Imagine holding a small bottle of water with your arm extended for a minute. The bottle is light, right?
Now imagine having to hold that same bottle of water for ten minutes. Twenty. Suddenly the bottle becomes a struggle to hold up.
If you put the bottle down, then pick it up a minute later, the bottle will be that same light weight it started as.
This is how our body feels when it holds our problems.
If you hold onto them for too long, they begin to feel overwhelming. They grow to the size of a mountain. But if you take a break and disconnect, your problems won’t seem too big anymore. You become lighter. You’re suddenly able to see things clearer.
It’s common, however, to be unaware of the anxiety-based tension your body is holding onto. One of the best ways to bring this into focus is through a body scan.
WHAT’S THE POINT IN BODY SCANNING?
- Lessen anxiety and stress by passing from thinking in your head, to feeling in your body;
- Improve sleep by relaxing the body which, in turn, calms down the mind, and helps you switch off; and
- Reduce chronic pain by directing your attention away from the physical pain and drawing it into an energy-based plane where it can be more easily handled.
They also help you to…
- Improve self-awareness;
- Relax by focusing your attention on your physical body and giving your mind a rest; and
- Improve focus.
Don’t forget that bottle of water! If you put something aside and return to it later, you’ll return with a different perspective.
SO HOW DO YOU BODY SCAN?
Get comfortable – you could be lying in Savasana or sitting with your feet flat on the ground, your back straight and your hands resting in your lap.
Close your eyes.
Take three deep breaths to connect with your body. Inhale for the count of four, hold for four and exhale for four.
Now start scanning your body. Try to take twenty or thirty seconds in each section.
- Beginning at your head. How do you feel? Is there any discomfort? Where?
- Bring awareness to your neck. Is there any tension here?
- Now drift down to your shoulders. Can you feel any tightness?
- Move down your arms. Your wrists. Your hands. Do you feel any uncomfortable sensations?
- Continue moving down your body, from your chest to your back. Down to your hips, through your legs. To the balls of your feet and to the tips of your toes.
Don’t struggle. Take note what you encounter. What thoughts and feelings arrive?
A FINAL NOTE
Body scanning is all about gaining knowledge. It’s about seeing what you feel where, in the moment, so that you can focus your energy on healing the right parts of your body. It’s about stopping the cycle of tension that grows like a snowball rolling down a hill. Breaking it down and creating awareness.
Remember: Body scans work best as a regular practice. It also gets easier and quicker with practice, so try to set aside ten minutes a day.
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