Mindfulness meditation bodyscan is a lying-down practice, and although the intention is “to fall awake,” people often find themselves falling asleep while doing it—which can be helpful if you are having trouble sleeping. If you tend to fall asleep while doing it and want to encourage that, author Jon Kabat- Zinn recommends doing this practice at bedtime or during the night, but also at another time during the day and at that time making a clear intention to stay awake. However, if you are doing it in bed, it is always best to let go of any expectations of a particular outcome. Even if the practice helps you to fall asleep one night, it may have a very different effect the next, and that is normal.
While doing the mindfulness meditation bodyscan, keep the following points in mind: As soon as you realize that your attention has wandered (and it will), simply bring it back to the body without any judgment. We are not expecting any particular outcome, such as to feel relaxed or to fall asleep. Sometimes that will happen, but other times it will not. Imagine you know nothing about this body or how it feels. What do you discover? You may notice sensations in some parts of the body but not in others, or perhaps no sensations at all. We are not interested in analyzing why this is, but simply in bringing awareness to it. We can store emotions and trauma in the body, and sometimes these may be released through tears or sadness. However, if the practice feels uncomfortable for you at any time, please stop immediately. Don’t worry about the order in which you do the different parts of the body. The important thing is simply to tune into it. If you do fall asleep every time you do this, you may just be chronically tired. Experiment with doing it seated and with your eyes open. How to practice healing bodyscan see down below.
Guided Meditations for Mindfulness Meditation Bodyscan
Lie on your back with your legs outstretched and arms by your side for the mindfulness meditation bodyscan. Your eyes can be open or closed. Take a moment to notice the different parts of the body in contact with the bed or floor. Perhaps take a deep breath and then exhale loudly, letting the body soften into the surface. Take your attention to the breath in the belly. You can place one hand on the belly to help connect with the sensations of breathing: The rise and fall of the belly. This is your home base. At any point in the practice, if you lose your place or things feel a bit tricky, just bring your attention back to the breath in the belly and stay there for as long as you wish. Place your hand back at your side and move your attention from the torso down through the left leg into the left foot. Pay attention to the toes on your left foot. Is there anything to notice? Any numbness, tingling, itchiness, textile touching skin, warmth or coolness …? We are not looking for anything in particular, but rather noticing what is present (or absent). If you don’t feel anything at all, that’s okay. Move your attention from the toes to the sole of the left foot, the heel, the top of the foot, and then the foot as a whole, all the time noticing whatever is arising or present. Be curious about what your experience is right now. Take your attention to your breath, and in your mind’s eye imagine that you are directing the breath into and out of the left foot, as if the left foot were breathing. Continue for a few moments. Let go of the left foot, move your attention to the lower left leg, and explore this in the same way. Move up through the left leg and then, taking your attention to the breath, imagine that you are breathing in and out, up and down the length of the left leg. Continue in this way round the whole body. You can do individual elements such as fingers, or divide the body into sections. Explore the back of the torso and the front, as well as the neck (and internal throat) and the head, including the skull, individual features, and the face as a whole.
When you have finished scanning the whole body with the mindfulness meditation bodyscan, take your attention to the breath once more and imagine that you are breathing in through the soles of the feet and out through the top of the head. Let the breath sweep from one end of the body to the other for a couple of minutes. End by becoming aware of the body as a whole in contact with the surface.