your temples, down your face, letting your cheeks and jaw muscles loosen and relax. Imagine this warmth is like golden liquid sunshine pouring over you, down your forehead, down your face. It spreads down the back of your head and pools for a moment where your head and neck meet. Here you feel the warmth penetrate the muscles there at the base of your head. Allow your head to find it’s natural resting balance and let all the tension there melt away with the spreading warmth as it flows down your neck to your shoulders. Again, focusing on the muscles here where the neck and shoulders meet you allow them to let go of all tension and stiffness. As they let go they feel a little heavier and sink just a little with the weight of the warmth that fills your muscles.
Now, let the feeling of warmth spread down your right arm. It’s as though the liquid sunshine is flowing like a waterfall from your shoulder down your bicep, to your elbow, around your forearm, all the way to your fingertips. And let the sunshine spilling out from the tip of each of your fingers. Bring your attention back up to shoulders, allow that warmth to spread down your left arm. Flowing down your bicep, around your elbow, and all the way out the tips of your fingers. That’s right.
And bringing your attention back up to your shoulders, take in a nice deep breath again and as you breathe out as you imagine the golden warmth to flowing down your chest, and allow it to flow down your back. Feel it wrapping you in a beautiful glowing warmth.
Let the warmth continue to spread down your tummy. Notice around your waist any areas where your clothes hold tight against you. Notice it and let it go. Feel the slight movement of your stomach as it rises and falls as you breathe. Move your attention around to your lower back. Feel how each breath pushes against your lower back and expands upward. Let the very core of you, all the muscles that wrap around from the base of your spine to your stomach, relax with the spreading warmth.
Let the warmth flow down over your buttocks and down your pelvis. Again, with focused attention allow these muscles to relax as completely as you can. Then, being your right thigh into your full awareness as let the muscles of your thigh relax. Feel the warmth and heaviness of your thigh. And then, moving your focus to your right knee, again like the top of a waterfall, feel the warmth flow over your knee, down your calf, to your foot. The golden sunshine covers your foot from your heal to your toes spilling sunshine into the ground under you. And, bringing your attention back up to your left thigh feel the muscles relax as your left thigh becomes warm and heavy. Again, allow the warm to flow over your knee and down your calf covering your foot all the way to your toes and spilling into the floor.
Now, notice your whole body. It is as though you are connected to a river of warm golden sunshine. You feel the warmth flowing down from the top of your head, down your shoulders and arms, down your chest and stomach, down your hips and legs, and flowing right into the floor.
Breath in deep and feel your whole body expand. Rising. At the top of your breath hold here for a second and feel the full expansion of your body, and then let the breath out very slowly. Feel the weight of your body as it sinks down being fully supported where you sit or lie by the floor under you, and the earth under that. Notice the sounds of the room. Label each sound and then let it go. Notice that in this moment you are safe and fully relaxed.
And now let’s take a deep breath filling your body with as much air as it can possibly hold, and stretch. Open your eyes, and we’re done. Good job.