“Stage Zero” as a practice
You can practice Stage Zero as a practice in its own right, spending anywhere from five to twenty minutes on this exercise, or you can go straight into Stage 1 after working through the material below.
Start with adjusting your posture
- adjust your cushion height so that your back is relatively straight, and also relaxed
- make sure that your hands are supported
- relax your shoulders, letting them roll back to open your chest
- adjust the angle of your head, so that the back of your neck is relaxed, long and
open, and your chin is slightly tucked in
- let your eyes close
You’re now ready to begin working on body awareness and relaxation.
Take your awareness through your body, from your feet to your head, becoming aware of every muscle, and relaxing it as much as you can. If your awareness wanders, just come back to your body. Once you’ve scanned through your entire body from your feet to your head, then be aware of your body as a whole, continuing to make sure your posture is open and upright, and that you are continuing to relax.
Then notice the sensations of your breathing — right in the center of your experience. Let your awareness fill your breathing, and let your breathing fill your awareness. Just keep on bringing your awareness back into your breathing, and let the relaxed rhythmic movements of your breathing have a calming effect on your mind.
You can continue doing this for several minutes, or you can go onto Stage 1 of the practice, which involves counting your exhalations.