Have you been looking for a reason to lie down and do relatively nothing? Well, we are going to give that reason to you now. Doing a body scan isn’t exactly doing nothing, but it is about letting go of pent up frustrations, feeling overwhelmed, and any emotions that are bringing you down. In the body scan exercise, you put your awareness on your body and allow yourself to simply be with whatever is there.
Bringing our awareness to our body’s current state is a key practice of presence, or living in the moment. This type of practice, referred to as mindfulness, is the state of being aware or conscious of something. In this case, we are going to become conscious of all the sensations going on in our body. One way to think about this is as a ‘tuning in’ to what is always there but we seldom put attention on.
The body scan integrates mind and body, and does so by creating a space for calm and acceptance. There is no right or wrong in this exercise.
How to do a body scan:
Lie down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and exhale, allowing yourself to get comfortable. Bring your awareness to your toes. Notice how they feel. Are they hot? Cold? Tense? Take a deep breath and exhale. Bring your awareness to your feet. Notice the sensations in the feet. Repeat your breath, in and out. Bring your awareness to your lower legs. Maintain your attention on how they feel, the sensations in them.
Repeat this as you move upward in your body, focusing on your body parts. Once you reach the crown of your head, take a deep breath in and focus on uniting your whole body as one, bringing your awareness to how your body feels.
Once you have moved through your whole body and you feel the process is complete, gently open your eyes.
A detailed explanation of the body scan meditation, including why is it so beneficial: http://palousemindfulness.com/disks/bodyscan.pdf
For a guided body scan and a list of additional mindfulness exercises, check out this link: http://www.livingwell.org.au/mindfulness-exercises-3/6-body-scan/