So I learned this technique along with breathing into parts of my body a few years ago, and have been practicing it with regularity. It doesn’t take long – maybe half an hour-and the best part! – You do it lying down so it is very relaxing and calming. It’s a sacred time, if you let it be so. A time to get connected to the breath and to just be peaceful, listening (in a sense) to our body’s messages and inner knowing. A time of rest and healing, the body scan gives you the space to allow your body to be exactly where it is, with its creakiness, pains and sensations. The focus is to be aware of your experience of your body, to go inward and observe. I find that we don’t often take the time to enjoy this awareness – we are either fighting with our bodies as they age, resisting what is, or beating it up to keep up with our busy schedules.
Set aside some time where you won’t be disturbed.
Lie down on a flat surface with your arms by your side. Allow your knees to relax and arms to be palm up.
Become aware of your body and the sensations of your breath. When you’re ready, focus your attention on your left leg and all the way down to your big toe of your left foot.Feel the sensations in that part of your body.
As you breathe in, imagine your breath is traveling from your nose to that body part- past your knee and ankle. When you breathe out, imagine the breath moving from that body part and back up and through your nose. Allow your body to soften as you do this. Gradually expand your awareness to the ball of your foot and heel, breathe into the entire foot. Continue this process for your shins, knees and thighs. Repeat this process for the right side.
Shift your awareness to your buttocks, hips and pelvis, as well as your inner organs. As you move up, bring your attention to your upper torso and back. Repeat with both arms and shoulders. Move to the neck, and notice what’s coming up for you in your jaw, your lips, your forehead. Envision energy moving from the bottom of your feet up to the top of your head and back down into the ground. Get an idea of your entire body as you picture your breath moving up and down your body. Send peace and love to every inch of your body.
Give your body a chance to speak to you. If you find it too overwhelming, remember to breathe into the process and allow the sensations to dissipate as they come up. The benefits are many: this is a great opportunity to connect with your body, to let go of the busy mind, to release emotions that are stored in the body and pay attention to emotions that come up. With time and practice, the resistance with subside and it will feel more natural.