The Body Scan meditation is another great way to practice “taking the needle off the autopilot mind.”
Contrary to popular belief, this meditation is not (just) about scanning for ailments/sensations in our body. Like the Mindfulness of Breath meditation, it’s about shifting from Doing/Thinking mode to Being mode. In the same way we used our breath to help us anchor the present moment, the Body Scan uses the body as a roadmap to constantly guide our mind back to the now.
Neuroscience tells us that helpful new neural pathways in our brain are formed every time we notice our attention drifts away and then gently (and non-judgementally!) bring it back to the body part (or breath) we are exploring.
Research suggests that this mindfulness practice has many mental and physical benefits, including reducing stress, increasing focus, decreasing aches and pains (by changing our relationship with them), and improving sleep.
Just like my recording of “Mindfulness of Breath” meditation, the Body Scan meditation has no background music. The purpose of this practice is not to “escape” to some imaginary world, but to learn how to bring your awareness back to the present moment, and your body is the vehicle. Continued practice will help to slow down the incessant stream of thoughts and create some breathing space between you and those thoughts.
Another helpful meditation on your Mindfulness journey.
Please, DO NOT listen to any of this recording whilst driving or operating machinery, or when you need full attention on something else. If you feel uncomfortable with closing your eyes for the body scan, you can lower your gaze or alternatively pick a spot on the wall, on which to maintain your focused attention. If you feel uncomfortable in any way during the body scan it is advisable to stop the practice and consider trying again another time.
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