12 Minute Meditation: Check in With Your Whole Self

Ashely Williams leads a guided practice to check in with your mind, body, heart, energy, and emotions.

Adobe Stock/ Wayhome Studio

Based on research and self-reporting from many sixth and seventh grade students, there’s a lack of motivation and self-esteem in the classroom due to poor relationships and motivation from teachers, their peers, and their environments. This practice is one that I do with my students to help us check in with our minds, our bodies, our hearts, our energy, and our emotions.

You may want to do this practice during transitional periods throughout the day like in the morning or bedtime, at the beginning or end of classes, or before or after test taking. After the guided practice, I like to provide time for reflection, inviting students to express what is present through an open dialogue, circle check-in, or writing.

Practice Full-Body Mindfulness

12 Minute Meditation: Check in With Your Whole Self with Ashley Williams

  1. When you’re ready, find a comfortable position that works for you in this moment. 
  2. As you settle in, invite yourself to take a look around your environment. Noticing colors. Noticing shapes. Noticing sounds. Take a breath in and notice smells. 
  3. Then find a soft gaze on a focal point or allow yourself to close your eyes. Take a few mindful breaths in and out. We’ll take a moment to check in with our whole selves and if the mind becomes distracted by one of those sounds, smells, or objects in your environment, our only intention is to bring our awareness back to our focal point of checking in. 
  4. Take a moment to notice your body. Check in with your legs. Check in with your arms. Check in with your belly. Check in with your head. How does your body feel in this moment? You may notice sensations of soreness or relaxation. Are the arms relaxed? Take a moment to check in and ask, How does my body feel in this moment? Without any judgment. Allow yourself just to notice and check in
  5. Now, bring your awareness to the space of your mind. Noticing thoughts that are at the top of the mind. You may notice thoughts of an experience that you had before doing this practice. You may also notice thoughts of experiences that may come after this practice. Notice what you’re thinking about. Also notice and ask, Is my mind steady? Or is my mind full of thought? We’re not trying to change what’s happening in our mind, we’re simply checking in. 
  6. Begin to move your awareness, your attention, to your heart. You may find it helpful to take the palm of your hand and place it over your heart. Take a moment and ask, How is my heart right now? Noticing how it feels. Notice what is present. Check in with emotions, noticing if they’re emotions of happiness, sadness, joy, pain, loss, excitement. Notice if there’s blankness or an emotion that there may not actually be a word for in this moment. As you notice your emotions, notice that there may be more than one emotion present at this time, and that’s OK. Notice that each one is valid. 
  7. As you take a breath, begin to move your attention to your energy. Taking a moment to ask, How is my energy in this moment? Notice if the energy feels high. Also notice if the energy feels stable and steady. Notice if it’s anxious energy that feels scattered. Notice if you feel alert and relaxed. Just take a moment and ask, How is my energy in this moment? Without any judgment, remembering that you are simply checking in. 
  8. Then, check in with your whole self—your body, your mind, your heart, your emotions and your energy. Ask: What do I need to care for myself right now? Noticing that. That response may be movement or stillness. Maybe taking a sip of water, or getting rest. It may be asking for help. It also may be nothing. But based on what you just explored during your check in: What do I need to support and care for myself right now? 
  9. And as we end our practice, take the information that you just gathered during your brief moment of pause. Take a moment to say thank you to yourself for checking in. And when you’re ready, invite yourself to take a few mindful breaths. Gently open the eyes and return back to the physical space.