Today we are going to practice body awareness. This means that we will be moving our attention from noticing things around us to noticing things going on inside of us. Body awareness can include paying attention to emotions and parts of the body. You might notice that some places feel different than normal. If you do, you can bring your attention to that place and imagine that all of your breath is flowing into it.
We will start the practice by finding a comfortable seat. You can sit cross-legged on the floor or sit up straight in a chair depending on what is allowed in your classroom. Lift the top of your head straight up to the ceiling to make your spine long and tall. Your hands can rest either face down or face up on your legs.
If it is comfortable, gently close your eyes. We will begin to take our focus inside of the body, leaving the outside world out of our thoughts until we return to the room later. Begin to make your inhales and exhales longer. Fill up your belly on your in breath, and bring the belly in toward your spine on your out breath.
Start by bringing your attention all the way down into your toes. See if you can feel into each toe without moving them. If you’d like, you can imagine your breath traveling down your legs, into your feet, and into each toe. Eventually, the breath and focus will move into the feet too. As you breathe into your feet, pay attention to how they are feeling. Our feet carry us around almost everywhere we go, and we often don’t realize how tired they get! You can imagine that your breath in helping the feet wake up.
We will concentrate on our legs next. How do the lower parts of your legs feel? Let your in breath bring air all the way down into your lower legs. Then let your breath move up past your knees, to the upper part of your legs. Continue letting your breath travel up your body, moving to your belly. Pay attention to how your belly is feeling. Did you eat a lot of food before this practice? If so, you might want to take smaller breaths so you don’t get a tummy ache. Keep filling up the belly as you breathe in, and bringing your belly button back in as you breathe out.
From the belly, we move up to the chest. This is also the place where your heart is. Take a moment to check in with your heart. How is it feeling today? You can think about the heart as the place for your emotions too. See if you can bring all of your breath into the space around your heart, taking a few in breaths and out breaths here. From your heart, you can let your breath travel down your arms and into your fingertips, letting go of anything that isn’t making you happy.
Slowly bring the breath and focus back up through your arms and into your shoulders. The shoulders are at the top of the arms and also behind the heart at the top of your back. How are your shoulders feeling? See if you can make them feel more relaxed and open with your breath.
When you are ready, let the breath move up the neck and into the head. Notice if any thoughts come up when you get to your head. If they do, just breathe into them and let them float away. Take a few more deep in breaths and out breaths here.
Slowly let your breath return to your belly. Feeling your belly get really big like a balloon as you breathe in, and then feel it pull back toward you as you let all of the air out.
Turn your palms face down if they aren’t already, and take a few more breaths to slowly open your eyes and come back into the room.
Teachers: Can have students reflect on how the activity made them feel both emotionally and physically. Have they ever spent time focusing on their body and breath like this? This is a great way to bring down energy levels, as it is a completely internal practice.
Students: this body awareness activity is a great way to check in with your self to see how you’re doing. You can practice this every day, or maybe just when you’d like to feel a little more connected to your body.