HomeYogaPhysique Scan: Mindfulness of the Physique

Physique Scan: Mindfulness of the Physique

This entry was posted on Mar 7, 2024 by Charlotte Bell.

Some time again, I wrote a publish on mindfulness of the physique, centering the observe on breath consciousness. Within the Theravada custom, breath consciousness is the place to begin, the inspiration of starting to stabilize the thoughts. Breath consciousness provides us a steady course of on which to relaxation the thoughts. In fact, that doesn’t imply that the thoughts gained’t get lost into its personal worries, recollections and reveries whilst we intend to stabilize our minds on the respiratory course of. Nevertheless it’s within the strategy of frequently recognizing that the thoughts has wandered off, and redirecting it again to the breath, that we start to domesticate a brand new behavior of thoughts. In immediately’s publish, I’d like to ask you to play with increasing consciousness into the remainder of the physique, using a physique scan.

How Does a Physique Scan Work?

Physique scans are foundational in Mindfulness-Based mostly Stress Discount (MBSR) and Goenka-style Vipassana meditation. Shifting consciousness systematically by way of the physique is integral to Yoga Nidra observe. I’m positive there are different methodologies that use a type of physique scanning as a solution to stabilize consciousness as properly. Training a physique scan may also help us join with the physique internally, and as a complete.

In physique scan observe, we systematically transfer consciousness by way of the physique. This may embody deliberately enjoyable areas as we acknowledge them. It may be merely visiting these areas with out a specific agenda.

In some types of the observe, we begin with the toes and transfer up the physique. In others, we begin with the pinnacle and work our approach right down to the toes. It’s merely a matter of choice. Within the observe I’ll introduce beneath, I begin with the pinnacle. That’s as a result of, no less than for me, visiting the anatomy of the pinnacle appears to have a softening impact on all the things beneath.

Breath Consciousness vs. Open Consciousness

Since breath consciousness is normally the place mindfulness observe begins, we could are likely to suppose that it’s an “elementary” observe, and that open consciousness of the physique as a complete is extra “superior.” Joseph Goldstein addressed this at an Perception Meditation retreat I attended a number of years in the past. When requested which type of physique mindfulness observe was preferable—breath consciousness or open consciousness—he paused for a second, after which mentioned “no matter works.”

Which observe you select on a given day is determined by the state of your physique/thoughts. In case your thoughts appears scattered and unfocused—aka “monkey thoughts”—breath consciousness may also help you stabilize it. When you’re training breath consciousness and discover that your physique and thoughts are feeling tense and caught, you may need to invite the remainder of your physique into consciousness. The observe that’s finest for you on a given day would be the one which lets you be most conscious.

There’s Greater than One Strategy to Apply a Physique Scan

Earlier than I recommend the observe beneath, I need to reiterate that this isn’t the one solution to observe a physique scan. That is merely what I’ve used that has appeared to work with my mindfulness college students. The observe beneath makes an attempt to tune us into a few of our inside anatomy, in addition to basic classes reminiscent of arms, legs, torso, and so on.

You may need to file a voice memo in your telephone so that you just don’t have to take a look at the textual content. Or, in case you’re like me, and listening to your individual recorded voice is distracting, you possibly can have a pal file the physique scan as a substitute.

Head-to-Toe Physique Scan

You’ll be able to observe this physique scan sitting on a Meditation Cushion, mendacity down or in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). When you’re feeling drained, sitting or standing could make it easier to keep extra alert. When you’re feeling tense or careworn, mendacity down may work finest.

Right here’s the best way to observe. Keep in mind that you may deliberately loosen up these areas, or just concentrate on the sensations you’re feeling as you contact into them:

  • Pay attention to your facial muscle mass and scalp.
  • Your cranium
  • Your mind contained in the cranium
  • Eyes
  • Cheeks
  • Inside ears
  • Outer ears
  • Jaw
  • Higher palate
  • Higher row of tooth
  • Inside cheeks
  • Decrease row of tooth
  • Throat
  • Tops of the shoulders
  • Higher arms
  • Forearms
  • Arms
  • Fingers
  • Ribcage
  • Muscle groups between and across the ribs
  • Contents of the ribcage: coronary heart and lungs
  • The diaphragm: Really feel the diaphragmatic motion because the muscle flattens downward on the inhalation, making room for the lungs to broaden, and urgent on the stomach organs, inflicting the stomach to broaden. Then as you exhale, really feel the diaphragm doming upward to assist push air out of your lungs, permitting the stomach organs to settle again into place. (You’ll be able to observe this consciousness for a number of breaths in case you like.)
  • Belly muscle mass
  • Low again
  • Pelvis
  • Belly organs
  • Perineum
  • Thighs
  • Knees
  • Ft
  • Toes

Be at liberty to reverse the method and make your approach again up, from the toes to the pinnacle, or proceed to the subsequent instruction.

Open Consciousness of the Physique

When you’ve completed your physique scan, you possibly can settle again and invite the whole physique into consciousness. Right here, you possibly can merely really feel all of the sensations arising—sensations of contact, temperature, stress, hardness, softness, pulsing, vibration—no matter is arising. If a selected sensation turns into predominant, you possibly can relaxation your consideration there, feeling its course of. Does it intensify after which wane? Does it come and go? If nothing specifically feels predominant, relaxation your consciousness in the entire physique, feeling the breath arising inside this bigger body.

As Joseph mentioned, there’s no hierarchy between breath consciousness and open consciousness. Use your individual meditation observe as a information to which observe works higher for you at a given second.

About Charlotte Bell

Charlotte Bell found yoga in 1982 and commenced instructing in 1986. Charlotte is the writer of Conscious Yoga, Conscious Life: A Information for On a regular basis Apply and Yoga for Meditators, each revealed by Rodmell Press. Her third e book is titled Hip-Wholesome Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Information to Defending the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Ache (Shambhala Publications). She writes a month-to-month column for CATALYST Journal and serves as editor for Yoga U On-line. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte performs oboe and English horn within the Salt Lake Symphony and people sextet Pink Rock Rondo, whose DVD gained two Emmy awards in 2010.

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