Roberto P. Benzo, M.D.: The stillness practice can be done standing or sitting down. The standing practice is particularly appropriate to improve posture and balance.
So stand with your feet wider than your shoulders and elevate your arms as if you're holding a tree. Always be aware of your breath: So breathing in knowing that you're breathing in; breathing out and knowing that you're breathing out.
And after a few breaths, transition your attention to your body.
- Feel your feet, your toes as you breathe in. Feel your feet, your toes as you breathe out.
- Feel your legs as you breathe in. Feel your legs as you breathe out.
- Feel your hips as you breathe in. Feel your hips as you breathe out.
- Feel your spine as you breathe in. Feel your spine as you breathe out.
If your attention wanders, don't worry; it's normal. Just notice where your attention goes and just bring your attention back to the area of the body that you're breathing into.
- Feel your abdomen as you breathe in. Feel your abdomen as you breathe out.
- Feel your chest as you breathe in. Feel your chest as you breathe out.
- Feel your face as you br eathe in. Feel your face as you breathe out.
- Feel your arms as you breathe in. Feel your arms as you breathe out.
You may change the position of your arms as you're doing this practice, lower or higher, or just on your abdomen. See what fits for you or do it all. Always be aware of your breath, be aware of your body.
The other stillness practice is a sitting practice. In the sitting practice as well as in the standing practice it's very important the position of the body. Try to have the spine straight, but not stiff, and the head upright to be half an inch taller, as if a thread is grabbing our head from the ceiling. The shoulders down, the chest open and the arms comfortable on your lap or in the position you feel most appropriate to you.
When you sit, start by acknowledging your eyes and your face and trying to have a soft eyes, soft eyes and soft face. Smile and start acknowledging everything that is happening right now: feelings, thoughts, sensations on the body and most important, your breath.
Try to make a deliberate effort to see what's going on, to notice what's going on in you right now, no matter what it is. You can close your eyes if you want to.
And when you're ready, switch your attention to your breath. Feel your breath coming in and coming out. Perhaps noticing in which area of the body the breath is more vivid to you, the nostrils or the abdomen. Just that. Just sitting, just breathing, single tasking, one thing. Just trying to hear your breath.
And if your mind wanders, just notice what is in your mind and with all your kindness bring your attention back to the breath: just breathing, breathing in, breathing out. Noticing long breath, noticing short breath, just noticing, just feeling. And when you're ready, after a minute or so, expand your attention to the whole body: your senses, having a complete awareness sensation on experience. Remember, the most important thing here is your awareness of the moment, of the presence. The breath perhaps being as the anchor to this. Just breathe and expand now this awareness to your body.
This sitting practice can take just a few minutes or as long as you want to.
I hope all these practices help you in your journey. I wish you well.