Our bodies do so much for us. Take a moment to bring a spirit of curiosity and appreciation to what’s happening in your body right now.
Some days I wake up and notice that my spring has already sprung and each movement has a kind of creaking quality. After years of practicing mindfulness, it makes me smile. Whatever experience I’m having—good, bad, pleasant, unpleasant—I will never pass this way again.
This is an invitation to explore the experience of the present moment in all its gory glory. You can do this practice sitting, standing, upside down or whatever way you find the present moment.
A 12-Minute Meditation to Give Gratitude for Your Body
- Let’s start by taking three nice big breaths. Breathe in for a count of three and out for a count of five. Do you notice? You’re alive. It’s actually kind of amazing. Can you bring your attention to the jaw-dropping wonder that is the human body?
- Let’s start with the toes, bringing attention to your feet touching the ground. You may be amazed by how many sensations there are to experience: tingling, pulsing, restlessness, hot, cool, moist, dry, ticklish, itchy, numb, neutral. What do you notice about paying attention to these small experiences? Is it possible that they could help you cultivate gratitude for this body that’s going to accompany you through your life?
- As you move up the legs, what do you feel? Whenever I feel anything uncomfortable, I notice how much I want to make meaning out of it. Instead, I invite us all to just feel what’s here without making any meaning of it at all. It’s all so interesting. So this is what’s happening now.
- Moving up the land of pelvis, I notice clenching the moment I go to explore sensations in my bladder. Do I dare? Again, reminding myself that it’s not about trying to relax or make anything easier or better. I use these moments of awareness to widen the palette of colors available to experience what it is to be a human. What do you notice?
- Continuing the journey up the body, eventually we encounter the beautiful belly filled with so many stories. Loss, longing, yearning, wanting. Can you be grateful for all that it’s experienced and send it love and appreciation?
- Moving up through the torso, this luscious landscape which houses heart and lungs, you may picture an inner river pumping and flowing, bringing juicy life through the body.
- When you reach your shoulders, you can lay gentle hands on yourself, massaging some of the day’s stress away. Taking a moment to be grateful for all that our shoulders shoulder. Swooping down through arms to fingers, I thank them for allowing me to be independent in so many ways. Can you offer appreciation to your hands and arms that work so hard?
- We visit the neck and face. Are lips dry or moist? Are your teeth clenched? What about the jaw? Can you feel the air moving in and out of your nostrils? Can you notice your eyeballs, top of your head, back of your head, side of your head, and your ears?
- On an out-breath, let go of focused awareness. On an in-breath, expand your attention around the entire body, noticing all the sensations reminding you that you are alive right now. What do you notice when you bring the spirit of gratitude into every precious moment that you and your body share together?
If platitudes like “be grateful” tend to light a fire of rage in you, you’re not alone—and you may benefit from a slightly different path to accessing the many gifts of a regular gratitude practice.
Practicing gratitude has incredible effects, from improving our mental health to boosting our relationships with others. Explore ways you can be more appreciative in our mindful guide to gratitude.