The body scan is a very effective and enjoyable technique that offers many benefits. It provides an opportunity to:
The technique involves going through the body, part by part. Explore each part in great detail, becoming aware of the sensations that are there. As an example, for your head, you could explore the sensations in the back of your head, the top of your head, the left and right side of your head, and your face – the forehead, eyes, cheeks, and jaw. After exploring it in detail, invite any tension to release, and then imagine that part of the body dissolving into a cloud of gently vibrating energy.
The body scan is best done lying down with a small pillow under
your head for support. If you like, you can also place a pillow under
your knees to support your lower back. Your feet should be
approximately hip width apart, and your arms by your sides a few inches away from your torso.
Begin by taking a few slow deep ocean breaths, and with each exhalation, gradually let go of your day, and let yourself settle into the present moment.
Now begin to move your attention through the various parts of your body, in the following sequence:
and for each part of the body:
After you complete the above process, expand your attention to
include your whole body. Take a couple of slow deep ocean breaths, and
with each exhalation, imagine the breath expanding throughout your whole
body. Take one more slow ocean breath in, and as you exhale fully,
imagine your whole body as a cloud of softly vibrating energy.
Before moving on to your next activity, take a moment to experience how your body feels. Notice any changes in your sensations, your mind, or your emotions. Don’t think about, analyze or judge what you observe. Just notice and be present with whatever you're experiencing.
Then, very gradually open your eyes and remain quiet for a moment. As you begin to move, see if you notice any tendency to tense up – in your face, your shoulders, your belly, or anywhere else that tension is not needed. And if you do, invite the tension to release. As you return to your activities, see if you can maintain some sense of the benefits you’ve experienced.
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If you would prefer to be guided through this exercise, you can find an audio version of the body in our store.