Why do we do mindfulness meditation body scan?
“The moment I laid down and started my body scan, I realized that I had not connected to my body the whole week, or months, even years!”, told Sara. It sounds incredible, doesn’t it?
Most of us think that our body belongs to ourselves. And we can do anything with it. Eating whatever we want. Sitting long hours without moving. Watching continuous films late at night and just can’t sleep after. Drinking while scanning our smartphones… At those moments, we don’t even know that our body exists.
Yet our body belongs to the Earth. It’s made of generations of plants and minerals. They in turn, come from the sun and the rain. If we take a little moment to be mindful of our body, we connect with the sun, the rain, the Earth. We connect with ourselves and the sources that we come from. And whatever a negative feeling we might bear, we feel more grounded, stronger, more relaxed.
Even when we are feeling pain in our body, the fact of being mindful of it, through a simple body scan meditation, can heal.
Something was changing in my relationship to discomfort. I noticed that I could stay more present and tuned in, even if I didn’t like what I was feeling.– Elaine Smookler
Why a mindfulness meditation body scan is easier to start?
You practice meditation already even for years? I’m sure you’ll notice that our mind is a real wild horse. It wanders all the time. It takes all occasions to move from a thought to another.
With a mindfulness meditation body scan, it’s easier to focus. All our attention is on our body at the present moment. We enhance our ability to bring full attention to the presence. We also train ourselves to be conscious of all sensations, the pleasant, but also, the unpleasant feeling (pain, itch, tiredness). We learn to have a true connection with our bodies and listen to what it has to say.
What are the best tips to succeed in a mindfulness meditation body scan?
- Get comfortable with your clothes and position – Believe me, it’s rather cool to start comfortably than go to change something in the midst of your meditation!
- Be open to what you feel. Don’t try to fix or change anything.
- Accept your unpleasant feeling or pain. Observe it come and go.
- Closing your eyes can be helpful to allow you to focus. But if you prefer, you can always lower and half-close your eyes.
- Don’t rush, but allow as much time as you need or want to experience and investigate each area of the body (20 seconds to 1 minute).
- A systemic body scan from head to toe is the easiest way to begin. But you can also focus on where you feel more pain or sensations
- Be mindful not only of your body but the air around it, the mat, the sounds, the smell… Imagine yourself attached to the Earth by an invisible force. The whole is flying in immense spaces. This is an incredible feeling.
- Don’t panic when you lose your attention a few seconds. Gently draw it back. Don’t force.
- Practice regularly. 10 minutes of body scan daily is of great benefit. Don’t have occasion to do it “officially” one day or another? When you think about it, you can just take a few minutes where ever you are sitting, and start observing your sensations and scan your body. Remember, consistency is golden.
- Take time to come back. Never rush to move out immediately. Instead, slowly release your focus and bring gently your attention back to your surroundings.
Benefits of mindfulness body scan meditation
Great, you did it! Did you notice the great sensations getting out of a body scan meditation? Its benefits do not stop there. Below are the greatest benefits revealed by academic researches.
- Improved sleep (2019 study)
- Anxiety and stress relief (2013 research)
- Greater self-awareness
- Increased self-compassion
- Reduced pain (2017 review)
- And even reduced cravings when quitting smoking (2013 study)
Start mindfulness body scan meditation today
Tempted to try? I’m gathering a few great sources of guided body scan meditation, with different durations. Once you get familiar with it, you can completely do it yourself. It’s a very simple technique. It only requires consistency and the mental “go” to start. So, give it a go? Try them and tell me what you prefer the most.
Body scan for sleep (13 minutes) (UCLA)
Body scan meditation 13 min (HelpGuide)
10 minute mindfulness body scan meditation (Christy Cassisa)
20 minute body scan meditation (Palouse Mindfulness)
30 minute body scan meditation (with sound) (Luis Monores)
45 minute body scan meditation (with sound) (Lois Howland)