Wednesday, February 10, 2016

How To Practice Mindfulness: The Body Scan



How's your mindfulness practice going? Last "How To Practice Mindfulness" post explained a breathing technique. Although it seems easy, given that breathing is something we do without even thinking about it, I found that paying close attention only to my breath, wasn't exactly a piece of cake. I had to let go of a lot of thoughts. Lot's of butterflies flying in my garden! Especially with two boys on summer vacation! How was your breathing meditation? Did you give it a try?

If you are looking for another technique to become aware, and promote well-being and relaxation, while building internal energy, here goes another one:  the body scan meditation.

Ideally, practiced daily for about 20 minutes to half an hour, the body scan aims at bringing awareness to each individual part of the body, in order to finish the meditation connecting each part to the body as a whole.

How to practice a body scan? 

1. Lie on your back. Spread your legs out and your arms to the side, palms up.

2. Notice what it feels like to be supported by the ground.

3. Check in with your left toes and see how they feel. Are they tense, or cold? Direct your breaths. Focus on the point of your attention by breathing deep into your toes. Whatever that means to you. The idea is to promote awareness to each body part and see how they feel in a non-judgmental way. The objective is simple awareness.

4. Let your awareness continue upward to your arch, ankle, calf, knee, thigh and then do the same with your right leg.

5. Continue with your lower back, abdomen, chest and shoulders. Then arms, hands, neck and head.

6. After you have scanned each and every body part, focus on how fingers connect to hands, hands to arms, and so forth. See how the body is a perfect whole, that unites by breath, flowing in and out.

Here's a 3 minute  UCLA guided body scan meditation. Hope you can put this into practice, and maybe let me know how it goes? Until next week's post on how to practice mindfulness!




P.S. How to practice mindfulness: try this easy technique first.
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