The Body Scan – Guided Mindfulness Meditation
This video is part of the Mindfulness Incubator video series. (13/16)
Let’s begin by taking a moment to allow your body to settle in a comfortable position. Finding a posture that feels relaxed and alert. You can be standing, sitting, or lying down.
A lot of people use the body scan practice as a way to feel more grounded, feel more embodied, and that can, in turn, help us to fall asleep faster, to feel a sense of ease and relaxation throughout the body, to diffuse some of the excess energy out of the head. It can also be a way to open the heart. Just feel a sense of ease and wellbeing.
So this body scan will offer an opportunity for us to really sense into our whole body with our awareness. We’re essentially scanning our body with nonjudgmental awareness.
So we’ll be starting with the toes and gradually moving up the feet and legs through the rest of the body. Just seeing what we can sense. Sensing into the physical sensations, whatever feels predominant to you, just noticing what we can notice without judging anything to be good or bad, without judging ourselves to be right or wrong.
So let’s get started by simply bringing awareness to the sensations in our feet and then our toes. Just noticing the physiological sensations in our feet. If it’s helpful to wiggle your toes or press your feet against the ground, that’s fine. Just seeing what you can notice in your feet. Maybe you can feel the skin, or your bones. Maybe there’s pressure somewhere in your feet.
Gradually moving up into your ankles and calves and scanning your awareness through these areas. And sensing into physical sensations. What do your calves feel like? Maybe you can feel the muscle, or your shin.
And then scanning awareness through your knees, and thighs, and your hamstrings. Sometimes these are difficult areas to bring awareness to. Just seeing what you can notice.
And then scanning your awareness up into your torso, and your sit bones, pelvis. And your stomach. Perhaps you can notice your stomach moving in and out. Maybe the curvature of your lower spine. Pressure of your sit bones on the ground or your chair. Perhaps you can feel your hips.
Just scanning your awareness up into your chest area. Movement of your lungs. Beating of your heart. Feeling the cage of ribs. What about your shoulders? Can you sense into your shoulders? Is one shoulder tighter than the other? How is your posture? Are your shoulders hunched forward? Are they back?
Scanning awareness through the arms and hands. Inviting a sense of ease throughout your hands. And then up through your neck. Scanning awareness through the neck, and your skull. Feeling into the muscles of your face.
So this is a practice that you can be creative with over time. You can start with the toes and move upward. Or start at the crown of the head and work down. You can explore by sensing into flesh, skin, blood, and bone. You can choose to flex certain muscles, if that feels appropriate for you. Do some minor stretches or wiggling. All in the name of feeling the sensations of the body to stay connected with the physical nature of what’s manifesting moment by moment, without judging anything to be good or bad.
And over time, you’ll be able to more quickly assess emotions that live in the body as they occur, so that you can better regulate your emotions to something that’s very healthy and appropriate for your circumstance.
So this is the body scan. I hope that you’re able to utilize it in your daily life. Something you can use as you’re driving, going to sleep, waking up. It’s a very useful exercise to feel embodied and grounded. Thank you very much for your mindfulness.
In this practice, we embark on a journey within ourselves. No matter whether we are standing, sitting, or lying down, we start by finding a comfortable position that allows our body to relax while keeping our awareness alert.
The body scan, as shared, is a valuable tool for many. It’s a pathway to connect with our body, to ground ourselves, and find that sense of embodiment that often eludes us. The outcomes are manifold: from falling asleep more swiftly to nurturing an all-encompassing ease and relaxation throughout our being. It’s like releasing pent-up energy, a sense of unwinding that begins in our minds and radiates throughout our physical selves.
It’s also a way to unlock the heart, a key to embracing tranquility and well-being. During this exercise, we meticulously explore our entire being, step by step, from toes to head. We don’t label what we sense as good or bad. Instead, we observe our sensations with gentle awareness, casting no judgment upon ourselves.
Our journey commences at the toes. Then we gradually ascend through the feet and legs, scanning each area’s sensations. We feel the skin, bones, or perhaps some pressure. Our journey continues upward, visiting our calves, knees, thighs, and hamstrings. Some areas might prove challenging, but we acknowledge whatever sensations arise.
As we ascend further into the torso, our awareness encompasses the pelvis, sit bones, stomach, and spine. We notice how our stomach moves with each breath, the curve of our lower spine, and the pressure of our sit bones. Our journey then takes us to the chest area, where we feel the rhythm of our lungs and the heartbeat within the ribcage.
We pay a visit to our shoulders, considering any tightness or postural habits. Our hands, arms, neck, and skull receive our attention, allowing us to explore every muscle, every sensation.
It’s a practice that can evolve with time. Whether you begin with your toes or crown of your head, it’s your creative canvas. You can delve into flesh, skin, blood, and bone, even flexing muscles or performing minor stretches. The goal is to experience the constant ebb and flow of physical sensations without passing judgment on them.
With continued practice, you’ll become adept at identifying emotions as they arise within your body. You’ll harness the ability to regulate these emotions effectively, aligning them with the needs of the moment.
So, as you integrate this body scan into your daily life, remember that it’s a versatile tool you can employ while driving, going to sleep, or waking up. It’s a reliable practice to stay anchored and in touch with your physical self. Your mindfulness is a gift to yourself, and I commend you for embracing it.