The Benefits of Body Scanning
Our bodies are the vehicles of our souls; we must keep them in good working condition for our journey through life. They are our holy temple; housing our spiritual lightness and allowing us to express it in a physical world. They are worthy of our respect and we should love and care for them as the spiritual sanctuaries that they are.
Not only do our bodies serve as a holy temple in which our soul may sit, but they are also magnificently self-sufficient when we listen to their messages and react accordingly. The body is a self-contained ecosystem that creates, destroys, and merges entire micro worlds within it. It knows instinctively what it needs and what it doesn’t; and it knows what behaviors are helpful and which are harmful.
Our bodies are constantly sharing this knowledge with us. They are perpetually guiding us towards choices that maintain those systems and keep everything running smoothly. As spiritual beings that rely on physical bodies, it’s important that we remain sensitive to those messages and that we can accurately interpret and react to what they are telling us. One of the most effective means of maintaining this awareness is a body scan.
What is a Body Scan?
A body scan is a practice that involves consciously directing your attention to the different parts of the body. As your attention moves from one area to the next, you notice how it feels, what it’s doing, and what messages it may be sending through pain, pleasure, tension, heaviness, or any number of other signals.
To begin a body scan you may want to sit or lie down on the floor, a mat, or a bed. Close your eyes to help narrow your focus. Starting with the toes of your right foot and moving upwards and then back down in a u-shape, you slowly move your attention across each region of the body. Think of each area, even tiny ones such as toes and fingers, as an old friend that you haven’t seen in a long while. Take your time getting to know it; feel what it feels like and listen to what it may be trying to share with you. Let your consciousness become it until you feel completely aware, connected, and in control of that region. As you focus your attention, tense and release the muscles in that area, allowing it to be fully and pleasantly relaxed before moving to the next.
Continue this process, slowly moving all the way up the right side of your body. Include every area – your neck, your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth; and finally focus in on your head. From here, begin the slow progression back down the left side of the body until you are wholly aware and relaxed in every part of your body.
The Benefits of Body Scanning
Body scanning helps us renew our sensitivity to the messages our body sends us. It knows best what it needs and what it should avoid, but it must deal with whatever we give it. It’s up to us to heed its warnings as well as its comforts, and body scans keep us in the right state of consciousness to do so.
Body scans also help us to step back into the seat of the soul. As we practice moving our attention over and into various parts of the body, we become keenly aware that there is a difference between the body and the awareness. We are not contained within the flesh; we are the awareness that moves over it through the scan.
With regular practice, body scans are an incredible addition to our daily self-care routines. We find ourselves more prone to healthy behaviors of all kinds and much more conscientious in our everyday choices. Everything from eating habits to exercise, posture, sexuality, and sleep are improved from this increase in awareness. We also benefit from the separation of body identity and self identity by more regularly knowing and listening to the true self within. In countless little ways, we grow happier as we make our bodies happier; and it all begins with this small but important practice.
© 2015 Cristen Rodgers