Mindfulness of the Body

Taking care of our body is important. We need our body to be as healthy as it can be. Mindful Movements and Deep Relaxation as part of mindfulness of the body can support our health and happiness and keep us in touch with our body.

Mindful Movements

The Ten Mindful Movement exercises are easy to do by yourself or with others, at home or in the park.

Practising the Ten Mindful Movements is an opportunity for us to unite our mind and body. We enjoy opening our body, stretching up to the sky and releasing down to touch the ground. We do every exercise with the awareness of our breathing and of our action. And we find a sense of balance and flexibility in our own body and mind. We practise in a relaxed way, not straining to gain anything.

Watch a video of Thich Nhat Hanh and Plum Village monastics demonstrating the Ten Mindful Movements

Mindfulness of the body - movements

Deep Relaxation

Mindfulness of the body brings our awareness to our body at rest as well as in movement.  Deep or Total Relaxation is a practice of resting.

Knowing when to rest is important to our wellbeing.  Sometimes, we can try too hard in our mindfulness practice or we work too much without mindfulness.  In this way we become tired very easily. The practice of mindfulness should not be tiring but rather, it should be energising. But when we recognise that we are tired, we should find every means possible to rest. To take care of yourself is to take care of your family and your community. Resting may mean to stop what you are doing and take a five-minute walk outside, or to go on a fast for a day or two.  It may mean to practise Noble Silence for a period. There are many ways for us to rest, so please pay attention to the rhythm of your body and mind for the benefit of all.

Practising Deep Relaxation creates a wonderful energy of peace and harmony. It is a practice of totally letting go and returning back to take care of our body and mind. We use the breath as our anchor to help us. Our breath is also like a wave, gently rocking us into a deep peace. In this state of rest, our body and mind can release their burdens. A lot of healing happens just by letting go and sinking into this state of total relaxation.

Mindfulness of the body - relaxation

Try this guided Deep Relaxation exercise, by Sister Chau Nghiem of Plum Village.

You need first to lie down on your back with your arms by your sides.  Make yourself comfortable.  Allow your body to relax…

Listening to our Bodies

Practising Mindful Movements and Deep Relaxation allows us to listen deeply to our bodies. We learn to be gentle with ourselves and to give ourselves space to understand and to grow. Practising in this way, our body becomes our friend and not a burden. Compassion towards ourselves will penetrate into our interactions with others. How we walk, move, sit, stand, and hold our body are reflections of our states of mind. When we move with ease others around us will also feel light and relaxed in our presence.