The great thing about mindfulness practices is that- no matter where you look for them – chances are you’ll end up finding the one that resonates the most with you. There’s also no right and wrong way to do them, as long as you’re putting in the effort, they work themselves out.
For today’s mindfulness practice, we’ll try a different approach to meditation, we’ll be stopping at our bodies and checking in with ourselves.
Why Body Scan Meditation?
Here’s the thing, often we take our bodies for granted. It’s there and it’s doing its thing but we’re normally not aware of it, not really.
When was the last time you felt the sensation of your clothes against your skin? or the sensation of a gentle wind hitting your face? – Yes, this last one’s tricky because of lockdown.
The point is, developing awareness of all parts of our bodies can help us feel more connected to ourselves while learning more about what’s really going on inside of us.
Many benefits are linked to this mindfulness practice, as it helps reduce stress, controls anxiety, lowers blood pressure, improves attention, focus, memory, and helps in the management of pain and depression.
How to do a Body Scan Meditation
- Trace a map: If you’re not sure where to start, the first thing you’d want to do is trace a map in your head. How do you feel like going through your body? Might be from your head down or vice versa, whatever works for you, be sure you’re not leaving any part behind.
- Get comfortable: Find a good place for your practice. It can be performed while you lay or sit down, just be as comfortable as possible.
- Bring your attention to this moment: Start by paying attention to your surroundings and the space you’re in. Do not judge what you see or hear, just be aware of the space.
- Go into the body: You could start closing your eyes gently and start noticing your body sitting on the chair or lying in the bed, feel how your body is being supported in the position you’re in.
- Soften up: In this position, make sure you’re able to relax all muscles in your body, face muscles, back muscles, all of it.
- Breathe: Start noticing your breathing, take a couple of deep and long breaths for as long as it feels right for you. With every exhale your body will feel more calmed and relaxed.
- Go in slowly: Gradually redirect your attention to different parts of your body. If you start with your feet, feel the sensation of your feet on the ground, feel your legs and how they press on the chair, feel your back against the wall, take a moment to feel every part of your body, go slowly, be gentle.
- Be aware: While going through your body, be aware of how you feel, is there tension in your shoulders or neck? Is there discomfort or pain in any part of your body? Be aware and go deep into these sensations without the need to stop them, be open and welcome any of these sensations as they appear without judgements.
- Take your time: Go into every part of your body and go back to different areas as much as you need to.
- Once you’re done: Take a few deep breaths and slowly open your eyes, look around and pay attention to the sounds, be aware of your surroundings, no need to think or judge what you experience. When you’re ready, slowly stand up and you’ll be done with your practice.
There are all sorts of ways to practice meditation and do a body scan. You might even find yourself scanning your body throughout the day (while you sit at your desk can be a great place to start).
Guided meditations also work well. If you don’t mind having someone guiding you or don’t get easily distracted by listening to someone else speak, you should give this a try. The important thing is to take the time and reconnect with our bodies as frequently as we can.