Busy times of year can send us off into our heads, stressed out by our laundry lists of things to do and places to be. Putting the brakes on a racing mind can be as basic as tuning into our bodies in a simple yet powerful way.
Yogis have long realized that being stress free is a function of being fully in the present moment. The definition of stress many Yogis use and I refer to time and again is that stress is resistance to what is. The skill of releasing resistance and re-activity of the mind that can keep us from getting lost in our thoughts, emotions and all that would take us out of the moment is at the root of Yoga and Meditation practice.
The Body Scan is just what is sounds like, a practice of awakening and being fully present by paying bare attention to that which exist in the here and now within your physical body. It is a simple and elegant way to derive the benefits of using a clear awareness to simply attend to the the experience of our bodies without the filter of our thoughts and emotions. It can be done in most places and unobtrusively to give us a time out of our mind and get us back to our immediate sense experience. This can have surprising benefits!
***As always, when practicing any Yoga or meditation techniques you accept responsibility for all you do and work in accordance with your medical and other needs and limitations. It is not a substitute for any medical or psychiatric treatment!
Read this disclaimer for more information. I encourage you to seek out instruction and guidance from a teacher as you need to answer any questions and to help ensure sure the most positive outcome of this and any practice.
To practice a Body Scan:
Lie comfortably on a soft but firm surface, feet apart, arms at your side. (You may also do this sitting comfortably, spine erect and body relaxed).
Begin the meditation with a few slow easy breaths to relax yourself. Focus simple on the feelings of breathing.
After a minute or two focus your attention on a particular muscle area or body component with each INHALE. On each EXHALE, stay with your attention on sensations that are felt there.
Stay with each area for several breaths and allow, no force, the patterns of feeling to change over time as awareness deepens.
For a systematic and complete scan you can start with your head, neck, shoulders, arms.. Then scan your chest and stomach, back, legs and feet in the same manner.
If you are lying down now let yourself lie limp. Slowly open your eyes. You’ll see what it’s like to be completely aware yet completely relaxed and alert though the power of presence alone.
****Take you time to carefully move, stretch and re-ground yourself to come back to a normal waking state before moving on with your daily activities.