Buddhist statue floating on water, representing a body scan meditation

Body scan meditation

Begin your body scan meditation

For this meditation, sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes if you wish, or leave them half-closed so that some light comes in and you don’t fall asleep. However, if you fall asleep, then that’s what is happening. That’s also okay. You might be very tired because you’ve had a long day.

The important thing in a body scan meditation is to give space to what is. Now bring your awareness to the top of your head. Allow your awareness to gently receive the sensation arising: the softness of the scalp against the skullcap. Go down to your eyes and release the tension there.

Just feel. Give space to the sensations and allow the awareness to move slowly through your face. Feel the muscles of the jaw and the warmth of the ears. Feel the tongue lying gently in the mouth. Then proceed downward towards the throat and the neck. Feel the strength in the shoulders, the muscles, the bones. There may be some subtle movement of the shoulders with the breath.

Whatever you touch, there is life

Then go down your arms, elbows, and go into your hands, feeling the life in each palm. Feel the chest rising and falling, naturally with each breath. If you feel some tightness or pain, touch it with openness and softness, acceptance. Feel the heart beating within the chest and the lungs gently expanding with each breath. If you have thoughts, then let them pass like clouds. Feel the different temperatures and tensions in your body. Notice that whatever you touch, there is life.

Be aware of your whole body

Slowly move down your spine; gradually descend the spine. Then allow the belly to soften…and feel the movement of your belly…the hips…how you sit on the cushion. And let your awareness gently, tenderly, pass through the genitals…legs…knees…and your feet. Now try to spread your awareness through the whole body; from the top of the head to your toes.

Give space in your body scan meditation

Then within the field of the body, observe the inward and outward flow of the breath. Let yourself breathe, without changing anything. Observe how the field of the body moves with each breath. Try to be like a mountain; your body is like a mountain. Your mind is like the sky, giving space to everything; giving space to the moment, to what is.

Whatever emotion, whatever pain comes up, let it be the focus of your field right now. Give space to it and touch it with acceptance…without wanting to change anything. Feel how the breath flows, as though you are being breathed.

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