Last week we cultivated mindfulness by paying attention to our breath. The simple practice of sitting quietly, paying attention to the sensations of the breath going in and out of the body, and the powerful practice of noticing when our mind has wandered and gently bringing our attention back to the breath with kindness.
Perhaps you had a few magic moments in your practice when you noticed your breath had wandered, and as Joseph Goldstein instructed in the guided meditation – you simply began again.
Perhaps these moments even followed you into your daily life when you weren’t meditating, but you caught yourself lost in a fog of thought, or ruminating on an emotion. With self kindness you simply reminded yourself to be here now. If that didn’t happen – no worries! That’s why this is called a practice. These things take time.
This week we will carry on with the practice of developing our attentional muscles and noticing. We will continue to do this with self kindness and an acceptance of whatever is coming up for us in the moment.
We will continue to do this but with a different type of meditation: the body scan meditation.
This is done by focusing our attention on specific areas of the body – usually starting at the feet and working our way up to the head bit by bit. I have always visualized this like a photocopier scanning its way up the body.
As we scan through different parts of the body, we will notice the sensations in that part of the body – without judging, without reacting – just noting and accepting what is already there. Perhaps you will sense tingling, warmth, coolness, numbness or no sensations at all. You will just notice.
The body scan meditation has helped me build a stronger sense of body awareness. Life is busy and it’s so easy to ignore the signals the body is giving. After some time of practicing this meditation I found myself becoming more aware of what is going on in my body, most notably where I hold tension when I’m stressed (jaw and shoulders). Now I notice those tension points more frequently, and these sensations are a little cue to notice what is going on in my mind.
In this way, the body scan can help us do a better job of listening to our bodies – where we hold tension, or how our body feels when we experience certain types of thoughts and emotions.
The body scan is often a longer meditation: I have guided meditations that are up to 50 minutes long, a body scan jam session of sorts.
But I promised you around 10 minutes, so our guided meditation options this week include a shorter 10-minute body scan, and a slightly longer 20-minute version. Try to make time for both if you can. You can also find longer versions on the Insight Timer app, if you are so inclined.
10 Minute Body Scan – Lama Yeshe Rabgye
20 Minute Body Scan – Elisha Goldstein
The body scan meditation is typically practiced lying down, however you can also complete the meditation seated in a chair, feet touching the floor with hands on the lap.
As with last week, do one of these meditations every day this week, for at least 6 days.
NOTE: You can’t play the full meditations using the links above, you’ll need to use the Insight Timer app to access the full recording. I’m just sharing the links above so you know what you’re searching for.
SECOND NOTE: There is one reference to Buddhism in the 10-minute body scan. Mindfulness Meditation is rooted in Buddhist teachings; however, the meditation practices are completely secular. I’m not pushing any type of religion here at Mainly Mindful, so please don’t let any references turn you off.
As always, message me in the comments below, or on the Facebook group with questions or thoughts. Good luck out there!