Beginners, Listen Up!
Yoga is the practice, which aligns the mind, body and spirit through proper posture, breathing and awareness.(1) Unfortunately, for those starting from a state where they are pretty out of touch with their physical body, getting anywhere near to this state of oneness may seem much tougher than it probably should be. The ideal way through which they can become more aware of their body is by doing a body scan meditation. The ultimate goal of this kind of meditation is to focus on one part of the body at a time, and tune in to how it feels without changing it. By doing a body scan meditation, one can identify any physical pain or sensations they may be feeling and any connection between those physical feelings and their emotions. Body scan meditation can serve as a valuable regular practice that can help the practitioner discover ways of managing any anxiety, stress, tension or other physical pains in their body.(2,3) Read on to know more on how to do body scan meditation & what are its benefits.
How To Do Body Scan Meditation?
Like all types of meditation, doing a body scan meditation is simple too. To perform a body scan meditation, one needs to lie down or sit comfortably in a place, where they would not be interrupted, and focus their awareness on their breathing. They need to start by taking 3 deep breaths while mindfully tuning into their thoughts and emotions, and observing them as they flow freely. They must choose to start their body scan either at the top of their head or the tip of their toes, and work down or up from there.(4) As the awareness is placed on a specific body part, the practitioner needs to tune into what they feel there.(4) They may feel aching, pain, itchiness, firmness, tingling, lightness, warmth, coldness, heaviness or possibly even nothing. Once they become aware of what they physically feel in that area, they need to expand their awareness to see if it also triggers their emotional state.(4) Next, the practitioner should bring back their awareness on their breath and feel it reach down through their entire body while inhaling, and then exhale as they let go of any tension in the body part they just focused on. The practitioner should not try controlling anything, and just let those emotional and physical feelings be as they are. The practitioner of body scan meditation should move up or down to the next body part while repeating the same steps on each part. As little as 5 minutes or as long as 45 minutes should be taken to go through each part of the body. When finished, a minute or so should be taken to just be aware and feel the entire body as relaxed and loved, even if still feeling any discomfort in some areas. This is the ideal meditation practice when just waking up in the morning or lying down at night to go to sleep. A morning body scan meditation helps one feel more present and attuned with their body throughout the day, while a night time body scan meditation can help relax more effectively, so that one can drift off to sleep easily and sleep deeply.
What Are The Benefits Of Body Scan Meditation?
A person can reap numerous benefits by practicing body scan meditation, everyday.(6) Sitting and consciously scanning the body is an excellent way of connecting to the body’s wisdom. Body scan meditation helps the practitioner in understanding where they are holding their stress and anxiety and how their body responds to them. Further, body scan meditation not only helps in calming their busy mind, but also relaxing them. When one takes the time to tune into their body, they get a chance to understand the moment-to-moment sensations occurring in the body. They notice that what they sense is different every time. These sensations felt in body also vary in intensity. The individual starts to experience how their body responds to various situations in their life, and this is powerful, as it supports them in how they want to be in their life. Once a person starts understanding their body’s intelligence and its signs, they can better learn how to work with their body’s messages and respond accordingly.
Why is it Important to Practice Body Scan Meditation?
A person’s body constantly tells them how it is feeling, like hurting or paining. But most of these signs are ignored by many people, as they always allow their head to rule and drive them. Unfortunately, this has become a badge of honour in today’s time. Being busy fetches one applause and self-importance. So, other people’s opinion is given more importance than the wisdom of one’s own body. But, the more one practices body scan meditation, the more they tend to release those sensations from their body.
In body scan meditation, people start listening to their body and taking positive action, rather than ignoring its signals. They begin moving more easily and get less affected by emotions. As they change the relationship with their body due to body scan meditation, people connect better with its inner wisdom. This gives them the power to choose and make positive changes that support their body. The emotional benefit one derives from practicing body scan meditation is that they start feeling stronger, healthier and more empowered, confident, enthusiastic and in control of their life. There is more love, happiness, joy, and vitality in all that they do. Their positive attitude further affects those around them as they notice the vitality and positivity radiating from the individual who is doing body scan meditation. However, it should be remembered that it takes commitment and practice to experience and feel the full benefits of body scan meditation.
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