To get stuff done, to meet our responsibilities, to have a fulfilling life, we need energy. And yet, when we keep going and never stop, we deplete this important resource within us. Borrowing from the late author Rumer Godden, I want to share a beautiful metaphor: Everyone is a house with four rooms—physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room more than the other rooms. And yet we need to visit every room, and that’s what we’re going to do.
This meditation is the first of a series of four where we’re going to visit four domains of energy: physical, emotional, mental, and intentional. We’re going to explore meditations, contemplations, and skillful actions that we can take every day to replenish our energy in these four domains. The energy in these four rooms is interconnected, so if you are out of balance in one room, you’re going to feel it in the other rooms and you will know it in your body. So let’s start today by visiting the physical room, our body.
A Guided Meditation for Physical Energy
A 12 Minute Meditation to Energize the Body with Shalini Bahl
- I invite you to come to a sitting or standing posture that allows you to be relaxed and alert. Lowering or closing your eyes and just becoming aware of the fact that you’re breathing. No need to change your breath in any way. Just giving your full care and attention to every in-breath and every out-breath and the spaces in between.
- Before we begin to practice, just checking in with the quality of your energy in the body. Are you feeling energized, or tired, or maybe restless? Just noting without any kind of judgment. As we’ll explore today, one of the reasons that our physical energy gets depleted is due to holding stress and tension, so let’s try an experiment together.
- Really squeeze your hands and close them into tight fists. Maybe tense your body, tighten all your muscles in your arms and legs, scrunching your eyes and your jawline. Noticing what is the quality of your breath and your energy when you’re so tight and rigid.
- Now relaxing, letting go, opening your fists, softening your forehead. Releasing and letting go as much as you can. Noticing the quality of your breath and your energy when you let go. Today, we’re going to systematically go through every part of the body, seeing if we can soften just a little bit more and release any tension we’re holding.
- Starting with the top of the head, give your attention to what’s happening inside your head and using your in-breath to create spaciousness. You can think of your mind like a vast sky where the clouds are passing by. And with each exhale, softening as much as you can inside your head.
- Now, turning your attention to your face. Noticing any tingling sensations, the touch of the air. What can you soften? Maybe your forehead, your eyes, and your jawline. And if there’s any part of the body you want to linger on a little longer, feel free to do that. This is your practice.
- Moving your attention down the back of your neck. Softening the muscles inside your throat and the muscles of the shoulders. This is an area where we carry a lot of tension, stress, and the weight of responsibilities. Seeing if you can soften with each exhale, maybe dropping your shoulders back and down just a little bit more.
- Moving your attention down the arms and hands, softening, letting go of any tension and tightness. If you want to, you can wiggle your hands and fingers, rotating your wrists in one direction and then the other. Then rest your hands again, wherever feels natural, comfortable, and notice the aliveness in your palms and your fingertips. See if you’re holding your fingers a little tightly and if you can soften.
- Then moving your attention up the arms and to the front of your body. With each inhale, feeling the spaciousness inside your chest and inside your abdomen. And with each exhale, softening, releasing anything that you don’t need to hold on to. Just letting it go. This is your time to meet your body with kindness, giving your full care and attention to what’s happening inside your body.
- Then moving your attention to the back. Feeling the full length of your back, the full width of your back. Allowing the breath to fill up the entire space in your back, and with the exhale, leaning into your back. So much of our attention is flashing forward, so really allow yourself to lean into your back. Now, seeing if you need to move a little bit. Wriggle your shoulders just a little bit to see if you can release. Let go of any tension you’re holding in your back.
- Then moving your attention down to the pelvic region. Feeling the support of the chair if you’re sitting. Notice patterns of pressure there and softening if there’s any rigidity.
- Softening the muscles in your thighs and legs, all the way down to your feet, wiggling your toes, saying hello to your toes. What’s happening there? Feeling the aliveness in the bottom of your feet, the top of your feet, your toes. Maybe you can sense the blood circulating and pulsing in your feet. Connect with that aliveness. If there is no sensation there, that’s totally fine. Just being with your experience and your body just the way it is.
- Expanding your awareness to the whole of your body, sitting or standing here. And before we end this practice, check in with the quality of your energy. What is your body asking? Listening into your body. Maybe it needs more movement, maybe some stretching if you’ve been sitting too long or even jumping jacks. Does it need more hydration?