HMC Day 4: The Body Scan

Holiday Meditation Challenge Day 4.png

OK so you’re starting to get used to the idea of sitting without distraction for a few minutes at a time, your space is situated, you’re figuring out what time of day works best for you…what’s next?

For the next few days I’m going to tell you about different kinds of meditation just so you can start to get a sense of what’s out there. Around Day 7 or 8 we are also going to start lengthening the daily practice.

Today’s installment is about the body scan!

I love the body scan. It’s a classic meditation that brings awareness to each part of the body. The purpose is not to change anything, or even to relax. It’s simply to notice what is happening in your body.

Many of us are used to disconnecting from our bodies for lots of reasons (e.g. history of trauma, feelings of shame around body image, physical or emotional discomfort we are trying to avoid). Some of us might be used to over-focusing on an area of the body that’s in pain.

With the body scan, it’s about observing sensations without attaching judgment. So you might notice discomfort or pain in your lower back, and the challenge is to get curious about it rather than rushing to make it go away or think about how much you hate it, how much you can’t stand it, wondering whether you need physical therapy, etc. Instead, describe it to yourself with objective language: stinging, tension, throbbing. Notice whether it comes and goes, or whether the intensity waxes and wanes. And when the recording asks you to shift your attention to another part of your body, leave your lower back behind and observe the next part.


Sit or lie down (if you’re not too tired — you don’t want to fall asleep) and do this 5-minute body scan meditation:

>> If you have some experience with meditation or you’re looking for a little more in-depth experience, try this version:

**If you missed the introductory post, welcome to the Holiday Meditation Challenge! If you’d like a summary of each week’s assignments in e-mail form so you can go back to them anytime, click here.