What is body scan meditation?

The body scan is a meditative practice.  One tries to mindfully scan the body for any sensation of stress or tension. The body scan is known to be a great way to start a mindfulness meditation practice. The objective is to tune into your body and to reconnect with your physical self. You try to notice any sensations you may feel without applying any judgment. While lots of folks find the body scan relaxing, comfort isn't the principal aim. You learn to train your mind to be open and conscious of sensory stimuli and, in the end, to enjoy them more. With time and practice, the body scan will construct your capacity to concentrate and be fully present in your life.

Creating greater awareness of physical sensations can help you feel more connected to your physical self and gain greater insight into possible causes of undesirable feelings. This knowledge can make it much easier to address what is wrong, resulting in enhanced body and mind health.

See: Panchakosha Meditation or Five Sheaths Meditation

Body scan meditation health benefits

Experts have researched extensively and found evidence to suggest meditation may promote physical and psychological wellness in several ways. Examples include the following benefits:

- enhanced sleep

- reduced pain

- anxiety and anxiety relief

- greater self-awareness

- increased self-compassion

- reduced cravings

Here is a look at a number of the most heavily researched advantages.

- Sleep: Why is meditation so effective for sleep issues? Lots of individuals have difficulty getting restful sleep whenever they feel stressed or worried. Since meditation might help you unwind, let go of troubling thoughts, and feel calmer in general, the regular meditative practice can often alleviate the distress that keeps you awake. Research suggests mindfulness meditation can help lessen some kinds of sleep issues and enhance sleep quality. A standard body scan procedure before bedtime will help ease insomnia, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

- Pain management: Those who experience intense pain have trouble worrying about anything else. 

This is the everyday experience of many individuals dealing with chronic pain. Understandably, this kind of pain can have a serious adverse impact on your life. Even though meditation might not stop the pain by itself, increased awareness of your body and emotional state can help change how you think about that pain. Acceptance of pain may result in an improved outlook and a better quality of life. How you view pain can impact how you manage your health.

- Stress and anxiety: Research supports meditation as a potentially beneficial way to alleviate anxiety and stress.

Research indicates that mindfulness meditation has the potential to reduce overall anxiety symptoms. The researchers also noted that mindfulness-based stress reduction clinics might positively influence the ability to handle stress.

See: Ayurveda herbs & treatment for sleep

Getting started with body scan meditation

Start the body scan: Think of a body scan as the security scan at the airport as you mentally scan your own self. The first step is to make yourself comfortable.  Lie down or sit in your favorite spot that conveniently helps you to stretch your limbs. Try to focus by closing your eyes and listening to your own breathing. See the feeling of your breath filling and leaving your lungs as you inhale and exhale. Choose where to begin. Begin anywhere you like like the airport scanner. Concentrate on that place as you keep on breathing deeply and slowly.

Open your mind to feelings of fear, anxiety, tightness, pain, or something that does not feel right. Take your time by examining these senses everywhere. Learn to acknowledge and accept these sensations. If you notice pain and distress, acknowledge and sit with any emotions these senses bring up. Accept them without applying any criticism. By way of instance, if you are feeling frustrated and angry, do not judge yourself for these feelings. Notice them and allow them to pass as you simply just breathe.  Continue to breathe, imagining that with each breath, the pain and anxiety decrease. 

- Release: Slowly release your psychological awareness on that particular part of your body and divert it to your next area of focus. Some folks find it useful to imagine releasing one body part as they breathe out and continuing to another as they breathe. Continue the exercise by gradually moving in a way that feels right to you, whether you move from top to bottom or up to one side and down another.

- Distractions: Many distracting ideas may emerge as you continue to scan across your body, note as soon as your thoughts start to drift. This will occur probably more than once, but getting your thoughts back on track is simple. Just return your consciousness gently to where you left off scanning. Picture and breathe. As soon as you finish scanning portions of your body, let your consciousness travel across your body. Picture this as liquid filling a mold. Keep on inhaling and exhaling slowly as you sit with this awareness of your entire body for many seconds. Slowly release your attention and bring your focus back to your environment.

- Routine: You will notice some improvement instantly. Then again, the body scan may not appear to have any effect in any way. It might also awaken your awareness about distress, which makes it seem worse. This may put you off meditation entirely, but try to commit to a couple more efforts to see if things improve. Many do not enjoy meditation or detect any advantages the first few times they try it. But experts suggest it is still worth regularly working, even when you do not love it.

Ongoing meditation can result in positive brain changes, such as improved cognitive functions and mental health.

You can think of meditation as a daily workout for your brain. When you finish exercising, you may even feel quite good, and keeping up a workout regimen usually makes it easier over time.

- Don't give up: Just as many people start the new year with resolutions for weight loss, but give up within a few weeks, it may be tempting to stop the meditation. If a body scan or any sort of meditation does not appear to be effective when you do it initially, remember that it can take some time. Getting used to meditation may take a while and that is completely normal.

See: Pranayama breathing exercises & health benefits

Helpful tips

Follow some simple guidelines for realizing the benefits of this invaluable lesson proven over centuries of ancient wisdom.

- Routine: Many folks find it is most helpful to meditate at the same time daily and in precisely the same location. This might help you form the habit.

- Distractions: You'll likely get distracted, and that is just fine. Rather than giving yourself a hard time, simply encourage yourself to keep striving.

- Be comfortable: Remember, you can meditate at a place you are most comfortable with. Practice compassion and acceptance with a loving-kindness meditation. Try your favorite relaxing pose and location. Avoid going into meditation with self-imposed hard targets.

You are probably practicing meditation for a reason. You may want to decrease anxiety, stress, or relax before your sleep.

- Not a competitive sport: But if you enter it with specific objectives, you may feel so focused on trying to attain them that you have difficulty focusing on the body's sensations. If you begin to feel like meditation is not working, you could end up more stressed than when you started.

Forget perfection. There is no single right approach when it comes to meditation. In the long run, the best sort of meditation is what works for you.

See: Relaxing Yoga Poses to help you sleep

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