New to meditating? Body-scan meditation is a great place to begin. This meditation is performed lying down, so it’s ideal if you aren’t ready to meditate with your body upright for a long period of time.
Before you start, though, keep these pointers in mind:
- Location is key. Choose a quiet, warm and comfortable spot away from disturbances.
- If body-scan meditation is practiced too late in the evening, it may lull you to sleep.
- Your body temperature may drop during this meditation, so you may need to cover yourself with a blanket.
- Depending on the level of intensity, allow between 15 and 45 minutes to complete this practice.
Rest into the position.
Lie on your back with your legs slightly apart and your arms at your sides with palms facing upwards. If this position’s uncomfortable, raise your knees to release tension in your lower back, or simply choose a position that does feel good.
Become aware of your inner attitude.
Let go of any ideas you may have about self-improvement or personal development. Mindfulness is about simply allowing yourself to be as you are in a deep and authentic way. Accept whatever happens in the experience.
Concentrate on your breathing for a few minutes.
Focus your attention on one body section at a time
Shift your attention from your breathing down to your toes. Feel whatever sensation you can feel. If you can’t feel anything, be aware of the absence of sensation. Gradually move your attention up through your feet, lower legs, upper legs, pelvic area, lower torso, upper torso, shoulders, upper arms, lower arms and hands. Then move up to your neck, face, back of your head and, finally, the top of your head. This whole process can take 15 to 30 minutes. Each time your mind drifts, notice what it was focusing on and bring your attention back to your breathing. While being mindful, imagine your breath going into and out of each part of your body.
Imagine that your breath is sweeping up and down your body
As you breathe in, imagine that your in-breath starts at your toes and reaches the top of your head. As you breathe out, imagine that your out-breath sweeps from the top of your head down to your toes. This will likely feel healing or relaxing.
For the last few minutes of this meditation, try letting go of all effort to be mindful. Just be. Rest in your own inner sense of aliveness and presence.
Stand up slowly
Gently bring the meditation to a close. Hopefully, this has been a deep and nourishing experience, so avoid jumping up right away or you may feel dizzy. Get up gradually and mindfully, feeling the sensations in your body as you do so.