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What To Know About Embodied Meditation

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

So many people ask, “What is the difference between embodied meditation and other meditation methods?” The best way to begin to answer that question is to sense yourself with the part of the mind that observes. To work with settling the way the mind thinks in words and train yourself to feel what is happening moment to moment in your body. Explore embodied meditation in this 15-minute guided practice.

In an embodied meditation session, you can sit in a classic meditation posture on the floor with your legs crossed, in a chair, or lie down on the earth, a bed, or a couch. Be as relaxed and supported as possible. That may mean keeping your back supported with a pillow if seated in a chair or placing cushions under your knees on the floor. If you lie down, place a rolled blanket under your knees and a thin blanket for your head to ensure comfort.

Some meditation styles do not suggest any support and instruct one to notice pain and discomfort without changing it. There is a place for that, although I have realized that for some, being in your body with yourself for a while each day provides a landscape to move through enough difficulties. Being uncomfortable does not have to be one of them.

If you start feeling a high-level sensation in your knees or back, it is essential to shift your position. High levels of sensation are the body's way of telling you something should change. It's a signal for a shift in support.

If you are struggling with something in life, you are always encouraged to find support. Why should the body be any different? In many meditation practices, the instruction is to stay as still as possible without shifting position, no matter what you feel.

Once you are settled in your preferred position, Embodied meditation starts with a body scan. Taking your time to walk through your body with the awareness part of your mind, not changing anything or fixing anything, just taking time to notice “where you are” in your body and how it feels.

Then you will be invited to notice your breath. In some meditation modalities, that is as far as the instruction may go. In embodied meditation, you are invited to notice how your body is moving as you breathe.

There are many sensations to breathing and so many ways the body moves to accommodate the air coming in and going out. It's such rich territory! More mindful styles of meditation could be more detailed about the body. Embodied meditation finds excellent value, including body sensation as the focus of practice.

Here are some other ways to focus your attention during an embodied meditation session:

  • Notice the movement of breath in the front of your body

  • Notice the movement of breath in the sides of your body

  • Notice the movement of breath in the back of your body

  • If seated, notice contact with your seat

  • If lying down, notice all the parts of your body that make contact with the surface under you

  • If seated in a chair, see how many ways you can feel your feet in contact with the ground, and do micro-pressing into the floor/ground with parts of your foot. This will enliven the sensations there.

The explorations are endless. Committing to relating to your body in meditation can offer a way to love yourself and your body and be fully awake!

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