Fun fact: You might notice your breathing naturally and easily slowing down, deepening as you take your 3 Minute Space momentary "pause"....this helps to down-regulate your central nervous system - as your outbreath lengthens and slows, so does your heartbeat.
How to take a 3 Minute Breathing Space (Each step lasts about a minute)
Step 1 - Becoming Aware
Start by finding a an alert, yet comfortable position for your
body and close your eyes. (or if this is the first time you are
doing the exercise, you can read the instructions to yourself and
over time, adapt the excercise as you want to.)
Become aware of your body, notice the sensations of your
feet, your hands, the surface upon which you are sitting
or standing. Gently bring your attention to your inner
experience and acknowledge it, asking yourself "what am I
experiencing right now?" Become a gentle observer, just noticing.
- What thoughts are going through the mind right now? Are your thoughts fast or slow...past or present? Acknowledge your thoughts without trying to be drawn into them or push them away....an open, gentle awareness...noticing.
- What feelings are here? Notice any feelings of discomfort or unpleasantness, acknowledging them without trying to make them different from how they are...holding them in gentle, open awareness.
- What body sensations are here right now? Perhaps scan your body, noticing any places of tightness or bracing, acknowledging the sensations without trying to change them in any way. Allowing any sensations to float gently in your awareness.
Step 2 - Gathering and Focusing Attention
Now direct your attention to the physical sensations of your breath. Notice the physical sensations of the breath in the abdomen....expanding as the breath comes in....and falling back as the breath goes out. Following the breath all the way in, and all the way out. You may find it helpful to say to yourself "I am breathing in. I am breathing out. And if the mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to the breath, using the breath
to anchor in the present moment.
Step 3 - Expanding Attention
Begin to expand your field of awareness around the breathing so it includes a sense of the body as a whole, your posture and your facial expression, the space around your body as if the whole body is breathing. If you become aware of any sensations of discomfort, tension, gently bring your awareness to the intensity of these sensations by imagining your breath could move into and around the sensations, befriending them, rather than trying to change them in any way. Allow your breath and awareness to hold these sensations gently...floating in your awareness. And then expand your breathe and awareness again to include the whole body.
And as you are ready, gently begin to move your fingers...toes...body...and gently open your eyes.