Body Scan Meditation
The goal of this practice is to explore and tune into the physical sensations of the body. Your thoughts and emotions can seriously affect the way you feel physically. The discomfort you feel in your body can be a good indication of your mental or emotional state. By bringing awareness and acknowledgment to whatever you feel or sense in the body, the body scan can be very helpful in working with stress, anxiety, and physical pain. The body has its own wisdom, and if you listen, it can communicate where physical tension, thoughts, and emotions lie within your body. This investigation into physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions is sometimes called the triangle of awareness, since it’s a journey into the totality of our human experience. The intention is not to change or fix anything, but simply to be present and listen to what your body has to say.
How to do this meditation?
1) Get Comfortable
Sit in a comfortable place and fully relax your body. You don't need to be lying down, but it helps, particularly if you're doing a body scan meditation before you fall asleep. Try to get into a position that is comfortable enough for you to fully relax without becoming so comfortable that you may fall asleep if you're not able to nap or sleep at the moment. Let your breathing slow down, and start breathing from your belly instead of from your chest, letting your abdomen expand and contract with each breath. If you find your shoulders rising and falling with each breath, focus more on breathing from your belly, as though a balloon is inflating and deflating in your abdomen with each breath.
2) Notice Where Tension Lies
Starting with your head, bring your awareness to your body and notice any tension you're feeling as you practice your body scan meditation. Do you feel a feeling of tightness in your shoulders, back, neck, or anywhere else? What about sensations of pain, either sharp, dull, or subtle? Do you have a feeling of concentrated 'energy' around a certain area? Just pay attention to that sensation and do not judge or try to label it as unwanted or painful or do not allow yourself to sink in to that sensation or pain. Just be with it in that moment.
3) Bringing awareness to all body parts one by one:
Bring awareness to the bottom of the left foot where you feel the contact of your foot on the floor. It could be the back of the heel or the bottom of the left foot. Sensing into what is being felt. Feeling the heel, ball, and sole of the left foot. Feel into your toes and the top of the left foot and back into the Achilles tendon and up into the left ankle. Now move your awareness up to the lower left leg, feeling into the calf and shin and their connection to the left knee.
Let awareness now rise up to the thigh, sensing into the upper leg and its connection above into the left hip.
And now withdraw awareness from the left hip down to the left foot, shifting it into the right foot and bringing awareness to where you feel the contact of your right foot on the floor. It could be the back of the heel or the bottom of the right foot. Sensing into what is being felt. Feeling the heel, ball, and sole of the right foot. Feel into the toes and the top of the right foot and back into the Achilles tendon and up into the right ankle. Now move your awareness up to the lower right leg, feeling into the calf and shin and their connection to the right knee.
Let awareness now rise up into the thigh, sensing into the upper leg and its connection above into the right hip. Gently withdraw your attention from the right hip and move into the pelvic region. Sense into the systems of elimination, sexuality, and reproduction. Feeling into the genitals and the anal region. Being mindful to any sensations, thoughts, or emotions.
And now lift the awareness to the abdomen and into the belly, the home of digestion and assimilation, feeling into your guts with awareness and letting be. Now withdraw your awareness from the belly and move to the tailbone and begin to sense into the lower, middle, and upper parts of the back.
Let the awareness now shift into the chest, into the heart and lungs. Feeling into the rib cage and sternum and then into the breasts. Now gently withdraw attention from the chest and shift the awareness into the fingertips of the left hand. Feeling into the fingers and palm, and then the back of the hand and up into the left wrist. Proceed up into the forearm, elbow, and upper left arm, feeling sensations. Now shift awareness to the fingertips of the right hand. Feeling into the fingers and palm, and then the back of the hand and up into the right wrist.
Proceed up into the forearm, elbow, and upper right arm, feeling sensations.
Let the awareness move into both shoulders and armpits and then up into the neck and throat.
Now bring your awareness into the jaw and then gently into the teeth, tongue, mouth, and lips. Allowing any resonating sensations to go wherever they need to go and letting be.
Feel into the cheeks, the sinus passages that go deep into the head, the eyes, and the muscles around the eyes. Feel into the forehead and the temples.Let the awareness move into the top and back of the head. Feeling into the ears and then inside of the head and into the brain.
Now expand the field of awareness to the entire body from head to toe to fingertips. Connect from the head through the neck to the shoulders, arms, hands, chest, back, belly, hips, pelvic region, legs, and feet.
Open your eyes slowly and congratulate yourself for taking time to be fully present and bringing awareness in the present moment. OM Shanti!!!