“Your Body Is Your Best Guide. It Constantly Tells You, In The Form Of Pain Or Sensations, What’s Working For You And What’s Not.”
-Hina Hashmi

I have noticed that many of my clients comment on how much better they feel after I lead them through a body scan meditation. Without purposefully willing themselves to relax, they end up feeling less stressed and more relaxed after.

In a body scan meditation, you simply pay attention to different parts of your body, noticing what sensations are there non-judgmentally. While noticing your body, you also continue to breathe. The key to this practice is to not “do” anything. You are not telling your body to relax, you are just noticing what is there.

Body Scan Meditation

  • Lie on your back, you may use a pillow under your head if you choose.
  • Close your eyes if that is comfortable for you, otherwise leave them open with a soft gaze.
  • Notice where your body is in contact with what is underneath you.
  • Notice how you are supported.
  • Take a deep breath into your belly and exhale through your mouth.
  • Continue to breath slowly and deeply, but in a comfortable way.
  • Notice your feet. The toes, the soles of your feet, the heel, the tops of your feet, the ankles.
  • Notice your legs. The lower leg, the shin, the calf, the knee, the upper leg, the quadriceps and hamstrings.
  • Notice your pelvis. The hips, the gluteal muscles.
  • Notice your low belly. The reproductive organs, the digestive organs.
  • Notice your solar plexus. The area above your belly button and below your ribs, the muscles within.
  • Notice your chest. The lungs, the heart.
  • Notice your back body. The sacrum, the lower lumbar spine, the middle thoracic spine, the shoulder blades.
  • Notice your shoulders. The tops of your shoulders, the joint with your arms.
  • Notice your neck. The base of your neck, the throat, the cervical spine on the back of your neck.
  • Notice your head. The jaw, mouth, cheeks, eyes and eye sockets, temples, forehead, scalp.
  • Notice your whole body.
  • Allow yourself to be present with your whole body as you breathe.
  • Notice your body in this moment.
  • Continue to breathe for a few more moments.
  • Notice how your body and mind feel now compared to when you started.
  • As you feel ready, slowly roll to your side and press yourself up to a seat and open your eyes.

I’ve been practicing and guiding various versions of the body scan meditation for a decade. It’s used to reduce stress and invoke a sense of relaxation in Para Yoga Nidra (or Yoga Sleep), iRest Yoga Nidra created by Richard Miller, and also the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction created by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

I find it particularly helpful to do every morning after I wake up to get a gauge of how I am feeling and to start my day out more focused and less stressed. It is also nice to do before going to bed, to help relieve the stress of the day and can make it easier to fall asleep.

I hope you find this body scan meditation helpful in reducing your own stress. 

May you have peace within,

Julia anjali mudra hands

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