A form of meditation to help expand mind/body awareness, release tension and relax the mind. It is an effective technique for strengthening concentration, focusing attention and relaxing the breath.
“Begin by focusing on your breath. Inhale and exhale. Breathe deeply in…breathe slowly out. Enjoy being here in the present with no demands on your time or energy. Take a long, slow, deep breath in…hold for a moment, and slowly exhale. Continue with slow, calm breaths, allowing your body to soften into the ground a little deeper with each exhalation.
“Bring your awareness to your toes and feet. Imagine a warm, soothing sensation spreading from your toes down the arches of the feet and into the heels and ankles. Let go. Invite the shins to sink down into the calves as the calves connect with the earth. Release any tension in your knees. Relax the back of the knees, the sides of the knees, the top of the knees. Feel your entire leg relaxing, growing heavy and sinking deep into the ground.
“Soften your belly. Feel the warmth gently spreading outward filling your torso. Bring your attention to your heart. Allow your chest cavity to expand providing space for your heart and lungs to perform their proper function. Broaden across your collar bones. Allow the shoulder blades to sink down the back as your arms grow heavy. Release any tension in your elbows and wrists. Relax each and every one of your fingers.
“Focus on the base of your throat. Lengthen the back of the neck. Feel the warmth spread into your jaw, cheeks and forehead. Allow the inside corner of your eyes to sink down and the outer corner of your eyes to pull wide. Relax the crown of your head. As you inhale imagine the breath beginning in the soles of your feet, gently coming up through the legs, torso and all the way to the crown of your head. Exhale and allow the breath to flow down your body, down the legs and out the feet.
“Again, breathe from the soles up your feet, up the body, finally reaching the crown of the head. Then gently descend down, as the breath carries away any lingering tension out of the body through the feet. Enjoy this feeling of peaceful relaxation. Continue with this whole body-breathing scan in silence for a few moments.” (Freeman, Kids Yoga Academy)
“Three-Step Breathing Space” Script
A brief meditation that can be used when experiencing troubling thoughts or feelings. This is a vehicle for coming into the present moment and reducing stress.
1. AWARENESS Observe—bring the focus of awareness to your inner experience and notice what is happening in your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations.
Describe, acknowledge, identify—put experiences into words, for example, say in your mind, “A feeling of anger is arising” or “Self-critical thoughts are here.”
2. REDIRECTING ATTENTION Gently Redirect your full attention to the breath.
Follow the breath all the way in and all the way out.
Try noting “at the back of your mind,” “Breathing in . . . breathing out” or counting, “Inhaling, one . . . exhaling, one; inhaling, two . . . etc.”
3. EXPANDING ATTENTION Allow your attention to expand to the whole body—especially to any sense of discomfort, tension, or resistance. If these sensations are there, then take your awareness there by “breathing into them” on the inbreath. Then, breathe out from those sensations, softening and opening with the outbreath. Say to yourself on the outbreath, “It’s
OK. Whatever it is, it’s OK. Let me feel it.”
Become aware of and adjust your posture and facial expression.
As best you can, bring this expanded awareness to the next moments of your day.
(Segal, Williams & Teasdale, 2002).
“Raisin Exercise” Script
This exercise is a method of teaching mindfulness through a hands on activity. It invites participants to come into the present moment and notice how much they may do on automatic pilot.
First, take a raisin and hold it in the palm of your hand or between your finger and thumb.
Focusing on it, imagine that you’ve just dropped in from Mars and have never seen an object like this before in your life.
Let your eyes explore every part of it, examining the highlights where the light shines, the darker hollows, the folds and ridges, and any asymmetries or unique features.
Turn the raisin over between your fingers, exploring its texture, maybe with your eyes closed if that enhances your sense of touch.
Holding the raisin beneath your nose, with each inhalation drink in any smell, aroma, or fragrance that may arise, noticing as you do this anything interesting that may be happening in your mouth or stomach.
Now slowly bring the raisin up to your lips, noticing how your hand and arm know exactly how and where to position it. Gently place the object in the mouth, without chewing, noticing how it gets into the mouth in the first place. Spend a few moments exploring the sensations of having it in your mouth, exploring it with your tongue.
When you are ready, prepare to chew the raisin, noticing how and where it needs to be for chewing. Then, very consciously, take one or two bites ito it and notice what happens in the aftermath, experiencing any waves of taste that emanate from it as you continue chewing. Without swallowing yet, notice the bare sensations of taste and texture in the mouth and how these may change over time, moment by moment, as well as any changes in the object itself. Swallowing
When you feel ready to swallow the raisin, see if you can first detect the intention to swallow as it comes up, so that even this is experienced consciously before you actually swallow the raisin.
Finally, see if you can feel what is left of the raisin moving down into your stomach, and sense how the body as a whole is feeling after completing this exercise in mindful eating.
(Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn, 2007)