This meditation is a companion to Love Your Rebellion, Issue 16: Homecoming. To complete the final steps of the activity, purchase Issue 16 in our shop.
Created by Rebecca Martinez-Thomas, LMFT
"The Afterparty" Audio Transcription
- Welcome to Love Your Rebellion Issue #16: Homecoming.
- The activities in this issue ask you to question your relationship with your body and offer a path towards body neutrality. Body neutrality is the idea of accepting your body, as is, in its current state, like practicing radical acceptance with your body.
- Being able to accept where your body is right now gives you a foundation to develop an appreciation for who you are in this moment, not an idea of who you might become or who you once were. While body positivity may be the goal for some, it can feel too lofty and out of reach for those who have challenging feelings about their body. Instead, we at LYR are asking our readers to open to the idea of body neutrality.
- Using mindfulness and somatics can be an effective yet gentle way to connect with your body and begin practicing body neutrality. We are going to start with a body scan then move into a tense and release exercise. First noticing then actively relaxing.
- The focus of a body scan is to build awareness by moving your attention through parts of the body. Today we will start from the bottom and travel up, noting the physical sensations as we go.
- To begin, I invite you to find a comfortable resting position in a private setting. I encourage you to close your eyes or soften your gaze, if that feels good to you.
- Now let’s take three deep breaths together. Breathe in through your nose, filling up with air, and release from your mouth. Inhale deep, sending your breath down to your belly and feel it expand. Slowly exhale out of your mouth, letting all the air out. Again inhale deeply, this time holding for a few seconds (2, 3, 4), then release. Feel the air move in and out of your body. Allow your breath to return to a relaxed pace.
- Bring your awareness to your seat, or wherever your body is making contact, be it a chair, bed, or floor. Feel the weight of your body being supported here. May you feel grounded in this moment.
- Let the sounds around you fade from your focus by shifting your attention from the outer world inward, from out there to in, here.
- Let’s start by bringing awareness to your toes, feet, and ankles, if that is accessible to you. Just notice, without judgment. What sensations are here? Are they cold or cozy? Is there tingling or numbness?
- Climbing up your legs, bring attention to your shins, calves, knees, and thighs. Notice what’s here. Do you sense stiffness, heaviness, lightness, or nothing at all?
- Moving higher, notice your hips, glutes, and pelvis. Without judgement, explore your sensations. Is it tightness, pressure, or does it feel loose and flexible in this area?
- Now shift your mind up to your belly, sides, mid, and lower back region. What do you notice? Is there softness, soreness, discomfort, hunger, or fullness? You may notice the rise and fall with your breath.
- Next, bring your attention to your chest, shoulders, upper back, and neck. Just simply notice how you feel. Maybe you feel the pulsing of your heart here, or tension, or pain. Whatever it is, note it, without critiquing it.
- Gently guide your focus to your arms, hands, and fingers, if available to you. What sensations are present?
- Notice any sensations around your head, face, and crown. Scanning with awareness your jaw, chin, lips, mouth, cheeks, and nose. Feel the air move in and out of your nose as you breathe. Lastly, bring attention to your ears, eyes, forehead, temples, and scalp, holding the whole of that region with awareness.
- By being curious and present with your body you open the lines of communication. Consider, if your body could talk, what might it be saying?
Tense and Release
- Now that we are aware and connected, let's bring some intentional relaxation to our bodies by tensing and releasing from the top of the head all the way down the body.
- Take a slow, deep breath in, scrunch up your face and tense up your ears, scalp, and jaw. Hold for 2, 3, 4, and release with your exhale.
- Breathe in again, slowly. See if you can create tension in your arms, hands, and fingers, if available to you, by clenching your fists and arms, holding for (2, 3, 4) and then releasing.
- Build pressure in your chest, shoulders, upper back, and neck, by clenching tightly when you inhale. Hold for (2, 3, 4) and release.
- Moving down to your belly, side body, and lower back. Breathe in as you tense this area of your body tight, holding for a few seconds (2, 3, 4) and exhale.
- On your next inhale, constrict your hips, glutes, and pelvis. Hold, 2, 3, 4, and release.
- Breath in, flex your thigh and calf muscles. Hold 2, 3, 4 then exhale.
- Next, if accessible, feel free to wiggle your toes, rotate your ankles, and flex then point your feet. Then on your next breath in, scrunch up your toes, and tense your feet and ankles. Hold, 2, 3, 4, and on the exhale release.
- To finish up, take a deep breath in and try to clench your whole body at once, limbs, mid section, face, everything you got. Hold for (2, 3, 4) and release on your exhale, gently shaking out or stretching, if that feels good to you.
- As we end, check in with yourself. How does your body feel now? Is there any difference from when we began this activity?
- See if you can find gratitude for your body. Try thanking your body for allowing you to be here today, right now. Thank yourself for making time for this practice.
- In closing, consider… If you could celebrate your body for one full day or even one full hour, what would that look like?
- Any time you spend honoring, caring for, or cherishing your body is also time spent honoring, caring for, and cherishing yourself since you are not separate from your body. You are your body. And your body, is you.
- From all of us at LYR, welcome home.