How to Feel Thyself: Body Scan Guide

Learning Meditation should start with the body scan. The process is simple. You mentally go through each section of your body and note what you are feeling.  Then you relax that section to the state you prefer. For example, if your shoulders are tense, relax them. Note how it feels to be relaxed and move to the next section.

An important note, meditation is not generally to be used in a moment of crisis, it is rather the workout you do at the gym to strengthen your muscles so you can lift heavier objects later. Or the run on the treadmill that helps you move faster later. You're practicing a skill.  If you find yourself getting frustrated, remember that it takes time to build a mind the same way it takes time to build a body. 

We start with a deep breath in a quiet place. I like to start from the top of my head and move down. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, relax any tightness you feel and note any other sensations.

  1. Head
  2. Face
  3. Neck
  4. Shoulders 
  5. Chest
  6. Arms
  7. Abdomen
  8. Back
  9. Hips and pelvis
  10. Thighs
  11. Legs
  12. Feet

And you're done! You've completed your first body scan. This is the base skill to meditation. As you become more familiar with the body scan practice, you can gradually group sections together to streamline the process. Then you'll be able to perform this quickly anywhere!

Here's a suggested grouping:

  1. Head, Face, and Neck
  2. Shoulders, Chest, and Arms
  3. Abdomen, Back, Hips, and Pelvis
  4. Thighs, Legs, and Feet

Much like driving a car, you first learn the individual steps and become more fluid with practice.  The goal of the body scan is to familiarize yourself with this process so you can practice lowering your resistance to physical sensations of the emotions you feel throughout the day. You practice placing attention on your body without reacting to the sensations you feel.

You can then review the source of the emotion with a clear head and even progress to more difficult skills. After you've mastered the scan, we move on to affirmations. 

Affirmations help you to redirect to an ideal thought after you've had a chance to clear your mind. 

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