Time spent completing the body scan

Time spent completing the body scan

by Headspace » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:39 pm


I find it really rare that I have enough time to complete the body scan during my meditation and wondered what you could suggest.

Andy's Answer

I've deliberately recorded the body scan at a swift pace. Needless to say, the scan can be (and indeed is in many traditions) done as an entire meditation in itself, often lasting up to an hour. So it is possible to do it both very quickly or very slowly.

The way we do it at Headspace encourages a more general approach to scanning the body. It is simply part of the process of bringing the mind into the body, rather than using the body as the primary object of meditation. So if you are following the timing I've recorded, then all you need to do is adapt your scan and make it as detailed as you can in the time I've provided.

If given too long, many people find themselves getting easily distracted or thinking about the aches or pains or pleasurable feelings in the body, quickly losing focus. But if we know we only have a certain amount of time (approx 30 seconds each day), then there is no time for the mind to wander off. So it is very targeted, encouraging the mind to follow a defined route.
The most important thing to remember is that the technique here is not the body scan. The body scan is a way of preparing for the technique. It doesn't require too much analysis...it is just touching base with the body and feeling more grounded. It is enough to scan down with 5 seconds for head, 5 seconds for chest, 5 seconds for stomach, 5 seconds for pelvis, 5 seconds for mid leg and 5 seconds for feet. In fact 5 seconds for each of these is quite generous. This is the level of awareness we need at that stage in the technique. Any more detail than that and it becomes a different technique altogether.

In Addition:

The body scan is very straightforward. It is simply a matter of working your way down...for example, head...a little tight, eyes...relaxed, jaw...a little tight...neck...relaxed and so on down the body.

The truth is, very often we don't realise how the different parts are feeling. We may have a general idea, but it is fuzzy. That's why we might not realise we have a sore neck until we get home from work, or even a painful leg until someone points out we are walking differently.

I guess it's a bit like looking for a new place to live. The first time you just scan the place, getting an overall impression. But then you go back a second time and really take the time to be curious, to notice the details. The body scan is like the second visit to the house. I suspect that the more often you do it, the more you will start to notice, but this happens quite naturally and there is no need for any special effort.
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