Body pressing down

Body pressing down

by Headspace » Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:05 am


Since the start of the meditations in Take 10, a regular component has been to feel the weight of the body pressing down against the chair, or the feet on the floor. I can't feel that. I feel the only way to achieve that is almost to force my body down into the chair by compressing my spine. My feet feel like they always want to lift off the floor.

Is my body reflecting my lack of groundedness during meditation or is this something many people experience?

Andy's Answer:

Yeah, this is an interesting part of the exercise which is essentially designed to help ground the mind. By ‘grounding’ I simply mean stepping out of the internal dialogue and consciously redirecting the attention into the body. It might sound funny, but a surprising amount of time is spent with our body in one place and our mind elsewhere. A good example would be when we’re walking down the road on one side of town in the middle of the week, but our mind is thinking ahead to a party on the other side of town the next day.

When we’re learning this part of the exercise there can be the temptation to try to feel, rather than simply notice. Sometimes this is due to the tendency to ‘do’ rather than ‘be’ and it can therefore be unnerving to simply notice - it’s almost as if we can’t possibly be doing enough. At other times, there can be so much chatter in the mind about how it ‘should’ feel, that we miss out on the experience itself. It’s as if we drown out the experience with all of the internal dialogue. Both of these tend to be accentuated if we have a personality which is very driven or perfectionist in nature.

There are some practical considerations to take in too though. Often when we meditate on a chair, there can be a tendency to use the back rest. At first this makes sense, until we realise that it means our feet are no longer fully planted on the floor. What usually happens is that the chair base is so deep, that when we shuffle back in our seat to make use of the rest, our legs can no longer quite reach the ground. Not only does it make this part of the exercise difficult, but it also means our hamstrings are still activated, making it extremely difficult for the body to fully let go and relax.

So, it sounds like there may be two parts for you to consider. The first is ensuring your posture is correct. The second is starting to notice the subtleties of feeling, free from any expectation. It is not that it needs to feel a particular way, and it is not that in noticing the feeling that anything extraordinary will suddenly happen. But it is enough simply to notice. If it continues to be difficult, you might like to move the feet slightly, perhaps shifting the weight towards the toes and then to the heels and then side to side. By doing this your attention to physical sensation in the feet will naturally be aroused.

Warm wishes, Andy
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