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Practice Body Scan Meditation With 10 Free Audio Guides

By now you’ve probably heard about the several benefits of long term meditation practice. 

In my last post, I talked about how mindfulness meditation can be a very powerful tool for your mental care. However, from time to time, we also need to consciously connect to our body or the physical self. 

I want to introduce to you the Body Scan Meditation practice, a very popular meditation technique to connect with your physical body.

In this post, I will take you through what does Body Scan Meditation mean, why everyone should practice it along with 10 free audio guides that you can use to get started with the Body Scan practice.

What is Body Scan Meditation

Body Scanning is a type of meditation technique used to cultivate mindfulness towards various parts of your body. It is a variation of the traditional Burmese Vipassana meditation practice referred to as ‘sweeping’.

The Body Scan technique was introduced into clinical practice by Jon Kabat-Zinn through his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts.

The Body Scan technique is designed to scan your body (much like a CAT scan) and help you feel and become aware of the different sensations that occur throughout your body. Multiple research studies have already suggested the significant benefits of this meditation technique.

Let’s look at why you should consider practicing the Body Scan meditation.

Why Should You Practice It

Improves Sleep and Relieves Insomnia

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that a regular practice of the body scan meditation technique before bedtime can be helpful to relieve insomnia. [Link1]
Another research study has also suggested that any Mindfulness Meditation technique can improve sleep quality and reduce potential sleep-related issues. [Link2]


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Relieves Anxiety and Stress

Multiple studies [Link3] [Link4] suggested that the MBSR program (with the Body-Scan as a technique) has been potentially helpful in reducing general anxiety and coping with stress.

Better Pain Management

Jon Kabat-Zinn himself recommends the body scan mindfulness exercise as the best form of mindfulness meditation for pain. [Link5]
A 2017 review of multiple research studies also suggested that regular practice of techniques of Mindfulness Meditation can help to reduce the psychological effects of chronic pain (such as depression or decreased quality of life). [Link6]

Increased Body Awareness

An 8-week training practice of the Body Scan Meditation technique in a clinical study has been shown to improve our Interoceptive processes, which is our ability to detect sensations arising within the body. Better interoceptive abilities are helpful for us to detect anything unusual inside our bodies thus improving the chances of detecting some disease in its earlier stages. [Link7]

Apart from these benefits, Mindfulness can be a primary way to enhance health and performance for some people. For others, it can be about exploring spirituality or themselves.

Many studies also claim that mindfulness helps to improve one’s sense of self, helps to fight obesity, fosters compassion and altruism, reduces anger, enhances relationships, and makes one more resilient to hardships. 

Mindfulness practice is good for teens and school goers, parents, and parents-to-be, for business professionals, for health-care professionals, and for veterans as well.
You can also learn more about the scientifically proven health benefits of Meditation here.

Practice Body Scan Meditation with 10 Free Audio Guides

Below, I’ve shared links to 10 audio guide programs by experts to help you practice the Body Scan Meditation technique. I would suggest you try all of them out first and then you can settle down with one that seems comfortable and convenient for you.

1. Body-Scan Guide by Jon Kabat-Zin (45 mins)

2. Body-Scan Guide by Dave Potter, certified MBSR instructor at Palouse Meditation (20 mins)

Check it out here > Link

3. Body-Scan Guide by HelpGuide.org (13 mins)

Check it out here > Link

4. Body-Scan Guide by Mindful.org (30mins)

Check it out here > Link

5. Body-Scan Guide by Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice – Bangor University (13 mins)

Check it out here > Link

6. Body-Scan Guide by Center for Wellness and Health Promotion – Harvard University (20 mins)

Check it out here > Link

7. Body-Scan Guide by UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center – UCLA Health (13 mins)

Check it out here > Link

8. Body-Scan Guide (Part of MBSR Guided Training) by Jefferson University Hospitals (20 mins)

Check it out here > Link

9. Body-Scan Guide by Piedmont Healthcare (15 mins)

Check it out here > Link

10. Body-Scan Guide Sets by UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness – UC San Diego School of Medicine (10, 20, 30, 45 mins)

Check it out here > Link

I personally like and use the ones by Jon Kabat-Zin, HelpGuide, and UC San Diego.

The reason I chose not to write about the practice technique and rather share the guides with you right away is that the audio guides will help you understand both the technique and the process much better than any written guide could. 

The Body Scan technique can be a bit difficult and tricky for any beginner. Hence, the audio guides help to minimize any confusion and judgment while trying out the practice.

Timing

Jon Kabat-Zin advises practicing the Body-Scan Meditation every day for 45 minutes, even if it seems boring or doesn’t seem to be helping.

He writes in his book Falling Awake, “You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it, whether you find the body scan to be very relaxing and interesting or difficult and uncomfortable or exasperating is irrelevant to whether it will serve you well.”

Practice Body Scan Meditation With 10 Free Audio Guides
If you are a beginner, try to practice for at least 10-15 mins and add more time as you get hold of the technique.

Lastly, any meditation technique must be practiced regularly to truly get the most out of it.
So, be sure to dedicate yourself to a lifelong practice.

I was introduced to the Body Scan Meditation technique couple of years ago during a 5-day Vipassana meditation workshop. And, I’ve been roughly doing the practice since then (once/twice every few months) and I still consider myself a Beginner.

This kind of frequency is not at all recommended but I’ve allowed myself to get away with it because I practice Mindfulness Meditation every day. (In fact, I really like the Mindfulness Meditation practice over any other technique)

From my Beginner experience, I would like to share a few tips that have helped me get the most out of the Body-Scan practice.

  1. Try to lie down for the practice as it will help you to let go of any possible tension in the body. You’ll be able to focus better on the practice.
  2. Use cushions under your head, waist, and lower legs for maximum comfort. You can use other meditation accessories as well. Check out my recommended list of accessories here.
  3. Chances are you will fall asleep when you’re new to the practice. It’s totally okay if you do.
  4. Try to do the practice before bedtime. It might help you fall asleep faster and improve your sleep.
  5. Try the Mental Noting technique if you get distracted to bring your attention back to the practice. (Learn more about Mental Noting)

I hope these tips will come handy to you in your journey to the Body-Scan Meditation practice.

Remember that Mindfulness is a way of living.
We do not generally get many opportunities to activate our mindful mode while performing our everyday activities.
A dedicated practice using a meditation technique is meant to be treated as a conscious choice by us to activate our mindful mode on a daily basis so that it supports our long-term health and well-being.

The only question is if you are willing to make that choice.


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