This body practice comes from Marlena Field’s Body-Centered Coaching site and I wanted to share it with you all. I hope you enjoy.
A daily practice of mini body shifts will help you manage stress at your office and give you permission to pause; permission to slow down, to be reflective and to give yourself and your body a mini-break. You can intentionally:
• do some diaphragmatic breathing (see below)
• close your eyes and simply be
• walk over to the window and gaze out
• stretch your limbs
• massage your neck
• rotate your shoulders
• be kind to your body
• listen to your body – what is it asking for
• move away from your computer
Physically moving your body allows for shifts in your body’s energy. Bodies are designed to move. When you remain in one position too long, your body can give you signals that it is time for you to adjust your position; to stretch or to get up and move.
The same applies when your mind is ‘stuck’ on a position for too long. For example, when you are in a negative thought pattern, you may have a certain body position that you adopt. Perhaps there is a particular way that you sit (rounded shoulders, head bent forward) or you may have a favorite “poor me chair”.
Take a moment to become curious about how and where you do this. If you catch yourself in this body perspective, try standing up; look out the window, walk down the hall or go outside. You will likely notice that you feel differently. It doesn’t mean that every trace of your thought pattern or mood will disappear, but it is likely that some form of movement will cause a shift. It is an intentional body perspective shift.
We can impact the degree to which we relax by using diaphragmatic breathing. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other on your abdomen. Keep the hand on your chest still and concentrate on breathing into the hand on your abdomen. Allow your abdomen to soften and fill up with your breath. Do not try to force the breath. Simply make the process as effortless as possible. Breathing in this way will help release stress and tension. Also, as you slightly extend the out breath, it will engage the parasympathetic nervous system and assist with relaxation.
Marlena Field, PCC, CPCC, founder and author of Body-Centered Coaching, offers a free e-newsletter titled BodyMind Wisdom: listen to your body, connect with your spirit. When you subscribe, you will receive her free audio titled “Conscious Choices for Change”.