A body scan meditation is a mindfulness practice that brings awareness to the body in the present moment. It focuses on the physical sensations we feel in every part of our body. It can be done in a short amount of time if needed to reduce intense emotions. Or it can be practiced for a lengthier amount of time (30-40 minutes) to delve deeper into mindfulness practice and create more peace and awareness overall.
It’s also a fantastic practice to do right before bed if you have any trouble falling asleep. I’ve never made it through an entire lengthier body scan due to passing out at some point. No matter what time of day or how much sleep I had the night before.
So without further adieu, here’s a script you can use to guide your practice. You can memorize it and practice it without guidance or record yourself reading it if that makes it easier. Also, this is just one way to practice a body scan so if it doesn’t work for you, take a look to see what else is out there. There are plenty of Youtube videos or find your closest meditation center.
Lie comfortably on your back with your legs spread out in front of you and your arms to the side, palms up. You can also sit if you want to or fall asleep easily. Close your eyes if that feels comfortable to you.
To begin with, take a few, deep breaths. Then, return to your normal breath, noticing it just as it is without trying to change it in any way.
Now, simply notice what it feels like to be connected to the ground (Or the chair if you’re sitting on something.).
When you’re ready, move your awareness to the toes on your right foot. Breathe into your toes and notice any physical sensations in them. Are they tingling? Are they warm or cold? Is there any tightness or pain? What do they feel like? If you can’t feel any sensation, that’s okay. Simply notice that as well.
Now, shift your attention to the entirety of your right foot, it’s sole, it’s ball, and it’s heel. Breathe into your foot and notice any physical sensations. Notice how your foot feels against the ground.
Continue this awareness on up your right leg, breathing into it and noticing any physical sensations in your calf, shin, knee, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Don’t try to change anything. Simply notice what is. If you do shift your body, don’t judge it, but rather, simply notice that experience too.
Now, move your awareness to the toes in your left foot. Breathe into them and notice any physical sensations. Gently shift your awareness up the left leg as you did on your right side, breathing into it and noticing any physical sensations that are present.
Now, become aware of your pelvis, hips, and buttocks. Breathe into them and notice any physical sensations. If your attention wanders, don’t judge it, but gently bring it back to your body.
Move up to the lower torso, the lower abdomen and lower back. Breathe into it, noticing any physical sensations. Notice the movement in your lower abdomen as you breathe in and out.
Bring your attention to your chest and upper back. Feel your rib cage rising and falling as you breathe in and out. Notice your heart beating. Physical sensations alert us to emotions so if you notice any emotions, allow yourself the space to experience them just as they are without trying to cling to or push them away.
Now, shift your attention to the fingers on your right hand. Breathe into them and notice any physical sensations. Then, shift your awareness from your fingers to your hand, forearm, elbow, biceps, triceps, and shoulder, breathing into each body part and noticing the physical sensations.
Do the same with the left side of your arm, breathing into it and noticing the physical sensations in your fingers, hand, forearm, elbow, biceps, triceps, and shoulder on the left side.
Now, shift your focus to your neck. Breathe into it and notice the physical sensations. Then move your attention to your jaw, then your lips, inside your mouth, your cheeks, nose, eyelids and eyes, your temples, forehead, the back of your head, and finally the top of your head. Breathe into each body part, noticing any physical sensations that are present.
Now, breathe into your entire body, noticing how your body feels as a whole. Feel yourself as complete, just as you are. Sit with this wholeness and connection to the earth for a few moments, resting in this stillness. When you’re ready open your eyes and bring your attention back to the rest of the world.