It isn't necessary to let moss grow on your skin to let go of stress. It's as simple as breathing in and breathing out.
photo: D. Bowman
And a little visualization can help. Stand, sit or recline comfortably. Close your eyes and see yourself somewhere soothing. Somewhere you have been that felt just right. Relax your body: face, shoulders, hands, belly, feet.
Start with the out-breath. Let it go slowly. Notice when it ends.
Pause briefly before breathing in.
Now breath in naturally, not forcing more air than is easy to take in.
Breathing is the perfect place to put our awareness when it seems impossible to stop our mind. It is possible when we bring our attention to the subtle details of the breath.
This little practice, one breath, can change our day. One breath can change the way we see our partner, an exam, a to-do list or the person in the mirror. One breath says I am letting go. Letting go of the last moment, the last thought, sensation or exclamation mark. Letting go of the drama, the worry, the shame and the anger.
It's simple, but not always easy to remember.
When we are in the doldrums or in the heat of the moment breathing is often the last place we put our mind. Isn't it kind of strange that we forget to bring our attention to something we've been doing every single minute of our lives?
So here's the hitch. Remembering to remember is a matter of practice. This is not practicing breathing. That comes naturally. You are remembering to notice your breath. And that seldom comes naturally until you've done it for a while.
In fact, it can feel like your breath is not natural when you start to watch it. Just notice this too. Notice how long you breath in. Notice yourself noticing it! Notice yourself judging it! And then let each one of those thoughts go on the out breath. Let it go.
Repeat as necessary.
One breath is a building block for developing a regular mindfulness practice. It's a place to begin at any moment, at any time and on any day. Particularly a bad day. Imagine a terrible day as the beginning of a great practice!
Remembering to notice your breath will bring clarity, calm and kindness to your thoughts and your relationships. Noticing the cool moss on your skin with each out breath will detox and de-stress your body and mind.
Check out Journey of the Feminine Workshop , Dec 2019 with Deborah Bowman & Sue Wallingford in Costa Rica!