Body Scan Meditation

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Body Scan Meditation Mean?

Body scan meditation is one type of mindfulness meditation which promotes greater awareness of the physical body. It uses physical sensations and visualization as an anchor to root the mind in the physical body and in the present moment. It may be incorporated into a yoga class or used as a practice in its own right.

Some teachers have described the body scan as a powerful way to connect with the physical body. This has the immediate effect of helping to draw attention to and then release any areas of tension or holding. Thus, body scan meditation is primarily a relaxing practice, although other more uncomfortable sensations, such as tingling, burning or numbness may also arise.


Yogapedia Explains Body Scan Meditation

The aim in body scan meditation is to become aware of different areas of the body and tune into how each body part feels, with curiosity and non-judgment. The aim is to cultivate an open, compassionate attitude. The focus may vary from wider areas of the body to much smaller, narrower regions.

In guided forms of body scan meditation, the yogi is usually instructed to lie down and then direct their attention to each body part one at a time, typically starting with the lower body and moving to the upper body. A practice may last 20 to 45 minutes.

Body scan meditation has been researched and found to be effective for improving well-being, decreasing physical discomfort and pain, and reducing stress levels. On a more spiritual level, some say that they help to bring new life and fresh appreciation and gratitude to the yogi, helping him/her to embody their highest potential.

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