Somatic Meditation for balancing the three brains

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This is a practice you can do sitting in a chair or on the floor, standing or even lying down. Keep the text nearby so you can read the next part as you’re ready for it. Don’t worry if you don’t know your anatomy! Let your interior sensing guide you, and keep it simple. You could spend a few minutes with this or up to an hour, whatever works for you. Enjoy!

Sitting, standing, or lying down, do a quick body scan to say hello to any physical sensations you notice, allowing your mind and attention to wash through your experience of body. Bring your attention to your brain, supported by the bones of your skull. Feel the weight of your brain and allow it to yield and fill into the space inside your head. Invite the bones,  brain and surrounding fluids to support each other and rest in relationship.

Acknowledge your brain’s ongoing sending and receiving of thoughts, sensations, actions and decisions, and allow for this activity to be an easy fluid circulation between brain and nervous system, brain and skin, through the entirety of you and the environment around you.

Bringing your attention down into your throat, invite the soft tissue of your vocal and digestive tubes to rest into the front of your spine, supporting your neck. You may wish to gentle hum, sigh or sing, sensing the vibrational and expressive qualities of your throat.

Shift your attention to your heart, nestled in your chest between your lungs. Allow your heart to yield into the soft yet strong support of the lungs, spine, ribs and diaphragm. Notice the ongoing rhythmic pulsation of your heart, in fluid sending and receiving. Invite all the surfaces of your heart to soften and meet the surrounding structures, giving and receiving support. Let it be easy.

Acknowledge your heart’s ongoing circulation, in and out, through your veins and arteries, to all of your cells and surfaces and back again. Acknowledge your heart’s ongoing circulation with the other people, animals, and places in your life, and trust the wisdom that guides this circulation. Invite your heart to express and receive, in circulation with your rich inner and outer worlds, and with your throat and brain above.

Shifting slightly lower, rest your attention in your diaphragm, filling the space inside the lower ribs. Notice the rhythm of the diaphragm’s drawing down for inbreath, releasing upwards for outbreath. Let the breath be as it is, without trying to change anything. You may wish to tone, hum, or sigh from the diaphragm with a gentle vibration.

Shift your attention to your belly, to the gut, the soft organs in your abdomen. Invite your digestive organs to fill the space of your belly, supported by the bones of your pelvis and spine, by your muscles and connective tissue. Let your bones and muscles be supported by your belly organs as well. Notice the fluid movement of the organs that occurs with each breath.

Acknowledge the wisdom of your gut, sending and receiving, processing food and water into energy and waste, responding to the situations that arise in your life, in your environment. Rest in the wisdom of the belly brain, perhaps connecting to the earth through your pelvis and legs. Trust your belly brain to be in circulation with the earth – through receiving, processing and releasing back out – in its own deep intelligence.

Bring your attention lower, to the pelvic diaphragm filling the base of your pelvis. Notice any movement or tension in the pelvis. You may wish again to tone, hum, sigh or sing from the vibration through the pelvic diaphragm, as a place of expression and connection.

Finally, bring your attention to the whole, inviting the three centres of intelligence – the belly, heart, and brain – to come into relationship and support each other.  Acknowledge the ongoing conversational relay that occurs between these three centres, through your fluids, glands, and nervous system. Trust your whole body, every cell, to synchronize and co-operate in sending and receiving, perceiving and responding, feeling and expressing.

When you have time and space you can take this meditation into movement, writing or singing, or return to it later while engaged in your daily activities.
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For more on these three centers and especially the belly brain, check out:

-Buchbinder, A 2013, Out of our heads: Philip Shepherd on the brain in our belly, The Sun, April 2013, online here.
-Hadhazy, A 2010, Think twice: how the gut’s “second brain” influences mood and well-being, The Scientific American, online here.
-Taylor, Mark 2012, Accessing the wisdom of your body: balancing the three brains, Currents: a journal of the BodyMind Centering Association (BMCA members get free access to all past issues).

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