Life sometimes gets busy and it can be difficult to find the time to check in with ourselves. Other times, we simply forget. In this video, Ashanti Branch, the founder and executive director of the Ever Forward Club, explores the importance of carving out moments to turn our attention inward. When we give ourselves some love, he says, it becomes easier to give love and energy to others. He leads us in a full-body scan meditation to cultivate awareness, calm, and connection.
A 12-Minute Guided Body Scan
- Begin with the breath. Wherever you are, take a breath through your nose. If you can, close your eyes.
- Wherever your feet are, notice your feet. Try to ignore sounds around you for a few minutes and give your body some attention. How do your feet feel connected to the earth? How are they being carried?
- Take another breath and begin to scan up your shins. When you get to your knees, whether you’re sitting and they’re bent, or you’re lying down and they’re straight, notice your knees.
- Take a breath. Depending on your ability, notice the way your legs move and get you around. If you’re not able to use them, just notice them. Maybe move to your thighs and where you’re sitting on the seat. Just notice the connection. Are you in a comfortable place or are you uncomfortable? Take a breath and notice that what is holding you is holding you fully.
- Move your attention to your rib cage. Take a breath and feel your ribcage expand to make room for your lungs. Take another breath, and maybe make this breath slower than the last breath, filling up your lungs all the way with air, then holding the breath for a couple of seconds: one, two, three, four, and then breathe out.
As you notice the sounds that may be around you like cars passing by or music in the other room, just bring yourself back to your breath and give yourself some attention.
- Breathe in and breathe out. Move your focus up to your shoulders then down your right arm, all the way down your biceps, your forearm, to your fingers. If there is any distraction that’s happening, just bring your focus back to you. What would it be like if we had time each day just to give ourselves some attention?
See if you can notice each one of your fingers and your thumb. Move them around a little bit to give them more attention. Take a breath. We make our way back up our right arm, across the top of our chest to our left arm and down to our fingers.
- Bring your attention up to your shoulders and the back of your neck. Just notice what you feel. Take a breath. As you move to your face, notice all the features. At the top of your head, imagine a beam of light is shooting straight up out of it, then that you’re above yourself, looking down. Imagine the view of Earth from far away. Now, come back down into yourself. Take another deep breath.
- Keep it going. You can open your eyes and come back to yourself when you’re ready. With these last couple of breaths, feel the air in your lungs.
I invite you to continue to breathe, to be mindful, to be thoughtful, caring, and loving. Maybe try to carve out a few minutes every day to practice, maybe share it with somebody. Hopefully, you were able to do this practice and give yourself some attention. Hopefully you found that it was valuable. I believe that once we get to a place of loving ourselves, giving love to others is an easy next step.
Mindful Live is a series of events featuring mindfulness experts who share their favourite practices and insight live online. Ashanti Branch originally led this practice in one of these events. Sign up for our newsletter to stay in the loop about upcoming live events.