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MeditationBody Scan

Body Scan

Bring mind and body together with this classic meditation technique.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace. Unrivaled expertise to make life feel a little easier, using guided meditations, mindfulness tips, focus tools, sleep support, and dedicated programs.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace

So sitting comfortably just taking a deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. As you breathe out, just gently closing the eyes noticing how the body feels right now. To get a clearer picture, starting at the top of the head and just gently scanning down through the body, noticing what feels comfortable, and what feels uncomfortable. Don't try to change anything, just noticing how the body feels as you scan down evenly noticing each and every part of the body all the way down to the toes. And then when you're ready, just opening the eyes again....


Duration1-20 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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Frequently asked questions

  • A body scan meditation is a technique where you mentally scan your body from head to toe, or toe to head, in the same way a copy machine scans a piece of paper. Essentially, you “mentally scan” each body part, noticing any aches, pains, sensations, or tension while taking long, deep breaths. It’s a good way to a) get out of the head and into the body b) increase awareness of any physical sensations and c) improve appreciation of your body.

  • When doing this body scan meditation, imagine that your awareness is a photocopying machine, scanning every limb, organ, and cell. You can do this exercise sitting or lying down. To start, you “scan” upwards from the toes or downwards from the head but, for this example, we’ll start at the feet where you pause to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth, noticing how the toes, feet, and ankles feel. You are not looking to change or improve anything; your practice is to notice and accept whatever shows up. Relaxed or tense? Normal or uncomfortable? And you move up the body, inch by inch, with the same curiosity, until you reach the crown of the head. You can also use the body scan meditation to help you fall asleep; only this time, as you scan the body and mentally “turn off” each body part; a physical lights-out that invites the body to power down.

  • When you choose to meditate using the body scan technique, the immediate benefit is that you drop out of the head and into the body, feeling the calming effect of meditation. A body scan meditation is also grounding, syncing body and mind in the moment. With practice, this technique can help you to foster more self-compassion through the very nature of taking time to connect and tune in with yourself. It can also lead you to become more accepting of your body type, with all its perfections and imperfections. Over time, it is a meditation that fosters a more positive body image.

  • A body scan meditation is a good starting place for anyone trying meditation for the first time, precisely because it helps you get out of the head and into the body. You “mentally scan” the body, pausing at each part to notice any tension, discomfort, or sensations. You are not looking to change anything; you are simply bringing attention to it, and moving on. One tip is to spend 20 seconds per body part, breathing slowly. If a distracting thought pops into the head, simply return your attention to the area of the body where you left off, keep breathing, and keep scanning.

  • Reducing stress is one of the primary benefits of meditation, and a body scan meditation is particularly useful because it teaches the mind to detach from any ruminating thoughts and instead drop into the body, to be present with any physical sensations while taking long, deep breaths. At a stroke, this form of meditation counters any stress response by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system which, in turn, stops the release of stress hormones. This allows body and mind to sync, relax, unwind, and feel calmer and grounded.

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