A breath and body scan with verses from Thich Naht Hanh

Taking a comfortable position .. could be seated or lying down.  Before starting on this body scan, let's just check our head, and neck alignment, and using the mantra, 'strong back, soft front', allowing our hard body structures, from the lower body to the cranium, to drift upwards, while the soft tissue of the body, of our chest and our belly, to soften and drop down ... even lying down one can sense into this two way inner imagining.

Eyes are open or closed .. or half-closed, allowing a little blurry light.

So ..starting at the feet .. feeling our feet on the ground .. anchoring us. If lying down, being aware of our legs and feet in contact with the support beneath us. And bringing our attention to the breath - taking a couple of deeper breaths to tune into it ...... and now, breathing gently .. moving into a soothing breathing rhythm ... letting go on each out breath....

'Breathing in, my whole body

is harmonised with the in-breath.

Breathing out, my whole body

is calmed with the out-breath.’

And on the next out-breath, letting go and moving awareness to the lower legs ... breathing in to the knees …  to the thighs ....

breathing ... allowing .... letting go .....

Now bringing attention to the seat area  .. another grounding anchor in the body, whether sitting or lying ... breathing .... letting be ..... letting go ... 

And now moving our spotlight of attention to the pelvic area ......... to the lower back .....breathing into this area ....

and if there's pain here .... gently allowing the breath to soften .. to bring a spaciousness in to the area ... breath by breath ... breathing gently .... allowing ..... each breath allowing a softening, an opening up ...

And letting go of this area and moving round to the belly ....here noting the harmony between our breath and body .... belly rising and falling .... on each in and each out-breath ... 

Letting go and moving to the upper back ... breathing in .... breathing out ......... Once again, if there's pain or discomfort .. gently allowing the breath to bring a softness and openness into the upper back ... acknowledging .. breathing with ... allowing .. breath by gentle breath..

If thoughts come, then once aware, welcoming this very awareness, and then gently using the breath to bring us back to the body ... with kindness..

Once more, letting go .. and coming to the heart/chest  area ... And becoming aware of the movement, the synchronicity between the breath and the body .. the gentle rising and falling of the chest with each breath .. the heart, fount of our regulation, of our warmth, of our living and breathing  ..

‘Breathing in, 

I know that I am alive.

Breathing out,

I smile at my aliveness.’

….There may be difficult emotions arising .... hurt, sadness, grief, fear, worry ...

If so  … naming them silently .. and perhaps seeing where in the body you feel that emotion ... maybe the heart area, the chest, shoulders, the throat, ... or possibly lower down, in the belly  ... and seeing if you can softly breathe into that part of the body.. allowing a little spaciousness to come in ... to soften .. with this- breath, this out-breath...  

So now .. letting go .. and coming to the shoulders ... and now breathing into the upper arms..... the lower arms ... and the hands .... Sensing the breath in the body down to the fingertips .. Breathing into the hands ... resting attention there ... warming ... anchoring..

Letting go .. coming to the neck .. towards the base of the skull ...along the brain stem .. channel of regulation ... to the jaw ... letting go ... the tongue... letting go .... softening the cheeks .. then the ears .. the eyes .. the brow ... softly .. gently .. up to the crown and the back of the head .... breathing into ..... with this in-breath ... letting go with this out-breath.

Now breathing with the whole body,  the body as a whole ... this body .. this breath... this now ...

‘Every time

we come back 

to our body

with mindful breathing

we put an end to our 

feelings of isolation

and alienation

and we have a chance

to heal ourselves


(Verses from 'Thich Nhat Hanh @ 2018 Unified Buddhist Church, Inc)                                




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