Self-Care – Mindful Movement

Passing on this lovely share from the Phoenix VA on Mindful Movement as Self-care

This practice asks you to bring awareness to places in the body where we tend to carry stress, observing how it feels to invite these areas to soften.

Find a comfortable seated position.

Take five slow deep breaths. Feel the rise of the abdomen as you inhale, and the fall of the abdomen as you exhale.

Relax and release the jaw.

¨ Bring awareness to the left aspect of the jaw. Is this area tense, relaxed, or neutral?

¨ You may notice that the upper and lower teeth on the left are clenched together. Separating them brings awareness and relaxation to the jaw.

¨ Note the status of the right jaw, and separate the teeth to facilitate relaxation.

¨ Take a slow, deep breath, and observe how it feels to have the back teeth separated, and the jaw relaxed.

Relax and release the neck.

¨ Bring awareness to your neck, noting whether the neck feels tense, relaxed, or neutral.

¨ Hold your neck in a neutral position, looking straight ahead, with the back of the neck lengthened, and the chin slightly tucked.

¨ Turn your head to look over your right shoulder. Take one deep breath before returning to neutral.

¨ Repeat, looking to the left.

¨ Raise your chin so that intersection of the wall in front of you with the ceiling comes into view. Take one deep breath before returning to neutral.

¨ Lower the chin as far toward the chest as possible without straining.Take one deep breath before returning to neutral.

¨ Bring the right ear down toward the right shoulder, leaving the shoulder relaxed. Take one deep breath before returning to neutral.

¨ Repeat on the left side.

¨ Take a slow, deep breath, and observe how it feels to have the neck relaxed.

Relax and release the shoulders.

¨ Bring awareness to the shoulders, noting whether the shoulders feel tense, relaxed, or neutral.

¨ Raise the shoulders toward the ears. Inhale deeply, and allow the shoulders to relax down with the exhalation.

¨ Roll the shoulders forward three times.

¨ Roll the shoulders backward three times

¨ Allow the shoulders to come to rest in a relaxed, neutral position.

¨ Take a slow, deep breath, and observe how it feels to have the shoulders relaxed.

Take five slow, deep breaths. Feel the rise of the abdomen as you inhale, and the fall of the abdomen as you exhale.

Maintain your awareness of the jaw, the neck, and the shoulders throughout your daily activities, and repeat this exercise whenever you feel tension building in these areas. This will help keep you tuned in to your moment-to-moment somatic experience, as well as encourage relaxation.

Incidentally, a favorite meditation script I enjoy  recommending to clients is a guided imagery meditation for kids that involves items/animals, eg tens your face like a mosquito landed on your nose, squeeze your hands as though you’re squeezing lemons, tense your stomach as if an elephant’s about to step you on, etc. Check YouTube for your favorites!

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