When we think of meditation techniques, generally an image arises of someone seated cross-legged, eyes closed, and maybe there’s chanting or a mala being used. But there are so many more ways to meditate, including listening to guided meditations, eating, and walking. Keeping our focus on fascia, let’s put a twist on a traditional meditation technique by blending in a type of self massage.
Earlier this month I described a myofascial release technique that’s essentially the pinching of the skin and walking, for lack of a better word, the skin to a different area. If you need a refresher on how to do this, click here to check out that post. And if you didn’t see our first post about what the heck fascia even is, click here and get ready to have your mind blown.
To begin our meditation, sit comfortably and decide what part of your body you’re going to work on. For this example, I’ll talk you through working on your arm.
With your eyes closed and fingers on your forearm, begin the skin rolling myofascial release technique. The key to making this self massage a meditation is to really stay present with what you’re doing. This isn’t the time to sit on the couch and roll your skin while you’re watching TV. Save that for another time. For now, enjoy the silence and really sink into the sensations and emotions you experience.
What do you notice while rolling your skin? Are there places that the skin is easier to separate away from the muscles? Do you feel any discomfort while pinching or while walking the skin down your forearm? This could include discomfort in the forearm or discomfort in the hand that’s doing the pinching. Are other muscles tightening up as you do this technique? Are you holding your breath? Observe how your skin and flesh are more bound together in some places. Do you feel any crunchy bits? Sometimes when I do this technique, it feels like I’m popping little bubbles underneath my skin. I know that sounds weird, but it’s pretty much like I’m popping teeny tiny bubble wrap that’s located inside me. I know, I’m weird. What weird things are you noticing while you’re doing this?
Once you’ve worked on the whole forearm, move to the hand, the upper arm, your chest, belly, legs – really anywhere. Just be sure to do the same body parts on the other side. If you have a time constraint, you could set a timer to go off at a certain point, then reset the timer for the same duration and get to work on the other side. This way you’re not getting pulled out of the meditation zone every couple of minutes because you keep checking the time. Let yourself really sink into this meditation.
The point of this, besides the myofascial release itself, is to stay present with your body and the sensations you’re experiencing as you go along. When your mind wonders – and it will – just come back to what you’re feeling within your body. If something hurts, discontinue pinching in that location and move to somewhere else that isn’t sensitive. Be sure to stay away from open wounds, scabs, incision sites, and major blood vessels.
While this isn’t a muscular massage technique, if you want to do that afterward and keep it meditational, go for it! Anything done with complete awareness and little-to-no mind wandering counts as a meditation, so have fun and explore your body.