What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of relaxation? Many of us might imagine a cosy evening in front of the TV or a Sunday afternoon reading a book. Why is relaxation important? All of us are under a lot of stress on a daily basis. Using relaxation techniques helps us balance our nervous system. The two aforementioned activities help us little to reduce the damaging effects of stress. More beneficial is to activate our body’s natural relaxation response. How? By regularly practicing relaxation techniques such as mindful meditation, deep breathing or yoga.
What is Body Scan Meditation?
The body scan meditation is a relaxation technique helping you become more aware of your body and the connection between the body and the mind. As simple as that. During the practise, you will acknowledge your sensations and be able to feel each part of your body.
How to Practise Body Scan Meditation?
- Start by comfortably sitting in a chair, place your soles on the ground and slightly open your legs. Place both your arms crossed on your abdomen. You can either close your eyes or keep them open.
- Deeply breathe in and feel your stomach expanding. Gently breathe out, releasing the air out of your body. The air is entering your body and going all the way to the end of your stomach. Please avoid shallow breathing in your chest. Continue to breathe in deeply until you feel your body has attained a profound state of relaxation.
- Feel a wave of relaxation entering your body from the top of your head and going all the way to your tiptoes. Feel that you are breathing in through your head and breathing out through your toes. Spend one minute on each part of your body.
- Place your attention on the top of your head and then slowly move towards your temples, forehead, eyes, cheekbones, cheeks, nose, tongue, lips, jaws, chin. Feel the wave of relaxation going further, relaxing your neck and throat, your shoulders, your upper back and your chest. Now move down to your abdomen, your lower back and your hips.
- It is time to focus on your arms. Focus on your right shoulder. Slowly move down to the upper arm, elbow, forearm and wrist. Feel that you are breathing through your fingers of your right hand. And now repeat for your left arm.
- Continue by focusing your attention on your left leg and feel that your are breathing through your thigh, knee, calf and all the way down to your ankle and your toes. Imagine that the air is entering through your sole when you are breathing. Now move to the right leg and concentrate your attention on each part of your leg for one minute.
After doing a full body scan, take a moment to sink into silence and stillness. Enjoy this moment of deep relaxation. Observe how your body feels. When you are ready, start to tingle your fingers and your toes and slowly open your eyes. Make sure to stretch your muscles before standing up.