Body Scan Meditation Benefits – A Complete How-to Guide

We often go through life rushing from one moment to the next, and while we all know the benefits of meditation or mindfulness, we can easily get overwhelmed with all the varieties.

Person meditating mindfully.
Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado

Since we are so focused on our external environment, we forget to take care of our internal one and our body itself.

A body scan meditation can help you become more self-aware in an easy way involving mindfulness and can reduce pain, tension, and many negative emotions.

Check out the top reasons to try a body scan meditation today, as well as a complete how-to guide!

What is a Body Scan Meditation

A body scan is a type of meditation that can help you stay in the present moment and pay more attention to things that are important to you.

Body scan meditations involve focusing on the feeling and sensations in the body, releasing tension or tightness, and targeting how you feel during the experience.

Body scan meditations and mindfulness meditations have many similarities, as they deal with sensations in the present moment.

Usually, a body scan will, as the name implies, scan the body, noting how you feel throughout the process.

Benefits of a Body Scan Meditation

Research has found that individuals who practice body scan meditations tend to be more present in the moment, exhibit higher self-awareness, can cope with negative emotions more, feel more relaxed, less anxious, and less critical of themselves or others.

Positive emotions increase, such as compassion, and individuals who practice body scan meditations are able to focus more.

This meditation is also great for individuals to prepare for bed, as it leads to a better quality of sleep. This meditation tends to reduce stress, a big contributor to insomnia.

Some research has shown that a body scan meditation can even help to reduce cravings in individuals who are trying to quit smoking.

Other studies found that mindfulness and body scan meditations reduce the symptoms associated with chronic pain.

How to do a Body Scan Meditation

The basic premise of this meditation is to become aware of whatever is happening in the body, the sensations you feel, from feet to top of head to your toes. 

One by one, go through each part of your body.

This can help you gain self-knowledge, without criticizing or judging your state. The length of the meditation can vary, though an average of 30 minutes is recommended. 

Don’t worry if you have less time though, even a 5 to 10 minute meditation has benefits!

Here is a simple guide you can follow for a body scan meditation:

Person sitting cross legged, meditating
Photo by Elina Fairytale

1. Lay Down or Sit 

Find a comfortable position to conduct a full-body meditation in. Make sure you are in a space without noise or other distractions. Close your eyes if it feels comfortable, or relax them into a half-close.

2. Start Raising Awareness

Bring attention to your breathing, taking note of how your chest rises and falls with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice how the breath feels moving in and out of your nose, feel any tension and try to relax it.

3. Start Your Scan

Being to scan your body from the top of your head downward. Take note of every part of you, from your forehead to your eyes, your nose, your lips, cheeks, etc. Move down through your neck, to your shoulders, arms hands, then lower still to your chest, stomach, pelvis. Continue your scan through the thighs, knees, calves, and feet.

4. Make the Scan More Thorough

If you choose, make the scan more thorough by taking note of smaller parts of your body, your elbows, your fingers, your toes. Take note of the areas you want to focus on, your shoulder blades, your lower back, the back of your knees, etc.

5. Notice How You Feel

Take note of what you feel as you scan your body, of any sensation, heat, lightness, heaviness. Check where you hold tension, where you feel the energy, where there is pressure. Be curious. Explore those feelings, linger on them.

6. Don’t Worry if Your Mind Wanders

Just like any other activity, meditation takes practice. A body scan meditation is great for grounding yourself in the present moment. If your mind wanders, calmly and without judgment, bring it back to the present moment and the sensation of your body and your breathing.

How to Make Meditation a Habit

Meditation can seem daunting at first, but anyone with any amount of free time can begin practicing today.

As stated before, a simple and short practice can be a great building block for a long-term practice.

Some things you can do to make mediation a habit include:

  • Set aside a designated time – when you have a consistent time for meditation, you are more likely to repeat it in the future.
  • Make space for meditation – have an area of your home where you feel comfortable meditation. Make sure it is quiet and free from distractions
  • Try not to meditate in bed – since we are creatures of habit, we associate bed with sleep! Meditations in bed tend to lead to sleep.
  • Start short – begin with a short 5 to 10 minute practice, then increase the time when you feel comfortable.
  • Keep at it – though you may not feel improvements the first few times you do it, try to keep meditating to experience those long-term benefits. Science can distinguish the brain of a long-term meditator from a novice from certain indicators.

The Takeaway

Mediation, particularly those set in mindfulness, can have great effects on the body, improving overall wellbeing drastically!

Make sure you give it time to feel those benefits and start with what you feel comfortable.

Making habits to improve your life can be as simple as taking care of your mental wellbeing with a little bit of mindfulness, taking a walk outside, or drinking a healthy smoothie.

Wellbeing is a journey, not just a destination, and enjoying the steps you take can make the process much more enjoyable.

Spread the love

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *