For the body scan meditation, find a place to lie down comfortably. A bed is probably not ideal, as you may fall asleep. In this meditation, we will go through each part of our body and notice where there is tension. When you notice tension somewhere in your body, don’t try to push it away. Breathe into it, feel the direct sensation, and move on.
Finding your place, let your eyes close. Take a few deep breaths to center yourself and your intentions. As you take these initial deep breaths, feel the ground supporting you. Notice where your body is touching the ground, and how it is effortlessly being supported.
Starting with your feet, move slowly across your body. Feel your toes, one by one, and where there may be tension in them. Notice the arch of your foot, the balls, and the space between your toes. As you concentrate on each spot, look for the direct experience and nothing else. Just notice what you feel in that specific part. Move up to your heel and your ankle. As a joint, our ankles may hold more tension that other spots. We make a note of the sensation, and continue moving.
We move up into the calf, feeling and pain or pleasure that may arise. If we are tense, we feel the tension, and move on. We stop for a moment at the knees, then move up to the thighs and pelvis.
Continue slowly up your lower back and abdomen, feeling whatever tension may arise. Climb up your shoulder blades and spine, rib cage and chest, until you reach the top of your shoulders. Slowly move down your arms, feeling your upper arms first. Stop at the elbow to feel what sensations may arise, and move down the forearm to the wrist. Move especially slowly through your hand. Take note of how your palm feels different than the top of your hand. Run along each finger individually, scanning for any feeling.
Then move up to the neck, moving mindfully up it. Feel the tension and pleasure, and continue moving. Reaching our head, we go up the back first. We feel any direct sensation, moving to the top of our heads. As we get to the face, we remind ourselves to move slowly. We feel our eyes, nose, forehead, cheeks, and chin. We try to notice the sensations without labeling them. We move to the mouth, feeling our jaw, usually a bit clenched. We feel our tongue and lips. We go up our jawline to our ears.
Touching every spot in our body mindfully and with concentration, this scan should take at least 10 minutes. As you finish scanning your body, let your eyes slowly open.
The point of this meditation is to practice being mindful of our bodily sensations. We take the time to feel everything that is going on. After completing this body scan meditation, be mindful of your body’s sensations throughout your day.
This practice of mindfulness will help us see what are bodies are telling us, having open awareness in each moment.