Today's episode takes a break from the mental/emotional and goes on a physical body exploration. Using somatic awareness you can bring yourself into the present, alleviating anxiety, insomnia or simply promoting a sense of deep relaxation. guidedharmonies.com
Welcome to Guided Harmonies, the podcast where I put words to my therapeutic music. My name is Margaret Dahlberg, and today’s episode, Body & Soul is where we will use somatic practice to create more body connection and awareness. We will use a practice called pandiculation to explore the state of our bodies while the music holds us in a place of calm vibration. This will result in a deeper sense of wellbeing. I recommend you are lying on your back for this episode. This is a great practice to use when you are feeling anxious or experiencing insomnia, or simply looking for some deep relaxation.
Let’s get started.
Find a quiet place and lie down on your back with your legs straight and close your eyes. From there, let the guided harmonies to their thing.
While the music surrounds you, check in with your breathing. How fast are you inhales and exhales? How far does the air move? Does any part of your torso move while you breathe? Do your breaths feel deep or shallow? Just notice. There is no need to change anything, you are simply bringing an awareness to your current state of being.
Check in with your feet. Can you find each of your toes from big to little? Can you trace a line along your arches? Notice the top of your foot that connects your ankle to your toes. Now imagine drawing a line around your ankles and down to your heels
Starting with your toes, curl them toward the balls of your feet. Then invite the arches to join in, pulling the toes further in as the entire bottom of your foot contracts. Continue to breathe while you Do this gently. You do not need to work hard, you are simply bringing the brain’s attention to this part of your body. Notice the stretch on the top of your foot while you Continue to breathe. Now let that go.
Now once again start with just your toes as you imagine stretching them toward your nose, do not work too hard as you let the muscles on the tops of your feet join in as you entire foot pulls up toward your knees. Be sure to breathe. And relax again.
Imagine you are drawing a line from your ankle, up your shins & down your calves. Once again, with minimal effort, Invite the balls of your calves to contract, pulling your heels toward the backs of your knees. Breathe and concentrate on keeping the rest of you calm and relaxed. Now let that go. See if you get use your shin muscles to pull your feet up toward your kneecaps. Do not work too hard. Breath. And release.
Now notice the tops of your legs. Can you imagine drawing a line from the back of each of your buttocks, down to your knees. Using your hamstrings, Ever so slightly pull your knees into a small bend. And breathe. And let it go. Now draw another line from your hip creases down to your kneecaps. Very gently use your powerful quads to pull your knees straight. Check in to see if anything else in your body is trying to help. If so, just breathe into that area, inviting its release. Now let it go.
Now notice your pelvis and buttocks. When you contract your buttocks, your legs will roll away from one another. Do this gently and with awareness, continuing to breathe as you go. And now let that go. Be sure everything is fully relaxed. Now imagine there is a heavy weight pressing your pelvis against that it is resting on. This will cause your legs to roll toward one another. Once again be sure you are only using the muscles in your pelvis & legs. Breathe. And relax everything.
You are half-way through your body check in. Take a moment and see how you feel. What do you notice from your hips down, now that you have focused on those parts of your body?
See if you can sense your tailbone down at the centre of your pelvis. When you press your tailbone against whatever you are lying on, do you notice how your lower back arches and you feel a stretch in your abdomen? Do not work too hard, this can be quite subtle and the brain will still get the message. And release.
Imagine a hand is pressing the area between your pelvis and your belly button toward the earth. This will cause your lower back to curl as your lower abdominal muscles do the work. And breathe. And let that go.
Now find your sternum where your ribcage comes together in the centre of your torso. Picture a string attached and pulling your sternum up down the sky. Do this slowly and gently. You will feel the muscles in the middle of your back & spine working. Check in with your breathing, and then relax again.
Imagine there is a heavy weight pressing your sternum in toward your spine. Your spine will curve outwards while the muscles of your chest work to push your sternum down. Don’t work too hard, you just want to do enough for the brain to connect with that part of your body. And let it go.
Find your shoulder blades and see if you can gently squeeze them together, down toward your lower back. This will create a stretch in your upper chest and collar bone. Now release those muscles.
Think about the tip of your gradually chin curling down toward your chest, rounding the back of your neck. And breathe. And now relax.
Feel the tops of your shoulders and very slowly slide them up toward your ears. Make if subtle and Tune in to make sure there is no other part of your body trying to help. And release.
Notice your arms resting easily. As you inhale, gently straighten your elbows. Now let them go.
Your hands are as sensitive as your feet, if not a little more. Start at the tips of your fingers as you easily curl them into a fist, bending your wrists. Take a breath and then relax.
Now feel the tips of your fingers being pulled away from the palms of your hands as you feel a stretch away from your body. Do not work too hard. And let it go.
Notice your face and skull, heavy against what you are lying on. Gently press your molars together. And release.
Without parting your lips, invite your jaw to open. Be gentle and easy with this motion. And relax.
Check in with your eyes. Be subtle as you squeeze them shut just a little bit more than they are already. And relax. Now with your eyes closed, very gently look to the left. And to the right. And now let that go.
Frown your eyebrows toward your nose. And relax. Now stretch your eyebrows toward your skull.
Notice where the weight is in the back of your skull. Very subtly press your skull into what you are resting on, you will feel a slight contraction at the top of your neck & the base of your skull. And release.
Well done. You have taken your brain on a tour of your entire body. To do this gently takes great focus, kindness and love.
Take some time to bring yourself back to the present. You may want to do a full body stretch before you begin to move. Be sure to drink some water once you are moving again.
Thank you for joining me today.