Bodyscan: This is how the mindfulness exercise works

The body scan is one of the mindfulness exercises and should help us to feel our bodies better. We explain how the training works.

What is the body scan?

The body scan is a mindfulness exercise in the fields of yoga and meditation, in which you gradually feel your whole body and accept all the sensations that arise - regardless of whether you classify them as good or bad. The body is practically "scanned" from the inside and accepted as it is. This should reduce stress and make it easier to relax. 
For the first few attempts, the body scan looks like a rather trivial exercise or even a waste of time to some people. To get involved, it is advisable to get the right instructions from a coach familiar with meditation and to give the scan some time before assessing the effect. It is also important not to try to change an unpleasant sensation directly with the body scan - it is only a matter of capturing the current state.

What are the advantages of the body scan?

Exactly feeling the body has the following advantages:
  • Your own body is better understood - you draw a precise picture of it
  • Stress is "released"
  • Relaxation is easier
  • Body and mind harmonize better with each other

How does the body scan work?

Here is the guide for the body scan so you can start right away :
  1. Lie on the floor and make sure you stay awake during the exercise.
  2. Close your eyes - but only if you don't tend to fall asleep easily. Otherwise, leave them open.
  3. Feel your entire body from head to toe and feel it as a whole.
  4. Now let your attention slide to the toes of your left foot and deal with everything you perceive: how warm or cold are they? Does it tingle somewhere? Where do the toes point? It can also help to imagine directing your own breath to where you feel it: in this case, a calm breath from the nose through the chest, abdomen and leg to the toes.
  5. Tip: It is not bad if you do not feel anything - this is also an intensive perception.
  6. For a moment, pay attention to your own breath and how it flows through the body.
  7. Now the feeling of the body continues little by little to the soles of the feet, heels, and ankles. Let the breathing wander into the respective part of the body again, register how it feels, and then let go of this feeling immediately.
  8. Be sure to briefly redirect attention back to breathing between each part of the body.
  9. If there are thoughts that deviate from the exercise, concentrate on breathing again until the thoughts evaporate.
  10. After the foot, use the same method to gradually feel your way through the body, over the left and right legs to the trunk, arms, neck, and shoulders and finally over the head to the top of the head. Focus your attention exclusively on your breath and the sensations of the different body regions. Then consciously let go of the feelings.
In order for the body scan to develop its relaxing effect, it should ideally be carried out at least once a day for 45 minutes.

3 common problems with a body scan - and what helps against it

Beginners of meditation in particular often encounter difficulties with the exercise and wait in vain, for example, for something to be felt. Here we explain typical problems with a body scan and what helps against it:
  • I fall asleep all the time: This happens to a lot of people, especially when the scan is done in the evening after a hard day's work. It is better to do such exercises in the morning and maybe change your posture every now and then.
  • I suffer from unpleasant sensations during the body scan: It can be difficult to get fully involved in the feeling of a part of the body because of youz. B. connects with a past injury. Allow yourself to experience this sensation, learn to make peace with it, and let go of the feeling instead of avoiding it. This only shifts the pain to a later moment. Letting go can be a long process - but it's worth it.
  • I don't feel any change: stress builds up and symbolically piles up and up the longer we ignore it. That's why you have to give the body scan some time to tackle this stress tower and you shouldn't give up after two or three exercise intervals because you don't feel an improvement immediately. A little time and intensive practice are the prerequisites for the body scan to have an effect.
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