Rest Deeply Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 4

Loving Acceptance of Our Skin

30 min - Practice


You skin is counting your smiles for you. Arturo leads a class to help us feel gratitude for our skin and more comfortable with our selves. We begin in an extended seated meditation, find space in the legs, hips, and side body, and bring awareness to the back body, nurturing the less accessible areas of our skin. You will feel accepting, open, and loving towards self.
What You'll Need: Mat, Chair, Square Bolster, Blanket

About This Video


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Hi and welcome to this practice. To start off, we're going to start seated and you can either sit in a chair if you like, or you can sit on the ground. If you're sitting on the ground, just make sure that your knees are level or even a little lower than your hips. If the knees are up higher than the hips, it kind of puts a little strain in the low back. So you might need to sit on something. We're going to start off with a guided meditation. So find a comfortable seat and sit yourself up tall, a slight arch in the low back. Relax your shoulders and let your eyes close. Bring your awareness to your breath and take a few slow deep breaths. Then we can start to bring our awareness to our skin. And notice the language sensations and feelings that may come up when you start to bring your awareness to your skin. Often a lot of the language is defining problems with the skin. Too dry, too oily, freckles or pimples, too dark, too light, too thin, too thick. Sometimes that language is coming from ourselves and from the culture. And sometimes that language that we may internalize around our skin comes more from external sources. Too white, somehow too different from perfect. Whatever perfect may mean. Just notice what resonates with you and how you experience the largest organ of your body covers all of you. And with the next few breaths, bring the intention, the vibration of appreciating your skin, enjoying your skin. Feel that wonderful layer of protection, the protection that the skin gives us. Protects our inner body from the outside germs and pathogens. Things may rest in our skin that we can easily wash away. Also feel and sense how we connect through our skin. Our skin allows us to connect to others through touch. Even connect to the sensation of our clothes. Connect to the sensation of our seat. Connect down into the earth through our feet, through the skin. Take a few breaths to sense and appreciate how we communicate through our skin. Consciously all of our smiles and expressions. Express and show themselves through our skin. But even unconsciously when we get excited or embarrassed, our skin will change circulation. It will respond to our inner emotions and express them out into the world.

And bring your awareness to how your skin shows and expresses your history. And sometimes in our culture that can be a source of embarrassment. Start to get smile lines by our eyes. Start to have wrinkles because our skin changes. See if you can breathe your way into appreciating that your skin is counting your smiles for you. It's showing when you sleep well or don't sleep well. And our skin expresses and shows our history in the bigger sense to our family history. My ancestors show up in my skin. All the branches of my family are present in my skin. If I can breathe some gratitude into this layer of history that I'm wearing all the time. This largest organ of my body that connects with others and protects and changes through the course of my life. Breathe in that gratitude and practice letting go of all that other stuff. Maybe I can even start to appreciate my pimples when they show up. Few more breaths here with the eyes closed. And as we eventually come into movement I'll encourage you to keep coming back to that full awareness of this superficial layer. This wonderful skin. And you can slowly open your eyes. And from wherever you're seated bring your hands, your palms to your knees and start to just lightly glide down towards the foot, the feet and glide up the outer leg towards the knee. Just going to do a few circling loops down the inner leg up the outer leg. Breathing is always helpful. Then reverse the direction down the outer leg and up the inner leg. Saying hello. Good day. Thank you to the skin, your legs, your feet. And coming up into the thigh and doing a few circles down the outer thigh, up the inner thigh. Moving forward a little, back a little with the gliding of the hands. And then let's go slide down the right foot, grab a hold of the right leg and bring the right ankle on top of the left knee. If you're seated on the ground, you can straighten your left leg out. Even if you're sitting on the chair and your right hip is feeling a little tight, you can straighten that left leg out. Whichever is most comfortable for you. Inhale yourself up tall, sitting up tall, arching the low back. And for some of us who have very tight hips, this might be our stretch. This is feeling like my stretch right now. Some of you may want to round the spine, drop the chin towards the chest and bring your heart down towards your right calf. And wherever you come, just pause. Check in with your breath. If your breath is catching, then ease off a little bit. And take a moment to check in with your skin. If you're feeling an area of tightness, go ahead and bring your hand over that area and connect with the skin, connect through the skin to that deeper layer of tightness and breathe in to the hip. Well, for me, it's that breathe in to wherever you feel that tightness. Inhale yourself up. Take a hold of the right knee and ankle and uncross the leg. Take a hold of the knee, draw it into your chest and sit up tall. And again, if you're seated on the floor, your left leg will be out straight. And then slowly release that foot to ground. And then sliding down to the left ankle, drawing that left knee in, crossing the left ankle over the right knee, sitting up tall. Again, this might be your stretch. Or you may start to tilt forward with the pelvis a little, let your chin drop towards your chest. Check in with your breath. And check in with your skin. If there's an area of stickiness, of stuckness, bring your hand, connect through the skin into those deeper layers and breathe. Inhaling yourself up. Take a hold of the left leg and uncross and draw that left knee in towards your chest. And then slowly set it down. And if you're seated in a chair, we're going to slowly come on down to the ground. And I am going to move my head pillow up towards the head end of my mat. And I'm going to take my cushion and I'm going to sit on it for a few minutes and come into butterfly. So I'm bringing the cushion in again because my hips are on the tighter side. So I need a little more height for this to be comfortable. Sitting up tall once again, when you find your comfortable butterfly and bring your awareness into the skin, your superficial layers along your ribs and abdomen. One image we have of the skin and go ahead and bring your hands there and lightly touch and enjoy this part of your body. One thing image we have is that the skin is separate from the deeper layers and it's not. It's completely interconnected. So it's even interconnected to this area where I'm developing a lot of chi, my belly. Again, I want to appreciate that. Say thank you to that for that extra installation. Keeping awareness in the skin along my torso, place your left hand out to the side and tip off to the left. You may walk the palm out and take the right hand up towards the sky or overhead. If your shoulder is tender, you can bend the elbow and that will bring less weight into your shoulder. Let your head tip off to the left and breathe in to the right side of the body, the side that's going towards the sky. Feel how the skin is opening, the muscles underneath are lengthening and the breath can open the ribs and fan them open with the inhale and exhale. Next inhale coming back up to center and pausing its center. We're going to slide the right hand out to the side and palm down to the ground, tip over to the right, reaching the hand or the elbow towards the ceiling and maybe overhead and find that delicious stretch, that delicious awareness and opening through the left side. It even feels really nice to rest the palm on the ribs or you can extend the elbow or hand overhead. Let the head tilt a little to the right and breathe.

Next inhale coming up slowly and releasing the hands down pausing. Take a moment and bring your awareness to the back side of the body and often it's hard to connect with our back side because we can't see it, it's hidden from our eyes. So you may try to reach your hands back there, it can be helpful or sometimes even I'll slide my shirt a little side to side like I'm rubbing a towel on my back. To just get some awareness of the back of the shoulders you can bring your hands up to the back of the neck and connect with the skin and then let your chin drop towards your chest. Let your body come slightly forward, you can round forward if that feels good. Your hands can come to rest on your feet or the floor and breathe as much awareness into the back side of the body, the back, the skin of the back and how that interconnects with all your back shoulder and neck muscles. How it covers your hips, covers the back of the skull and a few breaths here. Just inhale slowly coming up and as you're ready you can shift off your cushion if you are on one and take your cushion towards the foot end of your mat, maybe about a third of the way up. Come onto your back, bring your head pillow into a comfortable position and I'm going to slide my chair a little bit up so it gets out of the way of my legs because I'm going to bring my feet up onto the cushion, take my arms straight out from the shoulders. This is a wonderful time to tune into the back side of the body now because now we're getting the feedback of the floor, the feedback of the earth, the support of the earth through the skin into our bones and coming into windshield wiper pose so the feet can be even a little wider than hip width. Inhale, as you exhale slowly take both knees towards one side, towards the same side. Take the full length of your exhale and then as you inhale slowly bring your knees back towards center. Arrive at center at the top of your inhale and as you exhale slowly go towards the other side. So the slower that your breath moves, the slower your body expresses that. If you're breathing really fast your windshield wipers will be moving like the setting for a heavy storm. You want to slow the breath down, slow the movement down so our windshield wiper movement is like a very light mist. Each exhale takes us towards one side, each inhale draws us back towards center. You can even add the head and neck with the nose going the opposite direction of the knees. On the exhale, knees and nose going the opposite direction. On your next inhale come back to the center. You can exhale and slowly extend one leg at a time. Bring your arms to a comfortable position. Maybe out from your sides is comfortable or maybe you want to feel a little length through the skin and the side ribs and come a little higher or come a little lower. You're the one inside that skin. You know what feels best for you and take a few breaths again into that wonderful layer, that protective communicative layer of your skin. That layer that connects us to our history, connects us to our friends and family and even connects us to the floor, to the earth.

You are welcome to stay in final relaxation as long as you like. If you're ready to come out of the practice, you can deepen the breath and slowly bring one knee up at a time, placing it on the cushion and then rolling your way onto one side and pause on your side for a breath or two. From your side, let your head stay heavy, roll a little more forward and press your hands down and slowly come up to find a comfortable seated position. If you are staying in final relaxation, you can rest there as long as you like, taking time to transition eventually up to a comfortable seat. Bring one palm facing your heart and place it gently over the heart and then place the other palm over the back of that hand. Thank you so much.


Sara S
Acceptance, awareness and energy that flows continuously
Eric M
I’d never really considered my skin in that way before. Thanks Arturo Peal for an insightful experience.

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