Hello! I have received some wonderful feedback and queries and I have taken the time to really think about my responses.
I hope the ten breaths have been working well and I hope you are ready for an “add-on”. If not, no worries!
A concern from a stroke/TBI survivor is with regards to loss of focus and forgetting which breath she is on. Here are two suggestions. First, place hands in a sort of prayer position on your lap. As you breathe in and out, gently apply pressure to your thumbs which are touching. In the next breath in and out, apply pressure to your index fingers. Continue this way through to your pinkies and then start again at your thumbs for round two. This eliminates counting and should alleviate some possible stress around memory.
Secondly, when I timed myself for ten breaths, the process took between a minute and a half and two minutes. In the whole scope of a day, a couple of minutes is not a lot of time. If you drop everything for a little bit of concentrated “you” time, you’ll be amazed at how much your focus will improve overall.
Regarding the add-on; this is an adaptation of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s body scan and Robert Peng’s Qigong work. Sitting or lying down, start at your toes. Take a natural breath in and out and imagine a warm, golden light surrounding your toes. Next, move up to your feet, breathe in and out naturally, and feel the heat of the energy wrap around your feet. Continue this process, moving up your body, to various points. The diagrams below indicate areas to focus on; however, if you have a particular areas that causes more distress and pain than others, you can always stay there longer before moving on. The diagrams also show a front view and a back view. The front view shows three spots along the torso. These are called your Lower Dantian, Middle Dantian, and Upper Dantian. The back view shows the same spots along the spine. You don’t necessarily have to focus on all of these spots. You may feel more comfortable simply scanning various points from your toes to your head. Just enjoy!
I believe that doing the scan in silence is optimal, but I realize that it can be quite difficult. There is a plethora of amazing instrumental music on youtube and you can also find guided body scans on youtube ranging from fifteen minutes long to an hour long.
Don’t fight the thoughts that come into your head, simply observe release them. If you forget a spot, no worries – go back to it later, or on another day.
Again, feedback is awesome! Take care.