Meditation Techniques – Body Scan
One of the most valuable, and yet often overlooked, techniques you can add to your meditation is a body scan. It allows us to ‘look inside’ to get a picture of how the body is feeling, both physically and emotionally. In fact some meditation teachers even describe it as being the most important part of a session!
Why try it? It gives a base line to how the body is feeling along with something to refer back to after your meditation. It also helps re-establish the connection between body and mind whilst focusing us in the present moment.
Additionally, if you are experiencing any negative emotions simply being aware of them lessons their impact and makes them feel more manageable. The body scan is another piece of the meditation picture that helps us let go of negative feelings in order to experience peace, clarity and calm.
The truly great thing about the body scan technique is that you can do it anywhere and throughout the day. In fact, aiming to do it several times throughout the day can significantly increase mindfulness along with focus.
Once you begin your meditation session, take a second to ask yourself if there is any obvious emotions you are experiencing. Perhaps happiness, restlessness, anxiety or anything at all. If so, where in the body are these feelings?
This might sound odd, but when we experience any emotion we can often feel it somewhere in the body. As an example, if you feel anxious, where actually is the tension? In your head? Chest? Stomach? Analysing like this, in a non-judgemental way, creates distance and makes it easier to let go of the feeling.
Next, take the time to scan down through the body, starting at the head and finishing at the toes. Whilst you do this label how you feel at each point. Starting at the head. In a physical sense does it feel comfortable or uncomfortable? Next shoulders, arms, chest, stomach, pelvis, legs and feet and so on. This should be done slowly, starting at the top and inching down the body.
The trick here is to not overdo the thinking, just a quick, decisive label at each point. Comfortable. Uncomfortable. This is an excellent way to focus yourself in the present moment. Take your time.
As you scan, remain aware for any underlying emotions. For example, as you scan down you may notice tension in, say, the chest and realise that you are experiencing anxiety. Simply noticing underlying emotions creates distance and helps us feel calm. You might even find an underlying positive feeling such as happiness. I’m sure we can all agree that realising we are feeling happy can only be a good thing! Aim to spend at least 5 minutes on the technique as a whole.
In future we will write more about the body scan technique, please feel welcome to follow Together Mindful for any future updates. Stay safe 🙂