-For more information and a full transcript of this video, check out Fun4theDisabled.com. When joining us for this video, you need to take some precautions as your health and safety are the most important. To avoid any injury or harm, you need to check your health with your doctor before exercising. By performing any fitness exercises without supervision like with this video, you are performing them at your own risk. See a fitness professional to give you advice on your exercise form. Strategy for Access Foundation NFP, Kakana, and Nikki Palma will not be responsible or liable for any injury or harm you sustain as a result of this video.
So wherever you are, get comfortable. And that might look different for each person. Some people like to sit really straight and have a clear path for their breath to come through the body. I like to keep things a little looser, let my shoulders drop. And right away, start to clue into your breath, so start to feel where your breath moves in your body. All day, your breath moves for you. You breathe in, you breathe out. And there’s nothing to change about your breath. Just begin to feel your belly expand as you inhale. Feel it come back in as you exhale. If it’s helpful today, you might place a hand on your belly or on your heart to help feel the sensation of your breath moving. Throughout the course of our time together today, we’ll take some intentional moments of silence. So right here we’ll take a little bit of silence so that you can start to feel your breath move. And the next time you hear my voice, we’ll start to work with the body a little bit.
Wherever you are, begin to pay attention to the lowest part of your body that you can feel or imagine. Where you connect to the floor or your seat. And begin to feel rooted through the lower parts of your body. Perhaps that’s a connection between your feet and the floor, or your seat in your chair. Or something else if you’ve taken a different position. And now as you begin to feel rooted and grounded by the way that the earth holds you up, you can also start to encourage ease into these spaces with your breath. And that might mean adding a little gentle movement before coming to stillness. Sometimes I like to wiggle my toes or move my ankles around. Bring gentle movement into the lower leg. With each breath, encouraging softness. Gently, fully inhale, and softly and completely exhale.
Over and over as you bring your attention a little higher in the body. I find sitting still for a lot of the day, I like to move my hips here a little bit. You can do a gentle chair dance, do the twist a little bit in your seat. Maybe with your exhale, encourage a bit more softness into this space. [Exhale] And know that everything I say is an invitation, it may or may not resonate with you or with the way your body’s feeling today. You can bring your attention to the center of the body, sort of near the belly button. And this is somewhere that sometimes tension might be held, use the idiom “knots in your stomach” or sometimes you suck your belly in or hold it when you’re training. For this moment, allow it to be a little softer. Feel the way that your body inhales to accommodate your breath. It expands and makes space. And feel it come back together as you exhale. I like to think of it over and over as a little hug when you come back in, all your organs come back in together…with every exhale.
You’re welcome to take movement in the upper body if that resonates with you. I find in meditation sometimes I sway. As you exhale next, think about the shoulders. Gently encourage softness. You can think about your shoulders melting down your back like an ice cube on a hot day. And this is a tool you might take off of your mat. Sometimes when I can’t sleep, I ask my shoulders to relax. And it’s a signal for the rest of my body that it’s time to sleep and rest. Likewise, maybe you’ve been using your hands and your wrists a lot today, and maybe you type a lot in other roles in your life. You can circle your ankles– um, your wrists around, wiggle your fingers, move your arms if you like. And gently encourage ease into the upper muscles of the arms, the biceps, the triceps, let the forearms be soft, wrists, fingers.
Continuing our journey into the neck, maybe you gently send the head left and right. Maybe you roll the head around, releasing any tension you might be holding in your neck. And bring your attention to the muscles in your face. Sometimes I release my breath with some noise. So I’ll flutter my lips to let go of any tension I might be holding in the jaw. And you can try that out, you have full privacy on your end to exhale with a [Blows raspberry]. Feel that vibration reverberate through the muscles of the mouth, the jaw, the cheeks. Release the muscles of the eyebrows, perhaps giving yourself a gentle massage.
We’ll start to bring a bit of intention to our breath. Every time you inhale, you can encourage something new and helpful. So you can draw towards you anything you need today. And that can be something really specific. So maybe you’ll inhale and draw towards you… focus for the day, help with a problem, better sleep tonight. And take a few inhales to think about what intention might resonate with you today. And no one’s judging your answer, so it can be something specific, something small and helpful for you. And it can be something large for the planet. And every time you inhale, you can imagine that you’re drawing towards you all that is good and helpful. And I have days where I don’t know what I need, so sometimes I use that phrase, “I inhale all that is good and helpful.” And I trust that what I need will come to me through whatever power you believe in. I inhale all that is good and helpful. And you can imagine the pathway of your breath. Your breath comes in through your nose, makes its way down your throat, past your heart and into the center of your body. And each breath makes its way from the center of your body to every single cell, in your muscles, all the way down to the deepest parts of you, to your toes.
If it’s helpful, you can assign a color to this as you inhale all that’s good and helpful. And you can see that color diffuse slowly through your body. I love the color green so I choose green. And I see my cells light up like a neon sign as I encourage what’s helpful to make its way to me and into my body. You might have a different relationship with the color green, you can choose something else. And maybe today there’s something you’d like to release. Feelings of anxiety, feelings of restlessness, or something else. As you exhale, you can release anything you don’t need, either named or unnamed. It might be that focusing on the thing you want to release in meditation isn’t helpful. If I meditate on my anxiety, I have more anxiety. So as I exhale, I exhale anything that I don’t need. And you can be really specific here.
So inhale anything that’s good and helpful, and exhale away anything you don’t need, named or unnamed. And it can be something small, something that happened in your day, an obstacle to your goals for the rest of your day, for your life. Or it can be a general feeling of…restlessness or malaise or just feeling blah. Sometimes I give this a color as well. I like to imagine like, gray fog coming out of my nose, kinda like I’m a dragon. And if I’m angry I use red. You can choose a different color for whatever might be troubling you today or whatever feelings that you would like to release. So inhale all that is good and helpful, allow these things to enter your life, your body and light you up, and then exhale anything you don’t need, all the way out of your body. You can imagine these things leaving your body, leaving your physical space. Sometimes I actually shoot them out of the Earth’s atmosphere, imagine them leaving the Earth.
And even as we focus on our breath, know that the mind may wander. And as it does, gently encourage it back to the intention that you sent. And the mind isn’t wrong for wandering, you might hear a noise in your space or outside of your home. You might suddenly realize that your nose itches, and if it does, scratch your nose. Your mind is doing what it’s supposed to do. It informs you about your environment, your life. It reminds you that you really meant to buy onions and you forgot to at the store. And you can gently encourage your mind back to your breath, those spaces where your body moves, the gentle expansion of your belly and your ribs, the gentle lift of your chest. And then the gentle ways that the body comes back together as you continue to breathe. Release anything that might not be helpful for you today.
And there are so many choices here as we meditate together. So if you find that your mind wanders somewhere useful, you’re welcome to breathe and consider that thought. There’s no mandate for a blank mind. Gently, fully inhale… softly and completely exhale. And I liken it to the way that sometimes you have your best ideas at night when you’re about to fall asleep or when you’re distracted by something. Have you ever found that you have these great ideas when you’re shampooing your hair in the shower? Sometimes meditation is like that. You answer a question or realize a creative way to fix a problem in your life. So allow the mind to wander gently away, and then encourage it back to whatever you would like to focus on this afternoon.
Sometimes I think about my mind in meditation as if I was walking with, like a small puppy. They wanna see everything, they wanna smell everything and experience life. And your mind is like that. So if your mind wanders to something interesting and beautiful, give it a moment, and then gently encourage it back onto whichever path you’ve chosen today. Deeply, fully inhale all that is good and helpful…gently exhale anything that you don’t need. And even through the course of meditation, some ease may have left the body. So check in with the areas where you felt tension as we started this afternoon. How do your shoulders feel? Are they still soft? Is there tension in the arms or legs? Are you allowing your belly to move unimpeded? We’ll take a few moments of intentional silence together as you connect with your breath. And I’ll bring you back with the sound of the prayer bowl, and we’ll take a few more breaths together.
[Prayer bowl dinging]
Prepare for a deep breath together. All together, exhale all your air [Exhale]. Deeply, fully inhale…and exhale. Slowly begin to come back into the room. There’s no rush. Maybe you do so with gentle, small movements in the body. And on your own time, you’re welcome to close or open your eyes.