Get in position. Sit on the floor or in a chair, whatever is comfortable for you.
You can also lay down, as long as you won't fall asleep.
The whole purpose for a Body Scan is NOT for relaxation. It's to tune in to your body.
To reconnect with your physical self and notice things you are feeling. (without judgement)
Gently lower your eyes and begin at your toes until you have scanned your entire body. Focus on how your body feels. Notice the weight of your body on the floor or in your chair.
At each body part, notice how each one feels, whether is is tense, relaxed, painful, itchy....etc. Pay attention to each sensation - if you have NO sensation this is OK...just notice how it feels without judgement and move onto the next body part.
If your attention wanders - notice that too; acknowledge it, and gently bring your attention back to the body part you were just at before you wandered away.
Once you have scanned each body part; notice the entire body as a whole. Take in a few more deep breaths and slowly open your eyes.
You have completed a body scan mindfulness exercise.
Let me know how you felt in the comments!
You can lengthen or shorten your body scan as you see fit - you can go feet, legs, stomach, arms, back, head...or more detailed, like toes, soles of feet, entire foot, ankle, shin, calf, upper leg, hips, buttocks, lower back, etc....
This is one of the hardest meditations to do. We are not use to paying attention to our bodies. We are very judgmental of our bodies, so many find this exercise difficult to do.
Tip: It helps to meditate the same time and same place every day. It helps condition us to establish a routine which will then help make it habitual.
In a 2015 study published in Mindfulness of 102 veterans with chronic PTSD, body scan meditation led to an improvement in symptoms.
The study used the PTSD Checklist to rate severity of 17 PTSD symptoms on a scale of 1 to 5. Symptoms include repeated disturbing dreams of the past, feeling jumpy or startled and feeling super alert. For the veterans that practiced body scan meditation, scores decreased by 5.5 points.