What is Body Scan Meditation?

Many times, we are so caught up in stress that we don’t realize that the physical pain or any discomfort we are experiencing- such as back and shoulder pain, tense muscles, and headaches- is connected to our emotional state. Meditating on the body by scanning each part is the best way to release the physical tension you might not even realize you’re experiencing. It includes paying attention to parts of the body and bodily sensations moving gradually from head to feet. 

In Body Scan Meditation, mental scanning is done, by bringing awareness to every single part of the body, noticing any sensation, discomfort, aches, pains, and tension. The goal of this meditation is not to relieve the pain completely, but to get to know and learn from it is originated so that you can better manage it.   

Body Scanning Meditation - One of the Meditation Technique that helps our body by scanning each part is the best way to release physical and mental peace. It helps you shift the direction of your attention inward.  It is beneficial to notice the sensations in the body as it helps to bring your attention to the present moment even when you don’t like what you are experiencing, such as pain and discomfort. 

What’s the right time to do Body Scan Meditation?

You must be alert throughout the body scan process, that’s why to choose a time when you are not tired; In case you feel drowsiness then you should avoid practicing before you go to bed at night. A good time is early in the morning, after your asana and pranayama practice. Body Scan session after hatha yoga will bring your body to its optimal condition of balance, alertness, and relaxation and will prepare you to take full benefit of this powerful meditation. Lots of people prefer to practice just prior to lunch or in the late afternoon. Experiment and discover what works best for you.

What are the benefits of Body Scan Meditation?

Body Scan Meditation shows miraculous results when performed on regular basis. Practicing this meditation is associated with many mental and physical health benefits. Many research and studies show that stress reduction is one of the main benefits of this meditation, which in turn can have physical benefits including reduced inflammation, fatigue, and insomnia. This simple and powerful meditation works to break the cycle of physical and psychological tension. This form of meditation is a useful and effective meditation that can help you return to and maintain a relaxed state when you become too stressed.

  • Improved sleep

    Expert suggests body scan meditation may help to improve the quality of sleep. This practice is beneficial for people having any type of sleeping disorder due to worry or stress. Body Scan can help you relax, let go of distracting thoughts, and feel inner peace.

  • Anxiety and stress relief

    Research supports Body Scan Meditation has the potential to relieve anxiety and stress symptoms. Use this meditation to cultivate gratitude, positivity, and peace. By practicing body Scan you can tune in to your body to reconnect to your physical self which relaxes your body and releases stress.

  • Greater self-awareness

    Meditation offers greater self-awareness, the ability to see yourself clearly and objectively through reflection and introspection. It is the process of going within and connecting with your true self. With Body Scan meditation you can grow your ability to be self-aware and mindful.

  • Increased self-compassion

    Self-compassion is the ability to understand, accept, and love yourself. By practicing Body Scan Meditation, you become self-compassionate which makes you kinder and more compassionate to yourself. Self-compassionate people tend to have a better relationship with others too.

  • Reduced pain

    Body Scan meditation increases the awareness of your body and emotional state which gradually increases your tolerance to the pain. Even studies suggest this meditation can help reduce effects associated with chronic pain, such as depression or decreased quality of life.

  • Improved Focus

    A quick body scan practice is a great way to reset your mind after a hectic day. Let the thoughts come and go, and relax your mind as you focus on your body, you may find that this will gain more energy and improve attention, awareness, and decision-making.

  • Reduced cravings

    This type of meditation may help prevent or interrupt cravings for food, drugs, and smoking, by occupying short-term memory. Body Scan practice has been shown to be effective in treating addictions of all kinds.

  • Improves Immunity to Diseases

    Reciting of Gayatri mantra for certain period improves the immunity of the body. It ensures that a person is protected from common diseases and infliction of infections. The powerful vibration from this mantra stimulates hypothalamus gland, which helps in boosting the body's immune system.

How to do a Body Scan Meditation?

  • Make yourself comfortable: It is preferable to lie down, particularly if you're doing meditation before going to sleep. 

  • Take a few deep breaths: Let your breathing slow down, and start breathing from your belly instead of from your chest, letting your abdomen expand and contract with each breath. Focus more on breathing from the belly with your shoulders rising and falling with each breath. For more practice, try these breathing exercises. 

  • Bring awareness to your head : Now slowly bring your attention down to your forehead. Begin observing sensations in your head. If you notice sensation, acknowledge it and any thoughts or emotions that accompany it, and gently breathe through it.

  • Breathe into the tension : If you notice any discomfort, focus your attention on it. Breathe into it, and see what happens. Be curious and open to what you are noticing. 

    Visualize the stress, pain or sensations leaving your body through your breath and evaporating into the air. Move on when you feel ready but don’t try to force discomfort away. 

  • Scan your entire body : Continue scanning with each area of your body, gradually moving down through your head until you reach the bottom of your feet. Notice the way you feel and where you're holding your stress. In case you feel any pressure, tightness, pain, or vibration, continue to breathe into any tightness, pain, or vibration you're feeling. It can help you release stress in your body now, and be more conscious of it in the future so you release it then, too. 

  • Breathe : When your mind wanders and you get lost in thoughts, bring your attention back to exploring sensations in the body and breathe until you are done with the practice.

Few tips to practice Body Scan Meditation

  • You can practice Body Scan Meditation while lying down, sitting, or any other posture.
  • Choose comfortable posture and location away from distraction. 
  • Pillow or folded blanket can be placed under your knees and hips to help you take. 
  • Try to sit or lie down in dim light rather than bright.
  • You can practice with music or even in silence. 
  • With visualization, you can take your practice to another level.