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Breath-Based Body Scan

Vidyamala Burch






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Breath-Based Body Scan

A deeply embodied practice where the breath massages the whole body creating deeper rest and ease. This practice will also promote deeper sleep if done just before bed.

To begin the meditation

establishing a comfortable position.

I recommend you do this breath- based

body scan line down, if you can,

because the body can then be perhaps

a little more relaxed and at ease.

But if this is uncomfortable for

you, then by all means, do it sitting

and you can even do it standing.

And to begin with, let's

take a deep breath in.

And then on the out-breath, allowing

the weight to really settle down onto

the surface it's resting upon, whether

you're sitting, lying or standing.

Feeling into the points of contact

and seeing if you can give the

weight of the body up to gravity.

So allowing the body to come to rest.

Allowing your breathing to

find its own natural rhythm.

And now let's invite our awareness

down inside the abdomen, inside

the belly to inhabit this part of

the body and tuning into breathing.

How's breathing showing up in

your abdomen or your belly?

Seeing if you can allow the belly to

swell a little bit on the in-breath

and subside on the out-breath, but

be careful not to force or strain.

Having a receptive quality

of awareness as you breathe.

And now guiding awareness up to

inhabit the whole chest area.

Resting inside the whole chest area

and feeling inside the movements

and sensations of breathing.

The ribs expanding on the in-breath,

subsiding on the out-breath,

the lungs filling and emptying,

breastbone, rising and falling.

Feel inside these

movements as best you can.

And if for any reason, breathing feels

agitated in the chest area or it's

triggering any difficult motions than

just resting back down in the belly again.

Resting your awareness inside the

whole front of the body, belly and

chest and feeling inside breathing.

The swelling, opening phase on

the in-breath, and a subsiding

phase on the out-breath.

Resting your awareness inside

this rhythm, inside this flow.

And now allowing awareness to

drop into the whole back of the

body, the back of the torso.

Starting, first of all, with the buttocks.

Checking that the buttocks are soft

as they rest on the bed or the chair.

And coming into the lower back,

the middle back and the upper back.

Feeling into how breathing is

showing up in the back of the body.

That breathing is naturally calming

and it's good to practice resting

inside breathing, inside the back of

the body as a way of accessing calm

during the practice today, but also

we can recall this in our daily life.

What's happening in the lower back?

Is the rhythm of breathing, maybe

the shape is changing a little bit

on the in-breath and the out-breath?

Maybe there's a broadening on the

in-breath, subsiding on the out-breath?

And the middle back and the upper back,

the back of the ribs, the back of the

lungs, the shoulder blades in the spine.

Resting our awareness here.

And again, always being

careful not to strain.

We're resting our awareness

inside the natural breath.

The natural flow and rhythm of

breathing deep inside the body.

And broadening to go over the whole

torso, the front, the back, the sides.

And seeing if we can get a sense

of the volume of the whole torso,

expanding in all directions a little

bit on the in-breath and subsiding

and all directions on the out-breath.

360 degree breathing.

And allowing awareness to rest

inside this flow and this rhythm.

Expanding and subsiding,

expanding and subsiding.

Maybe even having a sense of all

the internal organs being gently

massaged by the rhythm of breathing.

And now allowing our awareness

to pour down through the hips, to

inhabit the legs, the upper legs,

the thighs, the knees, the lower

legs, ankles, feet, and toes.

Resting our awareness inside

the hips and the legs.

And maybe sensations are strong and

intense, or maybe they're dull or

even absented, really doesn't matter.

What we're trying to cultivate here is

a quality of inhabiting the legs with

awareness, in whatever way works for you.

And may be there's even a very,

very subtle echo of breathing.

So we've got the bigger movements

in the torso and there's ripples

and flows down through the

hips, into the legs, feet, toes.

Very, very subtle.

Maybe you can't feel anything

at all, that's completely fine.

But just getting a sense of how

the body is so interconnected and

rhythm and movement in the torso

does express itself in a very

subtle way in the legs and the arms.

And now allowing our awareness to flow

back up the legs, back to the torso for

a few moments, this opening, subsiding,

opening, subsiding in all directions.

And now allowing awareness to

pour through the shoulders.

And down into the arms,

the hands, the fingers.

Having the hands resting in the lap

or on the floor or on the body, some

other way, depending on your position.

And seeing if you can give the

arms and the hands up to gravity.

Allowing the shoulders to fall

away from the midline of the body.

And maybe feeling an echo of

breathing in the arms and the hands.

The sense of connection between

the arms and the hands and

this rhythm in the torso.

And coming back up through

the arms, shoulders.

Coming into the neck and the head.

If we're sitting, checking that the

head is poised on top of the spine.

And if we're lying down, checking that

we're giving the weight of the head

up fully to the cushion or the pillow.

Allowing awareness to inhabit the

whole head and the whole face.

Forehead, eyes, cheeks,

nose, lips, jaw, tongue.

And seeing if we can let the whole

jaw, tongue area be soft so the

wind of the breath can flow freely

in and out of the body through this

area, through the back of the mouth.

And now to conclude, let's broaden our

awareness to be aware of the whole body.

The legs and the torso,

the arms, neck, head face.

And having a sense of the rhythm and

flow of breathing in the whole body,

expanding in all directions a little bit

on the in-breath and subsiding in all

directions a little bit on the out-breath.

The whole body rocked and cradled

and massaged by the rhythm of

breathing as you rest here.

And when you're ready, you can

bring the practice to a close

and adjusting your position.

And if you want to stay here

meditating for a bit longer, of

course, that's absolutely fine.

But whenever you finish, seeing if you

can take this quality of awareness with

you as you go into the rest of your day.

Thank you so much for sharing

this time with me coming into

deeply embodied breath awareness.

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