The body scan meditation places attention on the physical sensations in the body.
Ultimately, it is referred to as body scanning because you are meant to “scan,” one’s awareness through the whole body on an intimate level.
So attention needs to be focused on every single fiber of the body.
Ultimately this practice is intended to cultivate the ability to be more aware of what’s going on inside your body.
This includes being more in tune with all parts of the body, such as the skin, bones, digestion, and internal organs, etc.
So what exactly is the body scan meditation and how do you go about doing it?
The simple answer is you need to mentally scan yourself from head to toe as you bring awareness to every single part of your body. So when in this meditative state, you need to be focused on your aches, pains, general discomfort, and tension wherever it may be. You also need to be present and breathing into the sensations to bring relief to your body and mind, thereby enhancing your relationship with your aches and pains.
The following guide will allow us to take a closer look at the body scan meditation technique and exactly how it can benefit you.
- 1 Why body scan meditation?
- 2 Benefits of body scan meditation
- 3 How to do a body scan meditation
- 4 Related Questions
Why body scan meditation?
If you’re like most people, stress affects both your mental and emotional capacity, stress also leads to physical symptoms such as pain, headaches, heartburn, etc.
Sometimes people are so caught up in the stress they are experiencing that they don’t realize their physical discomfort is more related to an emotional state of mind.
So this is where the body scan can be particularly helpful and effective by allowing us to scan and check our bodies.
By mentally scanning yourself or picturing a laser scanning the entire length of your body, you are placing emphasis on all parts of your body, therefore becoming more in touch with your pain and discomfort.
This process also allows you to be completely present so that you can focus and identify with your pain and discomfort.
The practice is usually done lying down however it’s crucial to note that this is not a station exercise.
So ultimately, the point is not to feel calm but to be more aware of the senses in your body.
The practice itself is designed to be performed daily or even several times a day.
Therefore practicing the body scan meditation technique has various physical and mental health benefits.
In fact, it is believed that some of the primary benefits of body scan meditation are to reduce inflammation and fatigue, as well as lead to a reduction in insomnia.
So ultimately, the body scan meditation technique will help you break free of the physical and psychological tension that stress can encourage.
So it’s an effective form of medication that will ultimately help you to get back to a more relaxed state of mind after your session.
Benefits of body scan meditation
The body scan meditation technique offers various physical and mental health benefits.
Some of them include reducing stress, improving sleep, and becoming more aware of your body.
It is also believed that the body scan meditation allows you to reach greater levels of mindfulness and an increased sense of psychological well-being.
Here are a few more benefits of the body scan meditation technique:
Reducing stress and tension is perhaps one of the main benefits of this type of meditation.
The body scan can have positive physical benefits that you tune into the things in the body itself.
What’s more, regular mindfulness meditation helps to train your mind to more effectively respond to stress.
So instead of pondering and analyzing stressful thoughts and feelings, you learn how to lean on them and eliminate the power they have over you.
More often than not, your mind is in one place, and your body is doing something else.
The body scan meditation technique helps to sync your body and mind, therefore, taking away from the noise in your mind and bringing you into your present state.
In addition to this, regularly being aware and in tune with your body can help you identify aches and pains before they become serious problems.
Most people notice that when doing the body scan meditation practice, their mind tends to wander, or they may become frustrated as they feel something bad in their body.
Taking a practice will help you to approach the situation with more acceptance and gentleness.
Eventually, you will learn to approach all situations and in your daily life with the same level of compassion.
When you participate in the body scan meditation technique, you are insisting that your mind focuses on an object.
So ultimately, you’re training your capacity to pay close attention.
Your attention can also be enhanced by moving your mind from one object to the next and back to the first object.
Ultimately, it can be likened to doing resistance exercises in the gym, so while it takes effort, strength, and stability, it is also strengthening your mind in the same breath.
If you notice that your mind is roaming all over the place in your first body scan meditation session, it’s completely normal.
Although you want to pay attention, that’s not what happens.
One of the purposes of doing this exercise is to constantly discipline your mind and bring it into awareness of what’s going on in your body.
So if you are aware that your mind has a tendency to wander, you need to train it to be more disciplined skillfully.
By repeatedly causing attention to be focused on your body you balance the tendency to live in your head.
Living from your body allows you to get into a mode of perceiving what’s most rooted, grounded, and in sync with the world around you.
Ultimately this would keep you from getting caught up in other concepts.
Lots of people push themselves very hard in everyday life.
Ultimately we look at training as a way to force or push ourselves to become different.
Mindfulness training, on the other hand, would encourage you to take a different approach to life.
Each time, you allow yourself to focus attention on your body, you do it suggestively and gently.
Even when you notice that your mind is wandering, you accept it and use a skillful and compassionate way to bring your mind back into focus.
We may not always like what we find in the body scan meditation; however, instead of trying to reject and force change except it, and you’ll find that your mind is struggling less.
Lots of people go through life and take many things for granted.
The simple fact that you have a body that works 100% is amazing and something that everyone should be grateful for.
So by focusing on the sensations in your body, your interest is more on living life and this in itself is a phenomenon.
Once you start to become more mindful during the body scan meditation, you realize that the world around you is constantly evolving.
When you try to reject painful situations but hold onto pleasant ones, you notice that your stress levels rise.
However, the body scan meditation technique will encourage you to become more aware and focused on sensations in your body that are rising, shifting, and moving all the time.
However, the relief comes when you move away from the notion or assumption of how things are in life.
There are times when we are going to discover body sensations that we don’t like.
Irritation, boredom, and pain are common experiences that you discover when practicing the body scan.
The usual and most typical way of dealing with these sensations is to push them away.
However, when there isn’t much we can do about them, the best thing to do is to accept it and lean towards it.
This may seem counterproductive; however, it gives these sensations less power over us.
How to do a body scan meditation
As is the case with all types of meditation, the body scan is meant to be simple, and here’s how you get started.
- The most important thing is that you get comfortable. So your first step is finding a comfortable place to sit or lie down. Lying down is recommended as it helps you become more comfortable if you would prefer to do the exercise while sitting down this is okay as well.
- Take a few deep breaths. You need to let your breathing slow down before you begin and then start breathing from your stomach instead of your chest. When you do this, your abdomen should expand and contract with every breath that you take. Try to focus more on breathing rather than your shoulders rising and falling. So focus on breathing from your belly and try to picture a balloon in inflating and deflating in your abdomen with each breath. Becoming more knowledgeable with breathing exercises also assists in this process.
- You want to bring awareness to your feet. Bring your attention to your feet and acknowledge the sensations in your feet. When focusing on the sensations in your feet, you may notice some pain. What you need to do is acknowledge it and any emotions that are associated with it. Then you need to breathe through it.
- If you notice any uncomfortable sensations, then you should focus your attention on them and take note of the tension. Breathe into them and see what happens. Ultimately, you need to focus on visualizing the tension in your body and picturing it dissipating into the air. When you feel ready to move on, you should do so.
- Scanning your entire body is a requirement when doing a body scan meditation practice. You should scan each area of your body, starting with your feet and then moving up. Also, it is important that when scanning each part of the body that you take note of how you’re feeling and where you are holding stress and tension. So if you find any pain, tightness, or pressure on a certain part of your body, acknowledge and accept it. By becoming more aware of it, you’ll learn how to relieve discomfort and pain in the future.
Some other tips to help you get started on your body scan meditation journey is as follows:
- You can start practicing this meditation technique whenever you feel stressed out, and you can do it up to several times today.
- If you are pressed for time, then you don’t need to scan the entire body but focus on the parts of your body, where you feel the tension. It will become easier the more you practice.
- Ultimately this technique is intended to promote body awareness, reduce stress, and induce relaxation. So practice it as often as you can and try to combine it with other forms of exercise such as breathing and visual exercises.
When practicing any form of meditation, you are encouraged to be kind. Any act of kindness brings lots of benefits to it.
Some of these benefits include:
- Feeling great: When you do something nice for others, you feel good about it and good about yourself.
- You make others feel great: Acts of kindness also brighten up and fill others with gratitude and thankfulness.
- Connected with others: Doing good acts of kindness for others makes you feel more connected to the world around you and the people around you. You are reminded that people are interdependent, and you see yourself as being a part of that equation.
- You’re more focused on helping: When you feel good about helping others, it’s something you want to do more often. You will also stop worrying more about what’s going on in your own life, and your attention will be more focused on helping others around you.
- Confidence: You feel more confident knowing that you are able to affect positive change in the lives of others around you. This will give you a more optimistic approach to life.
Ultimately, the body scan meditation technique also encourages you to be more compassionate towards your overall mind and body experience.
Some of the greater benefits that you will experience due to the body scan meditation practice are as follows:
You become more aware of your inner attitude, and therefore, you’ll be more open to the experience of meditating.
Ultimately, you will stop focusing on self-improvement and development as you start to accept and embrace yourself and who you are in a deep and unique way.
Your focus will be on your breathing for a couple of minutes before you begin, and ultimately this will assist you in practicing your breathing exercises as well.
As you probably know, the body scan practice encourages you to focus more attention on your body by using self-awareness.
You will, therefore, be able to feel the sensations in your body more simply.
You also become more in tune with your breathing as you imagine your breath sweeping up and down your body.
This feeling, ultimately, can be relaxing and soothing in nature.
What is the purpose of the body scan meditation technique?
It is meant to help you become more in tune with your physical body and all sensations that are felt by the body.
Should you sit or lie down when doing the body scan technique?
It is recommended that you lie down so you are more relaxed.
However, if you have a tendency to fall asleep while lying down, you should practice this technique sitting upright.
How often should you practice the body scan technique?
It can be done daily and up to several times a day.