Take a few moments to be still. Congratulate yourself for taking this time for meditation practice. Do mindful check-in, feeling into your body and mind and simply allowing any waves of thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations to just be. Perhaps it’s been a busy day, and this is the first time you’re stopping. As you begin to enter the world of being rather than doing, you may notice the trajectory of the feelings you’ve been carrying within you. There is no need to judge, analyze, or figure things out. Just allow yourself to be in the moment with all that’s there. When you feel ready, gently shift the focus to the breath. Now become aware of breathing. Breathe normally and naturally and focus on the tip of the nose or the abdomen. Breathing in and knowing you’re breathing in and breathing out and knowing you’re breathing out. At times the mind may wander away from awareness of breathing. When you recognize this, acknowledge wherever you went and then come back to the breath, breathing in and out with awareness. And now gently withdraw awareness from mindful breathing as you shift to the body scan. As you go through the body, you may come across areas that are tight or tense. If you can allow them to soften, let that happen; if you can’t, just let the sensations be, letting them ripple in whatever direction they need to go. This applies not only to physical sensations but also to any emotions. As you go through the body be mindful of any physical sensations and any thoughts or emotions that may arise from sensations. Bring awareness to the bottom of the left foot where you feel the contact of your foot on the floor. It could be the back of the heel or the bottom of the left foot. Sensing into what is being felt. Feeling the heel, ball, and sole of the left foot. Feel into your toes and the top of the left foot and back into the Achilles tendon and up into the left ankle. Now move your awareness up to the lower left leg, feeling into the calf and shin and their connection to the left knee. Being present. Let awareness now rise up to the thigh, sensing into the upper leg and its connection above into the left hip. And now withdraw awareness from the left hip down to the left foot, shifting it into the right foot and bringing awareness to where you feel the contact of your right foot on the floor. It could be the back of the heel or the bottom of the right foot. Sensing into what is being felt. Feeling the heel, ball, and sole of the right foot. Feel into the toes and the top of the right foot and back into the Achilles tendon and up into the right ankle. Now move your awareness up to the lower right leg, feeling into the calf and shin and their connection to the right knee. Being present. Let awareness now rise into the thigh, sensing into the upper leg and its connection above into the right hip. Gently withdraw your attention from the right hip and move into the pelvic region. Sense into the systems of elimination, sexuality, and reproduction. Feeling into the genitals and the anal region. Being mindful to any sensations, thoughts, or emotions. And now lift the awareness to the abdomen and into the belly, the home of digestion and assimilation, feeling into your guts with awareness and letting be. Now withdraw your awareness from the belly and move to the tailbone and begin to sense into the lower, middle, and upper parts of the back. Feeling sensations. Allow any tightness to soften and let be what’s not softening. Let the awareness now shift into the chest, into the heart and lungs. Being present. Feeling into the rib cage and sternum and then into the breasts. Now gently withdraw attention from the chest and shift the awareness into the fingertips of the left hand. Feeling into the fingers and palm, and then the back of the hand and up into the left wrist. Proceed up into the forearm, elbow, and upper left arm, feeling sensations. Now shift awareness to the fingertips of the right hand. Feeling into the fingers and palm, and then the back of the hand and up into the right wrist. Proceed up into the forearm, elbow, and upper right arm, feeling sensations. Let the awareness move into both shoulders and armpits and then up into the neck and throat. Being present to any sensations, thoughts, or emotions. Now bring your awareness into the jaw and then gently into the teeth, tongue, mouth, and lips. Allowing any resonating sensations to go wherever they need to go and letting be. Feel into the cheeks, the sinus passages that go deep into the head, the eyes, and the muscles around the eyes. Feel into the forehead and the temples, being present. Let the awareness move into the top and back of the head. Feeling into the ears and then inside of the head and into the brain. Being present. Now expand the field of awareness to the entire body from head to toe to fingertips. Connect from the head through the neck to the shoulders, arms, hands, chest, back, belly, hips, pelvic region, legs, and feet. Feel the body as a whole organism, with its various physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions. Being present. Breathing in, feel the whole body rising and expanding on an inhalation and falling and contracting on an exhalation. Feel the body as a whole organism. Being present. As you come to the end of the body scan, congratulate yourself for taking this time to be present. May you know that this is an act of love. May all beings be at peace.
It’s truly amazing when you get in touch with your body and discover where you’re feeling and harboring stress and tension and where various emotions may reside. As you sense into the body, a myriad of feelings, thoughts, and experiences may emerge. It’s also important to know that sometimes you might not feel much of anything, and that this too can be explored. What does nothing or a neutral state feel like? As you feel into the body, acknowledge, and validate all experiences, barring none. Many of us often experience unexplainable aches and pains. By practicing the body scan, you may discover that these reflect your tension or emotions, perhaps stored in your chest, neck, jaw, shoulders, back, or stomach. Did the body scan help you become more aware of where you carry tension or emotions in the body? Take a moment to note whether you felt stress, anxiety, elation, sadness, joy, anger, or any other emotion in the body. Write something about whatever came up for you mentally, emotionally, and physically when doing this practice for the first time.