Mindfulness Exercises

Softening Anxiety by Grounding in the Present Moment

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Begin either seated or lying down, with eyes opened or closed
Choose a posture that feels safe and comfortable to you

Turn your attention inward toward your breath
Breathe in and out through your nose,
and remain present with the felt experience of the breath
As you watch breath move in and out through your nostrils

Stay with this one breath in,
And with this one breath out

As you look upon the breath with curiosity,
Let the detail of what you notice keep you right here, and right now

As you look upon the breath with open acceptance,
Let a sense of awe help hold you in this one moment

(pause 3 breaths)

And then expand awareness from the breath, to the body as a whole
Still aware of breath, remain present with the sensation of breath throughout the body

Feel the rise and fall of your shoulders
Or the expansion and contraction of your belly
Or an overall sense of floating upwards, and downwards,
On each cycle of breath

Hold your attention to wherever it is in the body
that you notice the breath the most

Let curiosity and an open, spacious attention
Keep you rooted in breath and body awareness

Allow for a sense of awe, which helps keep us connected to that which we notice

And then beginning at the top of your head
As yourself, what else is present here, in the body, other than the breath?

Scan through your head, forehead, jaw, and neck
Still present with awe, with curiosity and open-mindedness

Notice sensation, or if there are particular thoughts, feeling, emotions present,
Here in the head and neck

And if you find something, allow it to be
The exercise here is to simply notice
To remain present with what is

No need to judge, criticise, or change
Just acknowledge
Acknowledge what’s present, right here and right now

Connect to felt sensation in your shoulders, upper arms, lower arms, wrists and hands
The right side arm
The left side arm
Can you be aware of both, together?

Connect to felt sensation in your chest, belly, lower back
Still aware of your breath
But present right now, with the torso

Connect to sensation in your pelvis, your upper thighs, front and back

And then bring awareness down to your lower legs, feet and toes

Remain curious and open, free from self-judgment
And continue to let your heart open as you invite in a sense of awe and wonder
These are all qualities which help keep us present, right here and right now

Here you are, breathing, in this body
This magical body that supports and serves you
That is perfectly designed to hold you in this space

(pause 3 breaths)

And now shift attention to the parts of the body that are connected to your seat, or to the earth
Your backside if you’re lying down,
Or your seat, thighs and feet if you’re seated

With breath and body awareness,
expand your attention outward again
and notice how you’re connected to the space around you

Recognize the support and solidity of the structure(s) beneath you
And realize that you’re being held here by the breath, and the body itself
But also by the earth, and the structure around you

Allow yourself to feel held in this space, feel held by the earth
Allow yourself to soften a bit more into your seat
And invite back in this sense of awe,
The sense of present-moment awareness
You are here, you are held, you are safe

(pause 3 breaths)

Finally, expand your awareness from breath and body
And connection to the structure underneath you
Further outward
To the sounds, smells, or sights all around you

If your eyes are closed, play with opening the eyes, then closing them again

Notice that within this wider space, you’re still held, still connected to the ground
Stay full of awe and awareness, as you take in the environment around you

Can you remember breath, body, and connection to the earth
As you start to shift your attention and gaze outward?

And could you hold this present moment awareness,
This feeling of being supported in this space,
Even as you move about your day?

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