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Season 1 - Episode 4

Body Image Practice

20 min - Practice


Linda guides us through an internal exploration of the body through pranayama, mantra, and meditation. We land with two breathing practices and then prepare to meet ourselves.
Use the attached Hamsau Mantra PDF and follow along.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


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(ocean waves) And now that I've been talking about body image, and sort of coming home to the body, exploring the body, and my relationship to the body from the inside out. I'd thought you'd do a practice with me that helps facilitate that. I'm sitting on a block with my feet behind me just so that I can feel very stable, and my spine can feel like it's lifting. And, that I have this same sort of opening and lift in the front body as I have in the back body. And, so that my pelvis can move slightly forward.

If this is not your favorite pose, you feel more comfortable either in a cross-legged pose, or even with your legs straight out. Or, sitting in a chair, whatever will allow you to feel awake. That should work. So just take a moment to find your seat. The very first part of this practice, is a practice that I learned from Dharma Mittra in New York.

It's a practice for me that I do very first thing in the morning. Actually, before I even get up. Because, it sets the tone for my... for my day, It keeps me, sort of in relationship with my body, and less likely to judge as I move out through my day. So, very first thing is basically...

It's just two, simple, mantras. Hum-saa, so-hum. Hum-saa, so-hum. So, we consider this the four part mantra, a silent mantra. So, the words are-- the syllables are hum-saa, so-hum.

And, again you won't be using your mouth. It's simply what you'll say to yourself on the inhale, it's hum, on the exhale, it's saa. Inhale, so. Exhale, hum. And then, on the second line, if you will.

Inhale, so. Exhale, hum. Inhale, hum. Exhale, saa. Inhale, so.

Exhale, hum. Inhale, hum. Exhale, saa. Inhale, hum. Exhale, saa.

Inhale, so. Exhale, hum. Now, it feels a little bit like it's gonna be hard to remember. So, what helps me remember this mantra is that the saa, so-hum-saa, the saa is always on the exhale. And that really helps me, So, we do hum-saa-so-hum.

At the first, and the fourth. And, in between, the two in between. So-hum, hum-saa. So, first to the fourth is hum-saa, so-hum. Second, and third, so-hum, hum-saa.

So, let's do it together I will actually say the syllables as you feel them, and express them silently. So, again, just take a nice deep breath in. (inhales) And just sigh it all the way out. (exhales) And, one more time, inhale. (inhales) Exhale all the way out. (exhales) With your eyes closed, just inhale hum (inhales) exhale saa. (exhales)

Inhale so. (inhales) Exhale hum. (exhales) Inhale so. (inhales) Exhale hum. (exhales) Inhale hum. (inhales) Exhale so. (exhales) Inhale so. (inhales) Exhale hum. (exhales) Inhale hum. (inhales) Exhale so-- saa. (exhales) Inhale hum. Exhale saa. (exhales) Inhale so. (inhales) Exhale hum. (exhales) Just keeping that going several breaths, and I'll do it one more time. As you move into silence. Inhale hum. (inhales) Exhale saa. (exhales) Inhale so. (inhales) Exhale hum. (exhales) Inhale so. (inhales) Exhale hum. (exhales) Inhale hum. (inhales) Exhale saa. (exhales) Inhale so. (inhales) Exhale hum. (exhales) Inhale hum. (inhales) Exhale saa. (exhales) Inhale hum. (inhales) Exhale saa. (exhales) Inhale so. (inhales) Exhale hum. (exhales) So, continue on your own for one or two cycles. And then I'll join you for one last round.

And, as you finish, we'll do one last round together. Inhale hum. (inhales) Exhale saa. (exhales) Inhale so. (inhales) Exhale hum. (exhales) Inhale so. (inhales) Exhale hum. (exhales) Inhale hum. (inhales) Exhale saa. (exhales) Inhale so. (inhales) Exhale hum. (exhales) Inhale hum. (inhales) Exhale saa. (exhales) Inhale hum. (inhales) Exhale saa. (exhales) Inhale so. (inhales) Exhale hum. (exhales) Continuing to just breath now normally. Inhaling and exhaling. Finding the natural rhythm of your breath. And, feeling the effects of the last practice, in your whole body at once.

And, returning to the breath now. Begin to inhale, and exhale, in a sama vritti way as we say. That even fluctuation of filling up the body, three, four, five counts. Whatever fills you up without agitating. And exhale the same number of counts, and pause.

So, you're inhaling to fill up the body. (inhales) And, exhale all the way out, and simply pause. To make sure that you're not feeling really-- gripping as far as trying to figure out the inhale, and exhale. Just allow your attention to touch on the exhale. So we inhale, (inhales) and just touching gently on the exhale, and the pause.

And we will now begin to explore the body a little bit through a guided visualization. So, if you're uncomfortable. And, would like to reestablish your comfort. You can rearrange. If you lie down, make sure that you put something under...

Maybe under your... Shoulder-blades, or anything that will kind of elevate your chest and keep you awake. Staying internal now, keeping with the breath. The gentle flow of the breath, the softness of the exhale, and the pause. And, on the wave of your next exhale, just move the mind into the belly.

Just softening the belly, and noticing what the belly has to say. What is your relationship with your belly? What does your belly have to say? And, how is it that your mind... Can enter into a partnership of friendship with your belly?

Feeling very gently, the breath expanding the belly. And, emptying the belly. That relationship to the breath, and the movement of your belly. And, as you exhale and empty out the belly. Can you release the grip of the muscles in the pelvic floor around the groins, and right around the perineum, and the anus.

All those muscles that you hold onto when you have to pee. This is inhaling the belly slightly, and emptying out the effort. And, from here. The invitation is to move your awareness until part of your body that maybe... You haven't been paying attention to in a while.

You know those parts of the body where we would just rather not think about it. Could be your hips. Could be your breasts. Your shoulders, your neck, your double chin. Wherever it is that you tend to shy away from.

Be there now. Notice, the discomfort. Notice the feelings that come up as you settle there for a few breaths. Are there parts of the body that tend to feel a little bit more gripping? Are there parts of your muscles, maybe in your thighs, or in your neck, that might be feeling a little bit of a sensation of...

Either gripping, or, maybe even revulsion? Where are you? What does it feel like to be where you are? And now, the invitation is on the wave of the breath, can you soften? Can you move into that place, and just unpack it?

Just release, and relax. And in that unpacking, in that sense of release. Can you give that part of your body permission to speak? Sometimes, in our effort to shy away from, or push away things that are uncomfortable. We push away, and silence the voices that live there.

And, so this is an opportunity for deep-listening in, without judgement, without an agenda. It's merely being, and listening to what that hip, that breast, that neck, those eyes have to tell you. At any time, this feels agitating, or too much. Move away, and come back to the sama vritti breath that's really designed to quell any sort of agitation, or any kind of... Sense of being frantic.

So just coming back to four counts in, four counts out. And, if this has been a meditation, a practice. That appeals to you, I would invite you to do this. And, sort of explore a variety of places in your body, that maybe you haven't been to in a while. And, just see what comes up, see what...

See what they have to say. See what gifts they have to give. And at the end, just perhaps, feel a little bit of a connection in a place you haven't explored in a while. And, it's that sense of brick by brick, hip by jowels, by shoulder, by wrinkle. We start to come together, we start to move into wholeness in a way that feels beautiful, and feels...

Like we're perfect just with what we've got. Just who we are. So, thank you for sharing this, and braving the internal, exploration of your body. And, I look forward to knowing how this was, and, what you've experienced.


Thank you for this pranayama and pratyahara . Today was a really stressful day and your video helped me find some inner peace and calm.

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