The Body Scan
The Body Scan is where we place our attention on the body, usually staring with the soles of our feet, and slowly scan through to the top of our head.
By placing our attention on the body in this way, we immediately move away from the narrative that thoughts are weaving in our minds.
Instead we become aware of what is happening in THIS MOMENT – in terms of currently arising bodily sensations.
You can try this now! Go to any place in the body. The place where the foot meets the floor. The contact of the bum with the chair. The tongue against the teeth.
Can you feel the sensations where the contact takes place? Maybe sensations of warmth, coldness, or hardness?
That’s it! It’s just done in a more sustained and systematic way! The Body Scan is simply this process repeated again and again throughout the body.
Now whilst we are noticing the sensations in the body, thought may come in and say things, like “I need to go the bank”, or, “I don’t like that sensation!”.
All we do when this happens, is recognise that we are involved in thought. We then congratulate ourselves for noticing, return to the object of concentration (the body), and continue.
Now the Body Scan really is that simple. And it is something that you can begin to practice without much instruction. Ina way, it is the perfect ‘way-in’ to mindfulness practice.
In terms of sitting up or lying down, try to practise sitting. This is because if we lie down, we can be prone to falling to sleep.
That’s okay of you are using this practice to get to sleep, but the main aim of the practice is to help us develop a habit of becoming aware. Relaxation and better sleep are side effects, not the purpose of the Body Scan!
If you suffer from pain in the body, or panic attacks from meditating whilst sitting, by all means lie down. It’s all about finding out what works for you.
Listen to the audio
There are various audio recordings of the Body Scan available freely on the internet. You can download our version by clicking HERE!!
Or you can visit our Resources page, where you will find the Three Body Scan as well as various other led practices and useful resources.