Updated: Dec 13, 2021
Mindfulness of Body
Our bodies are always present and available as a tool for developing our mindfulness practice. We can use our body as a natural anchor into the present moment. Developing mindfulness of the body is a simple and effective way of deepening our practice and mindful embodiment.
As we train ourselves to feel and directly explore the sensations in our bodies, we move from being trapped in our heads to embodying our entire life experience. Mindfulness of the body is a simple way of unhooking ourselves when trapped in thoughts, dramas, or emotional storms.
In mindfulness of the Body practice, every time the mind drifts away, we simply bring it back to the felt sense of the body and the breath. After a time, we might find that the mind is beginning to settle and that it can stay focused for longer periods of time, without jumping and ruminating on our fantasies, worries, and stresses.
Focusing on our breath and our bodies will help us ground our minds, allowing us to be in the present moment--free from distraction. Sometimes people think that if thoughts arise while meditating that they’ve failed, or that they are not doing meditation correctly. It's important to realize that the goal of meditation is not to have no thoughts. Thinking thoughts is what your brain does naturally. We can't function and create without our thoughts. With mindfulness, the goal is to simply notice these thoughts when they come up and allow them to drift by as if they were birds in the sky.
Being mindful is always immediately available and not hard to do, but what can be difficult is remembering to practice. Even a few minutes a day though will build into a positive habit that serves you well over time.
The key is: remembering to be mindful!
Mindfulness of Breath
Breath is the ultimate portable tool, it's always with us, and we can use it anywhere, anytime.
Basic Breath Practice:
Feel the direct sensations of your breath coming in and going out
Felt sensations can be in either your nostrils, lips, chest, or abdomen
If the mind wanders simply notice thoughts and let them drift away
Then come back, and reconnect with your breath without judgment.
Mindfulness of Body: Other Forms
Set the path – 10-15 steps walking slowly, back and forth
Feel the sensation of movement with each step
Touching the ground – becomes the object of our mindfulness (in place of breath)
Bring the attention to your feet
Slowly move attention in a systematic pattern up through the rest of the body
Be aware of any tension, coolness, warmth, pulsing, and other sensations or lack thereof
To learn more about the Foundations of Mindfulness and how you might become a Mindfulness Teacher, check out our Mindfulness Teacher certification program.