In Restorative Yoga, we often begin with a Body Sensing practice;
Why is a body sensing practice helpful? Why is it desirable to focus on the body? Remember, your body and the subconscious mind are in communication. So, when we become acutely aware of the body and sensations related to it, we open a gateway into the subconscious mind.
The cerebellum plays a role in proprioception (awareness of how our bodies are positioned in space). So, as you rest your awareness on different parts of your body in space and the space around your body, you are using your cerebellum to perform this function.
Since the cerebellum is the seat of the subconscious mind, as focus on where your body is orientated in space, you access your sub-conscious mind and bypass your thinking mind. This practice moves you from the analytical mind into the feeling and sensing mind.
Through the practice of body sensing you awaken your kinaesthetic awareness. Keep in mind that kinaesthetic awareness is not a feeling or a thought, but rather a messenger of internal sensory information.
Try this location orientated practice:
Begin by lying into a comfortable position. Now notice the location or orientation of your body in space. For example, think about the location of your head, starting at the top and gradually moving down.
Now allow your awareness to progress from body part to body part, become aware of the space that each part occupies.
Feel the density, the weight and the volume of space that your body occupies.
Visualize a line drawn from the crown of the head, around the head and neck, around the shoulders, arms and hands, then along the torso, around the hips, down the legs and around the feet and toes.
See yourself lying in this line around yourself, the height, length, width, all the dimensions; now sense the space around you, not just in the room you are in, but more broadly.
Your attention now is no longer on your body. Now you are not your body, but something grander. This is how you become less body, more mind, less particle, more energy.
When you reach this point, this is when the brain begins to change its disorderly wave patterns to more balanced and orderly ones. … Not narrowly, obsessive, but rather creative and open.
The brain now moves from the beta brain waves to the alpha brain waves. All of this happens as you move from a narrow-minded range of attention to an expanded focus on the body and the space around it.
Buddhists refer to this as an open focus, occurring when the brain waves naturally become orderly and synchronized.
Observe the ease of your body, mind and breath at the end of the practice.