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Meditation on the awareness of body sensations

BY ANITA DUDHANE

In the past few months we have been discussing the various reasons for practicing mindfulness and some of the theory behind these techniques. In this article, we will actually do a meditation exercise.

Find a quiet, clean place to sit, where you can be undisturbed for 20 minutes. Sit in a comfortable position – the best is to sit cross legged on the floor on a cushion. Elevating your sacrum on a cushion helps to keep the back straight and you can sit comfortably for a longer period of time. If you cannot sit on the floor it doesn’t matter – you can sit on a chair with both feet placed flat on the floor. Place your palms on your knees facing upwards.

Start with three deep breaths – this brings your awareness to the present moment. Now bring your attention to your right palm – you should be aware of the sensations there. In the beginning you may feel nothing but with patience, you will feel various kinds of sensations like tingling, pulsations, movement etc. then bring your attention to your forearms and later to your upper arms. When you can feel your whole right arm, bring your attention to your left palm, forearm and whole arm. When you feel both arms, bring your attention to your right foot, starting with the sole and gradually the whole leg and repeat the exercise with your left leg as well.

When you can feel both arms and legs, bring your attention to your spine and slowly feel the whole spine starting from the lower vertebrae to the upper ones. Again, initially you may feel nothing as we are so used to being anesthetised to our bodies but with time you will feel the subtle energy in the spine. Then bring your attention to your abdominal area – here it is much harder to feel the sensations but it comes with time.

Finally bring your attention to your face and head. Once you can feel sensations in your body everywhere, sit quietly and gently focus on them. Just note the tingling, the throbbing without getting stuck on them. Note where you can feel the sensations clearly and where you are tight and constrained. Gently release that area if you can.

Finally bring your attention to the environment around you and open your eyes. This meditation can be done anywhere. Once you are really good at this, you can do it when you are at work or in any situation. When you feel a tightening, you can feel it and relax slowly.

This is the simplest meditation technique and when your mind is busy feeling the sensations, you will realise that the thinking mind just drops which is very relaxing. In the beginning, you may find your mind wandering which is normal – just bring it back gently on the object of meditation. Don’t get discouraged if you find it difficult initially, as with practice it gets easier to do.

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