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LESSON TWO

VISUALISATION, A WONDERFUL TOOLBOX

Visualisation is my personal favourite meditation technique. It can be used in short meditations like the nature walk below to a long journey within and connection on a vastly deeper level. We will begin with a body scan meditation. Body Scan is a simple form of mindfulness meditation, which has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol while helping you identify and sit with intense feelings without making them worse. 

This is a deeply relaxing practice that invites you to bring gentle awareness to different parts of your body. You’ll cultivate a calm sense of presence as you soften your muscles and purify your breaths. It can be a powerful meditation, the simple act of placing your full attention on different places in the body at a time, also known as a body scan is a great way to bring yourself in the present and bring a soothing to both body and mind.

A regular body scan practice just before bedtime can be particularly helpful at relieving chronic pain and insomnia. What makes meditation so effective for sleep problems? Many people have a hard time getting restful sleep when they feel worried or stressed. Because meditation can help you relax, let go of troubling thoughts, and feel calmer overall, a regular meditative practice can often ease distress that’s keeping you awake.

You can practice this Body Scan Meditation at any time of the day. If you wake up with anxiety, do it first thing in the morning. If you want to chill out after a tense situation, you can use it then, too. This is also a great one to do before bed, to help your mind and body relax.

Once you learn how to do a body scan, you can use this technique on your own whenever you need it!

Schedule your time into your diary, just like you would for the gym or for lunch, some days you may need to adjust it, but making a short amount of time, daily, to breathe and switch off will pay you back in mental clarity and calm.

You may want to keep headphones near if you want to listen in quiet to support your practice at the beginning, it may be best to follow my voice and recording prompts.

Turn off notifications - very important. You don’t want that distracting ‘ping’ of an email or a text just as you are taking these moments for yourself.

Get Cozy - Find a private space so you won’t be interrupted.

Focus. Close your eyes and begin focusing on your breath. Notice the sensation of your breath filling and leaving your lungs as you inhale and exhale.

Press play, close your eyes and follow my guidance.

Download

Acknowledge. If you begin to notice pain and discomfort, acknowledge and sit with any emotions these sensations bring up. Accept them without criticism. For example, if you feel frustrated and angry, don’t judge yourself, notice them and let them pass.

Breathe. Continue breathing, imagining the pain and tension decreasing with each breath.

Release. Slowly release your mental awareness on that specific part of your body and redirect it to your next area of focus. Some people find it helpful to imagine releasing one body part as they breathe out and moving on to the next as they breathe in. Follow my guide and afterwards write down how this meditation made you feel. There is a bonus meditation to follow in the worksheet.

TAKE A WALK WITH ME THROUGH NATURE.

Some visualisation meditations can transport you somewhere else entirely - the meditation below combines this visualisation technique of walking through nature together with music. Some like to use music as a aid to relaxation and some prefer without. Try out both and see what resonates with you and what gives you a deeper relaxation experience.

Download the worksheet below before hand so you can write notes following this time - how did this meditation made you feel? - was it easier to switch focus? Did you enjoy the music behind? Try the different Visualisation meditations throughout the week, these are slightly longer and could be a great way to end your day, clear your mind and reset for the evening.

That’s life: starting over, one breath at a time.

— SHARON SALZBERG

Download the worksheet for a bonus Loving Kindness Meditation you could also try this week… If this practice resonates with you, feel free to incorporate it into your daily routine. And pay attention to the shifts you experience as a result. You may want to jot down notes on your worksheet to see just how impactful it is over time. Try all the meditations and really start to feel what you enjoy the most.

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