In mindfulness meditation there are several meditations that you can choose from. I personally do a mixture of belly breathing, body scans, and hatha yoga. Meditation practices can range from three to sixty minutes and in some instances, longer. I enjoy having a variety of meditations so that I can choose the practice that best fits my day.
My focus today will be on the body scan. At first, many believe this to be a way to relax the body. In essence, it is a way to observe and listen to your body as it ‘falls awake’. Scanning your body starts at the tip of the toes as you work your way up through your head. A body scan allows a systematic approach to discover each part of the body through awareness. You want to perform this without judgment or expectations. Remember, this takes practice. Each mindfulness practice will not be perfect. If thoughts come about during this exercise, simply focus your attention back to that part of the body you are on.
For me, the body scan is about making a mind-body connection and allowing my breath to take me on a journey through my body. I started doing body scan meditations for chronic pain in my feet from an accident. I also use it when I have an occasional headache that will not go away on its own. Performing a body scan alleviates pain that I would have otherwise taken a pain reliever for. Through body scans, I am healthier and do not suffer from pain. I prefer my ‘mindfulness minutes’ over popping a pill.
When doing a body scan, let go of your thoughts on the past or the future and just be in the moment. Be patient with yourself, as this will take practice. I prefer to follow guided body scans as my attention stays more focused and in the moment. I have found several guided mindfulness body scans on YouTube. Below I have shared an audio-guided body scan that I use quite often.
Try and ‘fall awake’ with a mindfulness body scan meditation. Please let me know your thoughts and experiences after you have done a few body scans.