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A Short Body Scan to Reduce Stress and Distraction

You’ve heard of eight-minute abs, but have you heard of an eight-minute body scan?

This short embodiment practice is for when you’re lost in worry, feeling a bit frantic, or out of touch with your body. In this audio, I’ll guide you to include the felt sensations of your body, from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head. It doesn’t require any special powers of concentration, just eight minutes, which, by the way, is the approximate time it takes light photons from the sun to reach Earth. See how much can happen in eight minutes?

I first became interested in body scans through the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) work of John Kabat-Zinn. I found that by including all the parts of my body in meditation, I felt more calm and whole. Think of this brief body scan as a way to rebalance after a day spent worrying, planning and managing. Our bodies are our portal to being present and the place where we experience joy.

Scanning the body shifts the focus from discursive thoughts to becoming more connected and at peace with our bodies. It’s amazing how the running monologue of wants, fears and plans quiets down as we settle into our corporeal self.

I recommend doing this in a quiet room, though there’s nothing wrong with trying it on the subway with some headphones as well. By the way, the eight minutes is arbitrary; you can practice shorter or longer sessions depending on your mood and schedule.

You can find my guided body scan here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Byn4_825ymASTldrSGcxcHpZMVk/view

-Originally published on Elephant Journal.

Also, come join our "Pain as a Doorway to Change: Transforming Your Relationship to Your Body" workshop at IDP on Saturday, June 27. The talk will be recorded if you cannot attend in person. http://theidproject.org/events/2015/06/27/pain-doorway-change-transforming-your-relationship-your-body

 

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