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HomeMeditation & MindfulnessMindfulness Practice: The Four Elements

Mindfulness Practice: The Four Elements

Before you begin this exercise ask yourself why you chose this topic. Find a quiet spot inside or outside for this exercise. Turn off your phone and other devices. Focus for a moment on the items in the list below and repeat it again at the end of the exercise to note any differences that may have occurred.

Please pay attention to:

➤ how your belly, chest, and head each feel when you reflect on this topic

➤ the emotions that you can associate with these visceral feelings

➤ the positive or negative impact of any stories you believe in regarding this topic

➤ the fact that others are feeling similarly about this topic as you

➤ how you might feel with increased awareness around this topic

➤ when you can apply increased mindfulness to this topic in your day-to-day life

This practice provides a different lens through which you can examine the body. Give yourself space to drop-in and deeply investigate these elements in your body. Try to bring an open mind and see what you can learn about yourself.

Remember that mindfulness is about seeing clearly and looking at things from a new perspective can often bring that clarity.

Settle into a relaxed position.

Close your eyes and bring your awareness to the places in the body where you experience contact, such as the feet on the floor, the hands in the lap, or the body sitting in the chair.

Begin with the element of earth or solid form.

Without thinking too hard about what this means, openly examine where and how you can feel solidity.

This might be the structure of your skeleton, the chair you’re sitting on, any places of tension in the body, or the weight of your muscles as they relax.

Don’t rush through these sensations or try to force them.

When you feel the earth element in the body, stay with it for a few deep breaths. Continue this seeking, recognizing, and feeling for a few breaths.

After five minutes, switch to the element of air or wind.

An obvious place to start is in the form of the body breathing. Where can you feel the air of the breath?

You may also look for places in the body where you can feel empty space—

the nostrils, the mouth, and the ears can offer insight into the air element.

When another five minutes have passed, shift your awareness to the water element.

Tune in to any sense of liquidity you can feel.

There may be moisture in the eyes, saliva in the mouth, or sweat on the body—

or you can feel the flexibility of your muscles, the flow of your breath in and out, or even the pulsing of your blood.

Next, bring your attention to heat or fire in the body.

This element is open to interpretation, so look for yourself to see what you notice.

Perhaps it is the temperature of the air touching your skin, or certain spots on the body that are warmer or cooler than others.

Watch for any experience of temperature, either externally or internally.

To wrap up the practice, spend a few moments in awareness of the body as a whole. As you breathe, feel the four elements working together to support and fuel your body.

Acknowledgement to mindfulnessexercises.com for these exercises

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