Tranquilosophy: Body Scan

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Week 43: Body Scan

It’s mid-afternoon on a sunny June day with a slight breeze and sounds of singing birds. I’m on the floor looking up at the exposed wooden beams in a large room at Omega—a spiritual retreat center in upstate New York.

Jon Kabat-Zinn is walking 200 therapists through a 45-minute body scan as I struggle to keep my eyes open. His voice is soothing and, well, has a tendency to lull me to sleep.

I make it through the toes to the hips and wake up while he’s referencing the ears. Gasp, I’ve missed most of the body scan! And, truth be told, this continued the rest of the week.

A body scan is considered a deep investigation into the moment-to-moment experiences of the body. It’s an important part of the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course created by Jon in the 1970s and now taught globally. The practice encourages a shift from the busy thinking mind to all the parts of the body.

The practice begins at the toes and travels all the way up to the top of the head. It’s used to bring awareness to your body without judging its aches and pains. To say “hello” to your body with a sense of loving-kindness and to release the stress, tension, or tightness you may be holding.

Martha Graham noted that “the body says what words cannot” and a body scan gives us the opportunity to pay attention. Read the rest of this piece by signing up for Love Notes.

Already signed up? Unlock Tranquil Treasures and click on the 52 Weeks tab. Try the yummy body scan mp3 in Tranquil Treasures.

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