We are always told to come back to the breath. It’s the go-to of meditation. It is the yogic prana, a.k.a. our life force.
So, sure, we can slow down the breath. We can count to 4,5, or even 8 on our inhale, and count to the same number on our exhale. We can feel the movement in our lungs, in our ribs, even in our bellies.
But what about when a thought comes in anyway? What about that wrinkle between your eyebrows when you realised you forgot to go to the bank? What about that tightening in your jaw as you try to determine if you’ll do your laundry before or after you buy those pasta ingredients?
Take a moment as you breathe. You can even do it now. Close your eyes and breathe. Breathe as you would naturally. Without making it deeper or stronger, notice the pace of your natural breath.
Now notice the muscles of your face. Around your eyebrows. Your forehead. Your jaw. What thoughts are they holding on to? Let both of them go.
Now notice the muscles in your back. Around your shoulders. Your mid-back. Your lower back. What thoughts are they holding on to? Let both of them go.
Notice your belly. Relax your belly with every breath.
Notice your hands and your feet. Your fingertips and your toes. Relax them and let go of any thoughts of the future or past that they are holding on to.
With these anchors, see how deeply you can connect with the present moment.
And if any thoughts of things to do in the future or contemplations of the past ask for your attention, then try to find your heartbeat. Where do you feel it? Notice the presence of your heartbeat.
Now, breathe. Experience your whole body. Experience all the effortlessly moving parts that make up YOU. Breathe and use your internal cues to embrace the present moment.