Sometimes you can be so caught up in your stress, that you don't realize that the physical discomfort you're experiencing—such as headaches, back and shoulder pain, and tense muscles—is connected to your emotional state.
Body scan meditation is a good way to release the tension you might not even realize you're experiencing. Body scanning involves paying attention to parts of the body and bodily sensations in a gradual sequence from feet to head.
By mentally scanning yourself, you bring awareness to every single part of your body, noticing any aches, pains, tension, or general discomfort. The goal is not to relieve the pain completely, but to get to know it and learn from it so you can better manage it.
Benefits of a Regular Practice
There are many benefits associated with a daily body scan practice, for example, body scan meditation is associated with many mental and physical health benefits. The body scan meditation is also a very useful and effective meditation that can help you to return to and maintain a relaxed state when you become too tense.
How to Practice Body Scan Meditation
As with all forms of meditation, doing a body scan is meant to be simple.
Get comfortable. Find a quiet, comfortable spot in your home or space of your choosing. You may want to sit seated with your legs folded, or you may choose to lay down - find whatever position feels right for you!
Take a few deep breaths. Let your breathing slow down, and start breathing from your belly instead of from your chest, letting your abdomen expand and contract with each breath. If you find your shoulders rising and falling with each breath, focus more on breathing from your belly, as though a balloon is inflating and deflating in your abdomen with each breath. For more practice, try these breathing exercises.
Bring awareness to your feet. Now slowly bring your attention down to your feet. Begin observing sensations in your feet. If you notice pain, acknowledge it and any thoughts or emotions that accompany it, and gently breathe through it.
Breathe into the tension. If you notice any uncomfortable sensations, focus your attention on them. Breathe into them, and see what happens. Visualize the tension leaving your body through your breath and evaporating into the air. Move on when you feel ready.
Take a Deeper Dive into Mindful Meditation
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