The body scan meditation - meditation techniques for beginners
Before I introduce you to body scan meditation, I would like to briefly explain what meditation actually is.
Meditation is a mindfulness technique with which you can learn to direct your focus and consciously direct your own attention. The positive effects of meditation on health and general feelings of happiness have now been proven by numerous studies . The reduction of stress, an increased sense of inner peace and a better ability to concentrate are just some of the numerous effects of meditation. It also helps you get to know yourself better. You become aware of what you think and feel and where these feelings and thoughts come from.
If you want to get to know meditation and try it out for yourself, it can be difficult to decide how best to get started. In this blog post I will give you some basic information and tips for meditation. Today we want to get to know the body scan meditation; a very accessible and simple way of meditation.
Why body scan?
Sitting and focusing on your own breathing is just one of many types of meditation. The body scan offers the opportunity to actively go into meditation and consciously connect with your own body. This not only helps you develop better body awareness, but also helps you reach a deeper state of relaxation. Especially at the beginning it is difficult to simply think about “nothing” and to remain completely still and in the present. In the body scan meditation you focus on individual areas of your body and feel yourself slowly becoming more and more relaxed. You usually go through all the body regions one after the other and feel into them. From the crown of your head to the tips of your toes, everything is included. You can do this in very small steps, or you can look at entire areas of the body at once.
Whenever I do a body scan meditation, I notice how much we “decouple” from our bodies in everyday life and forget what it does for us all day long. It's often only during meditation that I notice which muscles I'm tensing and how good it feels to notice my own body and give it a little more attention and love through meditation.
Like any other meditation, you can do the body scan whenever you want. But it is particularly suitable in the evening before falling asleep. This way you can switch off optimally and relax a little before falling asleep. Many people find it comfortable to do the body scan while lying down. This makes it easier to perceive all areas of the body individually and to relax the muscles. Of course, you can also make yourself comfortable while sitting – just as you like.
It is likely that you will experience tension, warmth, a slight tingling sensation, or something similar during meditation. However, all sensations that arise during the exercise should be perceived as non-judgmentally and acceptingly as best as possible. Even if there are no sensations in individual parts of the body. Just try to consciously notice how the different parts of your body feel and what is going on at the moment. There is no right or wrong here.
This meditation lasts approximately 10 minutes. Give yourself as much time in each part of your body as feels right to you. It's not about racing through the entire body as quickly as possible, but rather consciously and carefully perceiving individual parts of the body.
- Lie comfortably on your back so that your hands are relaxed at your sides and tilt your feet slightly outwards so that it is comfortable for you. Feel free to cover yourself so that you don't get cold during meditation. You should also be in a place where you won't be disturbed for the next few minutes. Once you have found a comfortable position, gently close your eyes and try not to move or as little as possible from now on.
- Take a few moments to arrive. Take a few deep breaths – and breathe out again. Then observe your breath as it returns to its natural rhythm and allow yourself to fully arrive in this moment. When you're ready, bring your attention to the sensations in your body. Above all, feel the sensations of touch and pressure where your body comes into contact with the surface. With each exhale, allow yourself to let go and sink a little deeper into the ground.
- Remind yourself again what this exercise is about. The goal is not to feel different or to relax. This can happen, but it doesn't have to. Instead, the sole goal of this exercise is to bring your attention to the sensations you discover during the exercise.
- Now bring your attention to your feet. Feel your toes, each one. Notice each toe from right to left. Then take the sole of your foot, the back of your foot and your entire feet. Bring all your attention to your feet. Thank your feet for carrying you through your life.
- Now move your attention to your ankles and then to your shins and lower legs. Notice what is right now. Continue up your leg – over your knees – to your thighs. Now feel into your legs as a whole.
- Now notice your hips. Then focus your attention on your stomach. Notice your organs, your kidneys, your liver, your intestines. Imagine your organs smiling. Let all your organs smile - your lungs, your heart. And thank your organs too. That they keep you alive and that your body works so wonderfully.
- Now bring your attention to your shoulders, to your upper arms. Feel into your elbows and forearms. Thank your arms for helping you carry, create, hug. Feel your hands and every single finger. Thank your hands for allowing you to touch the world.
- Now feel into your back – your upper back and your lower back. Thank your back for giving you stability.
- Now move your attention up your throat to your mouth. Give thanks that you can speak through your throat and your mouth, that you can eat, that you can express yourself. Now feel your nose. Thank her for allowing you to perceive smells. Now move your attention to your ears and thank them for making it possible for you to hear. Now focus your attention on your eyes – your eyelids, your eyebrows. Thank you for being able to see. Then move on to the crown of your head and consciously notice your scalp.
- Now feel your entire body again, the strength of your body. How your entire body works together to make it possible for you to do everything you can. Your breath flows freely in and out of your body.
- Now take another deep breath. When you're ready, open your eyes and come back to the here and now.
If you enjoyed the meditation, you can of course repeat it as often as you like. I would recommend that you do the body scan every night before you go to sleep for a week. You will soon notice how you calm down more quickly and fall asleep better.
My next mindfulness blog post will be about chakras. You'll find out what they are and what they're good for next week!