Body scan meditation is one of the greatest mindfulness techniques around the world. Mindfulness stems from Buddhist teachings and aims to help our minds be conscious of all the discomfort our body is facing, rather than focus on making the stress and pain go away. It teaches the mind to experience various sensations without judgment. While there are over 16 types of official meditation techniques, the body scan is a thoroughly popular one. This article will focus on teaching you how to practice body scan meditation.
Benefits of Body Scan meditation
With 16.1 million Americans grappling with depression, anxiety, and profession based stress, mindfulness has become a necessity. Studies by researchers at Harvard show that 15 minutes of daily meditation can, in fact, alter the way your genes operate, unlocking the mantra to happiness. Here are the major benefits of body scan meditation:
1. Reduces stress
Body scan meditation helps you handle daily life stress by gently leaning in on the thoughts and feelings that accompany bodily stress rather than giving them the power to take over your mind.
Body scan meditation is all about reconnecting with your physical being. While this may sound cliche to some, it truly works. Reducing stress and tension not only makes your mind a happier one, it improves your physical health as well. Insomnia and anxiety, mental darkness with roots buried deep in stress, are known to go away through body scan meditation. Now you might question how in the whole wide world can a meditation technique make your discontent boss disappear? Well, it can’t. But it can definitely teach you how to handle him/her.
Practicing body scan meditation helps our mind focus on the task at hand rather than letting it wander off to fantasy worlds
Often, while our body performs one task our mind wanders about thinking of completely unrelated things. This reduces our throughput (tasks done in a unit of time). Meditation helps cancel out the hundreds of voices in our mind. This leads to better concentration. While extremely helpful in the professional world, this also leads to a healthy personal life. Being aware of your body helps you identify the pains and aches that, if not treated early on, can grow to pose significant medical issues later in life.
Self- compassion is extremely important to handle failure and work based stress in a healthy manner. Body scan meditation helps us inculcate self-compassion.
Sometimes, we meet people in life who lack compassion. While they definitely deserve your disapproval, have you ever introspected to see how compassionate you yourself are, particularly towards yourself? Let’s take a small example. You start body scan meditation, and instead of staying focused, your mind starts wandering off. No matter what you’re unable to shut your inner voices up. What would your reaction be? Chances are you will get frustrated and will never meditate again. And this is being extremely harsh upon yourself. Body scan meditation will help you approach such incidences with genteel acceptance.
How to perform body scan meditation
For maximum benefits, you must practice body scan meditation daily. An average session should last anywhere between 20 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on the amount of time you wish to invest. For increased benefits and guidance, you can follow a video or audio script like this one:
Here’s a step by step guide to body scan meditation. Remember, you must take your time with each step:
- Lie down or sit in a relaxed position. Close your eyes. If you feel sleepy, you can partially close your eyes or not close them at all.
- Be aware of your body. Your attention should be on your body and nothing else. Soon, you will simply notice your body weight. You’ll feel it on the chair, floor or wherever you are seated.
- Start taking deep breaths. Inhale, and notice how the oxygen enlivens your body. Exhale and relax. You will notice requests from your network in terms of sensations.
- Now notice how your feet interact with the floor, simply notice the sensation of your feet touching the ground. The weight and the heat, be aware of it. If you’re sitting on a chair, feel your back against the chair. Feel the sensation of your legs against the chair.
- Focus your attention on your stomach. If it is tense, allow it to soften. Take a deep breath. Now focus on your hands. If the muscles are tight, loosen them up. You might end up receiving a large volume of requests from your network at this stage.
- Let your shoulders be loose and soft, let your arms be relaxed. Feel your neck and throat. Let them relax and soften as well.
- Let your jaw be soft and your face muscles relax. Now notice your body as a whole. It’s present state, sensations, burnings tingling, and record every new feeling in your mind.
- In the end, open your eyes. Your meditation for the day is complete.
Body scan meditation is an interesting practice in that it can heal pain and aches you never knew you had! Also, you can not only practice this once every day but also when you’re particularly feeling stressed. A lot of artists try this before a stage performance to relieve the stress of being in front of thousands of people. Remember, consistency is key – practice it daily to reap maximum benefits.
A lawyer-turned-freelance writer with an impassioned zeal for writing, Shravani writes on all things law while deftly handling diverse non-legal niches as well - from technology, business and entrepreneurship to entertainment, health and nutrition, mindfulness, productivity and more. Content writer and Editor by the day. Dreamer and idea juggler by the night. Foodie, movie buff, bookworm, Chai-holic - not necessarily in that order.