Sunday Meditation: Body Scan
This is a terrific meditation that you can do anywhere in any position. The beauty of this particular practice is that you can do it so many different ways and they are all perfectly wonderful! Just like in any meditation practice, your mind will wander. When you find your attention has strayed, just take a breath and restart the scan where you left off.
Find your position. I enjoy sitting on a zafu (meditation cushion) or laying flat on a yoga mat with a rolled blanket under my knees. Other great options include laying in bed, sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, or even riding in the car on a long trip. If you have aches or pains or cannot find a comfortable position, don't be dissuaded from meditating. That awareness will just be a part of your scan.
Choose a starting point for your scan. I prefer to start with the head or the feet, but you can start anywhere. Rest your awareness on whatever body part you have chosen as your start. Notice what is happening there without any judgement. If you are feeling tension in your head, for instance, acknowledge it and then move on.
Shift your attention to the eyes, nose, mouth, and ears each in turn. Then move down to the neck. Notice what exists in each part of the body as you continue on from one part to the next. Focus on each arm, hand, leg, and foot independently. Remember to focus on the back of the body, too. You can focus on as small or as large a section of the body as you would like. For instance, if you are short for time, the entire back could be one focal point. But, if time is not an issue, you may prefer to focus on the sacral, lumbar, thoracic, and cervical regions, shoulder blades, and rib cage separately.
Acknowledging the sensations residing at each spot of the body and then moving on is the practice. If you lose concentration and find your mind wandering to other things, acknowledge that too. And then bring your attention back to the scan. When you have completed the entire body, broaden your focus to the body as a whole. Notice what sensations are alive in you at that moment. This brings you to the end of your practice.
Each meditation session is a practice for living a mindful life. We become more aware of what is happening in the present moment without worry about the future or regret over the past. The body scan meditation teaches us to notice pleasant and unpleasant sensations and then without trying to fix or change them move on.