This article is about a body scan meditation. So, first, I will talk a little about what it is and why it’s essential. And then I’m going to give you the tools to do it.
So, the reality is that many of us spend far too much time, if not all of our time, in our minds. What the body scan meditation does is it literally lets us practice connecting with our bodies.
So, incredibly important to those who follow me and have experienced trauma. I talk a lot about how problematic our thoughts can be at times, the stories we tell ourselves.
Really, think about what it means when we are disconnected in our mind from our body and disconnected from the present moment.
So, this is a handy tool to literally practice in connection with our body. And I say this because we literally have to practice it. Of course, we don’t do this. More often than not, we’re in that thinking mind.
So, the reality is that emotions live in our bodies, and often they result in tension in our stomachs. That kind of butterfly feeling.
I have a lot of tension in my shoulders and lower back. So, emotions can be a very physical experience for many of us, emotions can really be a physical experience, and many of us carry stress in our bodies.
We may feel the tension in our shoulders, knots in our abdomen, or have shallow breathing.
Sporadically, we feel these things physically, and we don’t know if they might be related to our emotions.
Breathwork again allows us to connect with our bodies, but also make those connections with our emotions.
If we have those feelings in our bodies, they may also be connected to our emotions. It’s essential to learn to identify when our physical symptoms are related to our senses, but breathwork also gives us the tools to tolerate them.
Ah, many of us, since we do many things, we tend to avoid our emotions.
So by practicing breathwork, this body scan meditation technique will literally help you ease back into those physical discomforts, whether it’s that tension or, you know, the tightness, whatever it may be. I also sit down with the emotional feelings that come up as well.
This body scan helps you identify what you feel, where you feel it in your body and then also gives you the tools to let it go.
So, how do we do a body scan? If you like to do that, you can do it lying down. Lying down is very convenient, so find a comfortable place to lie in your bed.
The only thing with this is that this is not a relaxation technique.
This is not necessary to put you to sleep, so try not to do this before going to bed, but not intending to go to sleep. So find a comfortable place to lie down.
I’m going to go through the body scan meditation here once.
I’m going to explain the body scan meditation first, so you lie down, and I want you to let your breathing slow down naturally while focusing your attention on your breathing. Put your hands on your stomach.
Putting one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest while I’m always talking about that belly breath is what we’re looking for.
Just allow your breathing to slow down, so it now looks like this. While you’re lying there, you can start. I’d say start at the top of your head.
Focus your attention on your crown.
Feel how it feels.
Do you feel anything?
Do you have a headache?
You know, go to your forehead.
Do you feel some tension there?
Do you feel pain?
So, once you’re comfortable and your breathing slows down, you know, it’s on a natural rhythm, I want you to show it’s a shortened version.
So, you can get very specific with the body scan meditation.
You’ll see what I mean.
But I’m going to walk you through a very general way to practice this.
So I lie down.
My breath flows.
Of course, I watch my breathing.
This is a huge, important part of it.
Because what’s going to happen, as always, is that our thoughts will come.
This is where we really have that opportunity to flex that attentional muscle.
I call it away from our thoughts. Just let them drift through us and get on with what we’re doing.
So, now we just have that precious breath, right?
So we can start at the crown, remember?
I’m going to show you how to do this in general.
And then I’ll tell you later how you can get really specific if you want to.
So, from the top of our heads, I’ll start with my head first.
As I breathe, I turn my attention to my head.
Do I feel the tension?
Do I feel a headache and my heartbeat in my temples and start to go to my neck?
I know myself when I’m stressed.
I have a tension that starts here at the base of my skull.
So what I’m going to do is literally feel my body.
I pay attention, put all my attention on my head, and I feel what it feels like to be in my head right now.
If, as I said before, as I was traveling through my head, if I feel a spot of tension, literally just practice breathing “into it.”
So, I breathe in the tension that may be in my temples.
I breathe in the tension that may be on my neck.
I’m not running from it.
This is what I said before, right?
I don’t label the body scan meditation at this point and just deal with that experience, whether it’s a pain, whether it’s tightness, whatever it is, I breathe into it without naming it. Plus, I feel my shoulders again.
Another place I know I carry tension.
How does this feel today?
Today I feel some tension back here in my back behind my shoulders.
What does that tension feel like?
How tight is the weather?
I just focus on it and keep breathing in, not labeling it, not running from it.
You can do this as slowly as you want, making sure to pay close attention.
Teach your body.
Now, I go down and feel my belly, my belly as I breathe.
Everything that happens in there, right down to my legs.
I went for a walk today, so I might feel some tension in my legs, you know, in my quads or my hamstrings and then all the way down to my feet.
As I said before, that’s a very general overview of how to do this.
You can literally start with the top of your head, go to the tip of your ears, to the end of your nose.
This may sound crazy, but we’re working on here with body scan meditation are two things we’re working on to connect with our bodies.
We work on experiencing the feelings in our bodies and not running through them, breathing in them.