What is the benefit of a body scan meditation and what can I expect from practicing one? Is there any scientific evidence to back up the claims we hear about the value of one?
Perhaps you have experienced for yourself what a body scan meditation can do for you overall health and perhaps that was all the proof you needed. If so I will love to hear what you have to say, in the comment section below this article.
Let’s dive in this article to learn more about a body scan meditation.
The body scan meditation was popularized by Jon Kabat-Zinn who has invested 40 plus years in teaching mindfulness.
Simply put it is a way to observe with acceptance the sensations we experience in the body.
Whether its pain, or a feeling restriction, tension, anxiousness or maybe something else that we feel on the surface or deeper within.
A group of 47 young and healthy adults practiced a body scan meditation. It comprised the practice of following sensations from the feet up to the head.
The study found that doing a 20 minute body scan on a consistent basis can decrease cortisol levels which is the main biological stress indicator.
This study gives us the insight that the overall biological stress factors went down after consistently practicing a Body Scan.
There are many negative effects of too much cortisol running throughout the body.
Too much Cortisol can cause:
- Digestive Issues
- Racing Thoughts
- Advanced Aging
- Immune System Issues
- Adrenal Fatigue
- And Belly Fat to name a few…
Let’s investigate more benefits to a Body Scan.
- Expanded Consciousness
- Neutrality instead of judgement about the body and its surroundings
- Improved Sleep Patterns
- Less pain
- Overall anxiety reduction
- More authentic love for the self
- More Presence in your daily life
An expansion of consciousness and awareness can be achieved when we calm our minds chatter and listen to our deeper intuitive knowing. You may find the answers to ongoing issues you face in your life, by taking the time to ask your Spirit for direction.
The more tuned into our physical body we are we start to establish greater wisdom to why certain sensations may be there. This is why I like to say that you are your greatest healer.
Whether it is sleep issues, anxiety, pain or just wanting to authentically create more self love a body scan is worth experiencing.
The more we surrender to a body scan without judgement or trying to figure out why the body has that particular sensation or is that way the more the body wakes up to opening up to us.
We might get an insight days after a body scan or we will notice more awareness as we go through tasks through out our day.
Instead of being all in the head our body recognizes that we are interested to integrate our conscious awareness through out the whole body.
This simple practice can be subtle yet profound as we witness an integration of wholeness.
So can a mindfulness practice such as a Body Scan help us create a healthier mindset?
More and more conclusive evidence is showing it helps us to interpret situations with more reasoning than judgement or quick emotional reactive loops.
It can help us feel our emotions and experience the negative allowing the emotion to move through us instead of becoming stuck. With more mindfulness we then have the ability to see the seed of potential benefit from the situation.
It is like the wise aspect of ourselves is enhanced the more we practice mindfulness and whole body integration.
I think a very key piece to the body scan is that over a lifetime we have at some point probably disliked or shunned apart of our body. Maybe we feel betrayal from a body part or sadness about apart of our body.
This energy can be felt by the body and then it might create more dis-ease in that area. Over time it becomes stuck and on auto-pilot as the default setting.
But what if we started a new practice where we observed with loving detachment and opened up to a compassionate body scan?
When we do a body scan as the observer with a neutral and loving heart we can restore the energy between each body part. Radical Self Acceptance can do wonders for our body, mind and soul. Are you ready to give it a go?
How do I preform a Body Scan?
With a little guidance a body scan can be a helpful way to start or end your day. Perhaps even at a lunch break you can use it to settle back into wholeness.
- Start by getting comfortable. Either laying down (which I prefer for this type of meditation) or seated comfortably.
- Allow yourself to relax but still remain aware of the practice.
- Let your breath drift in and out naturally.
- Close down your eyelids and settle in.
- Start at your left foot. Feel and become aware of your left foot…the toes the top of the foot and the bottom of the foot noticing any sensations present. You can simply accept your foot as it is from a neutral observation. Breathe into the left foot.
- Then experience your ankle/calf and each body part as you witness sensations, breathe into each area slowly acknowledging with acceptance.
- Drift to each area of your body recognizing both the surface and deep inside.
- If your mind starts to lose focus, gently bring it back to the area of focus.
- Once you get to your head begin to become aware of your whole body integrated and breath in and out of the entire body.
- Slowly move your hands and feet and open your eyes to the area around you.
- Be aware of the differences you find in your waking life by keeping a steady Body Scan practice.
Would you like to try a Guided Body Scan practice?
Or perhaps you have already done a few? Let us know in the comments below what your experience has been.
Stay tuned as I will link my own guided body scan meditation here in the coming weeks.