As promised in yesterday’s post on hayfever, this is the meditation routine I am working with right now to relax my body before dance practise, as well as to lessen my seasonal spring sniffles.
Note: I prefer to do this routine right before starting my movement/dance practise. You could however also try it at a different times of day, eg while lying in bed before going to sleep, or right after waking up.
The routine is based on a mix of the meditation outlines in the book ‘Dreaming yourself Awake’
- Duration: 24 minutes (I set a timer)
- Position: lying down (on my back)
- Timing: before movement practise
What to do (after the timer starts):
- Begin with a simple, relaxed, deep belly breath, then exhale passively and ‘tune in’ for a bit to take stock of areas of tension/relaxation in your body.
- If you’re feeling a bit tense, shake out your limbs for a moment, stretch out your arms/legs, spread your fingers and toes, inhale, hold the inhalation for a moment while extending yoursel fully, then let go.
- Exhale passively but fully, and imagine your body softening into the mat/floor.
- Optionally: add 3 rounds of Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 technique (relaxation breathing).
- Focus on loosely noticing your breathing, without directing it
- Focus on how your lower abdomen moves and your body relaxes a bit deeper with each exhalation
- Try to notice when any thoughts come by, if so gently redirect your attention back to the lower abdomen and any movement sensations related to your breathing
Optionally, include the following focus exercises/tweaks:
- Count your inhalations briefly (say it’s ‘number’ in your mind at the top of an inhalation, then soften focus again while exhaling)
- If your start to feel agitated or distracted by thoughts, simply relax deeper by refocusing on the movements in your lower belly during (passively) breathing
- If you start to doze off (it happens!), refine and re-awaken your concentration by focusing on the sensations in your nostrils while breathing
Repeat as needed, and enjoy the moment of relaxation and focusing practise until the timer calls you back 🙂
I know it might seem like a lot of instructions, and that 24 minutes can read like a lot of time, but you can simply start with a much shorter version and focus on only the first few instructions at first, then work your way towards the longer/more detailed meditation sessions.
I’ve done this routine 4 days in a row in the beginning of this month, and I noticed my dreams becoming more vivid, and my body more relaxed during the day.
I then took a break for a few weeks (life happened!), and restarted meditation sessions again 2 days ago, this time to see if I can ward off any upcoming hayfever symptoms.
PS: If you are looking for more direction, focus, inspiration in your practice (and life!): My online BOOST Program for dancers might be for you!
I will be sending my personal motivational and practical tips directly to your mailbox every week
Update: At the moment (ie about 5 weeks after this was posted) we are smack dab in the middle of birch pollen season. Even though I was feeling a bit sneezy and sniffly yesterday morning, two good meditation sessions later I am feeling much better, even though today’s pollen count is off the charts. I am considering this experiment succesful 🙂
And let me know what it does for you, too.