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Moving meditations can help reduce stress and boost self-awareness. Improve your ability to sense your body in space with this 7-minute proprioception meditation.
Link to episode transcript: https://tinyurl.com/ynkdywbn
How to Do This Practice:
Today’s Happiness Break host:
Find a comfortable place where you can move your arms freely. This practice can be completed sitting or standing. If you choose to stand, avoid locking your knees by bending them slightly.
Begin by taking deep breaths, drawing your attention to your body in the present moment.
Balance your posture by grounding evenly through your feet, leveling your pelvis, and straightening your back.
Focus your attention on your arms, starting from your shoulders down to your fingertips. Bring your palms to touch in front of your heart, inhale and lift them upwards to meet above your head. Exhale and bring them towards your heart.
Repeat this cycle 2-3 more times, focusing on noticing how your body moves through space.
Dacher Keltner is the host of the award-winning podcast, The Science of Happiness and is a co-instructor of the GGSC’s popular online course of the same name. He’s also the founding director of the Greater Good Science Center and a professor of psychology at the UC, Berkeley.
Check out Dacher’s most recent book, Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life: https://tinyurl.com/4j4hcvyt
More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:
Finding Delight Through Your 5 Senses (The Science of Happiness Podcast): https://tinyurl.com/3bszfww2
How to Gain Freedom from Your Thoughts: https://tinyurl.com/hp8s5wv6
10 Steps to Savoring the Good Things in Life: https://tinyurl.com/y9636sku
Why Physical Touch Matters for Your Well-Being: https://tinyurl.com/m2ea524m
How to Deal with Sensory Overload as a Sensitive Person: https://tinyurl.com/y7epvsmu
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We’re living through a mental health crisis. Between the stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, burnout — we all could use a break to feel better. That’s where Happiness Break comes in. In each biweekly podcast episode, instructors guide you through research-backed practices and meditations that you can do in real-time. These relaxing and uplifting practices have been shown in a lab to help you cultivate calm, compassion, connection, mindfulness, and more — what the latest science says will directly support your well-being. All in less than ten minutes. A little break in your day.
Dacher Keltner: Welcome to Happiness Break, Where we take a break to try a practice shown to support our wellbeing. From cultivating more self-compassion to being more present in the body. I’m Dacher Kelther.
Today we’ll try a moving meditation … and it’s actually an extension of last week’s episode of The Science of Happiness, where we explored ways to enhance our five senses to get more enjoyment out of the world.
In today’s Happiness Break, we’re going to explore the ability to sense where your body is in space – proprioception
In moving embodied meditations, like yoga or tai chi, we often use this sense as a pathway towards mindfulness … by contemplating the movement of our bodies through space in the present moment, we cultivate a higher body awareness. And that can lead to less anxiety and depression, it helps us manage the daily stresses of life, it even helps us sleep better and seek out more exercise.
So find somewhere you feel comfortable moving your arms. We’re going to go through a series of gentle movements. You can do this practice sitting or standing.
If you’re standing, bring a slight bend to your knees – just so you’re not locking them.
Now together, let’s take a few deep breaths.
As we move through this practice, you might notice some thoughts float into your mind … that’s ok. Just let those thoughts come and fall away, bringing your attention back to your body, and where you feel your body in space in this moment.
Notice where your feet are. Plant them both firmly on the ground, about hip-width apart.
Bear in mind throughout this practice – if any of these movements don’t feel good in your body, you can simply skip them.
Now identify the four corners of your feet – your big toe mound – that’s the mound at the front of your foot before the base of your big toe, — your pinky toe mound, your inner heel, and outer heel.
Notice where you feel the weight of your body, and see if you can distribute it more evenly throughout these four corners of your foot.
Moving up the body, notice the position of your pelvis.
Many of us tilt our pelvis either forward, so we’re arching our back a little, or backward, so we’re almost a little hunched over.
So see if you can adjust your posture, So it’s perfectly level.
Bring your awareness to your shoulders. Shrug them up toward your ears, and then roll them down and back. Bring them to a resting position, draw your spine up straight, so you’re standing tall.
Let’s pause here and take a deep breath in, and out. Notice how your chest rises on the inhale, and falls on the exhale.
Your hands are down by your sides, and bring your awareness into your fingertips.
You might wiggle them a bit. And just notice where they are in space.
Take a deep breath in, and bring your palms together in front of your heart. Stay there as you exhale.
And as you inhale, circle your arms out and wide and up, so your palms meet together above your head. Exhale, keeping your palms together as you bring them down in front of your heart.
Stay here for a breath in, and exhale.
Moving through the cycle again, inhale your hands overhead. And as you exhale your hands down to your heart , notice where your elbows are in space, how they also move.
Your biceps, your forearms.
We’ll move through these movements two more times, noticing how our arms are in space.
Exhale hands down. Inhale hands up. And exhale hands to heart.
One last time, now, on your own.
Let your attention come to your breath. Just noticing its natural rhythm.
And now starting to move out of this meditation, and back into your day…
Take a moment to just notice how you feel: Emotionally, mentally, physically.
As you move through the rest of your day, see if you can come back to this frame of mind, if ever you need to. Bringing your attention to your body, to help you ground back into the present moment.
Thank you for taking this Happiness Break with me. I’m Dacher Kelnter, have a wonderful day.