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Self-Care Resources for Stress Related COVID19: Ideas and Handouts

Meditation and Yoga research and resources for dealing with stress during the COVID19 Pandemic.

Guided Body Scan Script (can be used and adapted in a classroom)


Find a comfortable position in which to sit. You may sit or lie down, but make sure you remain awake and aware. If you’re comfortable doing so, allow the eyes to gently close. Start by tuning into the posture of the body. It is helpful to keep the spine straight and energized, while relaxing the muscles around the skeleton.

You can use the breath to aid in this process: as you breathe in, breathe energy and awareness into the spine, reaching the spine gently upward. As you exhale, let go. Allow the shoulders to drop, let there be some slack in the jaw, and soften the belly.
(Allow for a few deep breaths like this.)

We’ll start the body scan by tuning into the crown of the head. Simply bring your awareness to the top of the head, tuning into whatever is present for you. Can you feel the skin of the scalp? The temperature of the air on the skin? Your hair? There’s no right or wrong; just tune into whatever is physically present. You can drop down into the forehead and brow, again tuning into whatever is present.

You may notice the temperature of the air, some slight scrunching of the brow, or some relaxation. Whatever is present, simply be with it. Drop down into the eyes and cheekbones. Even with eyes closed, you may notice some movement in the eyes. Continue down to the tip of the nose and upper lip. Here you can feel the body breathing gently and naturally. You may notice the air tickling on its way in, and coming
out just a little bit warmer. Move on into the mouth, looking at the lips, the jaw, and the tongue. You may notice the moisture, how the tongue is resting, any tension or slack in the jaw, or whatever it is that is present.

Drop down into the neck and throat, noticing any tension or any movement of the body with the breath. Remember, there is nothing you should be experiencing; there is no right or wrong. Just tune into the direct physical experience. Let go of the judgements and thoughts, and return to the actual physical body. You can move out the tops of the shoulders and into shoulder blades, perhaps noticing any movement with the breath or the sensation of the clothes on the body.

Dropping down into the upper arms and elbows, again just tune into whatever is present in your experience. Continue down into the forearms and wrists, perhaps noticing any points of contact. Maybe your arms are resting in your lap or on the arms of the chair, and just notice how that feels. And moving into the hands, go over the palms, the fingers, and the back of the hand. Notice any points of contact where the hands may be touching each other or resting in the lap. You may notice that the temperature of the air feels different on the back of the hand than it does on the palm. Come back up into the chest and rest here for a moment, tuning in to the body breathing. You can notice the rising and falling, the expansion and contraction, the natural movement of the body breathing itself.

(Allow a few moments to sit with the breath in the chest) As you drop down into the abdomen and stomach, again you may notice the sensations of the body breathing. Rest your awareness with the body and just stick with whatever sensations arise. Drop down into the hips, the pelvis, and the butt. You can probably feel the point of contact where your body meets the chair or cushion, and taking a moment to feel these sensations.

Move on into the thighs and knees, noticing any points of contact, any tensions, the clothes on the body, and anything else present in your direct experience. Drop your mindfulness into the calves, shins, and ankles, seeing what’s present for you. Perhaps there is some ease, or some jittery or anxious feeling in the legs. Whatever is present, be with it.

Finally, move into the feet, going over the heel, the arch, the ball of the foot, the toes, and the top of the foot. Tune into the points of contact where the feet are touching the ground or tucked up underneath you. Take a moment here at the end to tune into the whole body together, from head to toe. You may be able to feel the breath energy as it moves through the body. You can get a sense of the entire outline or posture of the body as it rests here.

(Ring bell).

 

Full body scan meditation script (Jon Kabat-Zinn style), from https://www.thedailymeditation.com/body-scan-meditation-3

Before you begin the actual method, you’ll want to make sure you’re relaxed and that your mind is focused. You might find it helpful to practice the breathing meditations. Alternately, lie down, close your eyes, and take five minutes to relax, unwind, and prepare your mind.

  1. Once you’ve relaxed, take a moment to check your posture. Good posture is essential both mentally and physically. Make sure you are comfortable and that your spine is in proper alignment. The best way to lie down for body scan meditation is in Shavasana. To do this, lie on the floor face-up (you might like to use a blanket or a cushion under the small of your spine). Move your legs so your feet are at about shoulder width. Rotate your feet a little outwards. Place your hands by your wide, palms upwards. Make sure your neck is relaxed(you can use a small cushion if you like). Check that your body is relaxed, including all the muscles in your face.
  2. With your eyes closed, focus on the sensations throughout your entire body. Simply observe the way your body feels. It has a vibration and an energy. Get in contact with that energy. Feel it. Investigate it. Is it soft or hard? Warm or cool? Is the vibration fast or slow? Focus the mind on those sensations. Some of the sensations you experience may include tightness, coolness, twitches, cramps, buzzing, pulsing, numbness, itching, and nausea. You might also notice emotions and feelings like restlessness, irritability, fatigue, and stress as well as positive emotions like calmness and joy. Be aware of these sensations as you continue the process. The key is accepting what you observe, which is a point Jon Kabat Zinn wrote about in his bestseller Full Catastrophe Living.  Trish Magyari, M.S [meditation researcher and counselor] says that mind body awareness is about “saying hello to your body with awareness…”
  3. Now direct your mind to the crown of your head. Notice the sensations there. Meditate on the way the crown of your head feels. Take a moment to connect the mind to that part of your body before continuing.
  4. Now gradually begin to move your focus down your body, through your face. When you get to your eyes, notice if you are crying. If so, you might like to read about why you cry when you meditate.
  5. Continue to pass your consciousness down your neck, your shoulders, your arms, all the way to your fingers. Then proceed back up your arms to your shoulders, and then down to your feet and toes. Meditate on each part of the body before moving on.
  6. Once you’ve reached your toes, reverse the procedure until you are once again focusing on the crown of your head.
  7. Now take five minutes to meditate on the sensations throughout your entire body.
  8. Once you have finished, take a few moments to relax before returning to normal. This allows for a time of transition between the body scan meditation and your normal state.
  9. Continue to tune in to your body throughout the day in order to stay mindful.
Your 5-Minute Morning Meditation (from https://www.self.com/story/meditation-stress-morning)

Set a timer for five minutes. Continue to move through the sequence below until your hear the alarm buzz, then pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

1. While lying in bed (or sitting in a chair), close your eyes and let your arms rest naturally by your sides, or however feels comfortable to you. Begin breathing slowly in and out through your nostrils, and draw your focus to this sensation. Take five deep breaths. Don't worry about trying to clear your mind—just breathe.

2. Continue this breathing pattern, but shift your focus to the space between your eyebrows, aka your third eye. Take another five breaths.

3. Now place your hands on your chest. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Concentrate on the rising and falling of your chest, and take five controlled breaths.

4. Rest your hands by your side and continue this breathing pattern, but shift your attention back to your third eye. Take five slow breaths.

5. Place your hands on your stomach while continuing to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, and concentrate on the rising and falling of your stomach. Take five deep breaths.

6. Rest your hands by your sides and continue this breathing pattern, but shift your attention back to your third eye. Take another five deep breaths.