Massage and Meditation
If you are a meditator, a massage is a great opportunity to practice. If not a meditator yet, focus on your in breath and out breath and feel the breath lovingly travel through your body intelligently nourishing each and every cell. Riding along with your breath is your lifeforce, prana or chi. Like oxygen, this lifeforce is what sustains your being. Every time you inhale you are saying yes to being here and living and every time you exhale you are surrendering to the present moment in all its perfection. We are totally over stimulated during our days and in our sleep we are processing the day’s events or other shadow elements. When do we have a chance to completely let our bodymindsoul rest?
“shakti loves stillness”. When the mindbody is still, divine energy (shakti) can make her way around our being attending to and nourishing areas that need healing. Some Yogis believe that when we are in deep sleep (where we are out of dream state) and our consciousness rests deeply in our heart, great healing can occur. Sometimes we do not reach this deep state of sleep. Dropping into stillness whilst receiving a massage we have a great opportunity to fully receive the benefit of what healing is available for us.
If we remain in our stories – thinking – our body is reacting to the stories as though they are actually happening in the present moment, perhaps further reinforcing the groove of contraction even though we believe it is only in our mind. And so this constant engagement with our mind chatter on the massage table creates a diversion of sorts which may limit our full healing potential. Sometimes when we are in that still space, old repressed feelings can emerge for attention and releasing. This is of great benefit……a clearing of energy that has been deposited in our field/body due to an inability to process them at the time they were experienced.
A little meditation suggestion:
Firstly find a quiet spot in nature or indoors. Sit upright either on a chair with feet on the floor or on the ground with cushion under seat legs crossed or sitting on haunches well supported with bolsters. “Keep the spine erect and the chest lifted up. This slows down the flow of breath, lessens the activity of the brain and leads to the cessation of all thoughts. Keep the body alert, with razor-sharp awareness. Keep the brain passive, sensitive and silent, like the thin end of a leaf, which shakes even in a gentle breeze.” BKS Iyengar (Light on Pranayama). What is important is the spine is upright, the chakras are resting upon each other, muladhara (root) chakra on the earth and sahasrara (crown) chakra to the heavens. “The highway of the spine, where alone the ego can be offered up into oneness with the Eternal Self.” Swami Kriyananda (Paramhansa Yogananda – A Biography).
Feel yourself seated, bring your awareness to the sounds around you without getting caught in story just be present and listen, then bring your awareness to your body, its outline, the small sensations in your body, feel your breath, its quality as you inhale and exhale. It is a gradual process of bringing your awareness from the external realm into the internal realm.
Gently keeping your eyes closed. Now using your imagination, drop your awareness to your heart space.
You may even be able to feel your heart beat. Notice the sensations, the feelings, welcoming them all, in this space. No dialogue or narrative, if there is allow them to drift by, do not engage. Just pure awareness.
If your mind does wander, it is of no concern, gently bring your awareness back to the sensations/feelings in your heart. ( If anything does come up that is unpleasant, be with it , it will pass.)
You may like to use your breathing to assist you in guiding you into a deeper sense of relaxation…each time you inhale imagine your heart is a flower and the petals are unfolding/opening, when you exhale soften more deeply into the heart.
Just sit, just for a moment in your heart.
When you intuitively feel ready (or if you have timed the asana) to finish your meditation, gently wiggle your toes and fingers, take an inhale deeply into your body. Take a moment to thank your self. And gently stand.
(A version of this meditation can be used in queues, traffic jams or anywhere else where waiting is what is for you at that moment) Perhaps only keeping your eyes open and standing if need be. Becoming acutely aware of the quality of your breath and the sensations in your body – how your thought process is creating how you feel about your experience.
“We can notice the distinction between consciousness and all the transient states and experiences that arise and pass away within it. When we do not understand this point, we take each of the passing states to be real. But when changing conditions such as happiness and unhappiness are seen for what they are, we find the way to peace. If you can rest in the knowing, the pure consciousness, there’s not much more to do.” (Ajahn Mun)
“Within this fathom-long body and mind is found all of the teachings.” (Buddha)