Mindfulness: Re-engaging with Your Body

Mental Health Awareness week is in May, so this post is about using mindfulness to move out of your head space and become more aware of your body. The best way to do that is a body scan.

A body scan can be performed standing, seated or lying down, but I would recommend lying down as that is most restful. This version can be particularly helpful for releasing tension (which you may or may not be aware of) from the body, which can help calm the mind and the breath, as body, mind and breath are all connected and influence each other.

Scan slowly through your body, top to toe, saying the following (or similar) silently to yourself:

  • Scalp relaxed

  • Forehead smooth

  • Eyes heavy in their sockets

  • Third eye (the space between the eyebrows) open

  • Cheeks softening over the cheek bones

  • Throat soft

  • Neck relaxed

  • Shoulders heavy on the support of [what you are lying on]

  • Arms heavy and relaxed

  • Hands and fingers relaxed

  • Chest and abdomen relaxed so that the breath can move freely

  • Back of the body sinking heavily into the support of [what you are lying on]

  • Pelvis relaxed, let go

  • Legs heavy and relaxed

  • Feet and toes relaxed

  • Whole body relaxed

  • Soften

  • Melt

  • Let go…

If you drift off to sleep, don’t worry, just acknowledge it and accept that you probably needed the sleep. At least you had focussed in and relaxed enough to get to that point.

As well as being an excellent daily meditation practice, the body scan is a lovely way to revive yourself if you are feeling jaded in the day. Even 5 or 10 minutes can be beneficial, but aim for 20 minutes or more if you can. Set a timer for however long you intend to meditate so that you are not distracted by thoughts about the time. The body scan can also be used to help you to settle if you are struggling to sleep at night. I hope that you can give it a try and enjoy it!