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Body Scan Meditation

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brighteningup

I thought I'd add a little on this meditation style.

 

One of the best descriptions I've found of it is here:-

 

"When you do the body scan you take your awareness to the different parts of your body in turn and as you rest the awareness in each place, simply notice what's happening, feeling that part of the body deeply from within"

 

(Vidyamala Burch, (2008) Living Well with Pain & Illness - the mindful way to free yourself from suffering, Piatkus Books, page 179)

 

I first came across this technique when reading up on, then trying to do at home, Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme. For a while I did body scan's very regularly, and though I don't do them as regularly now (I do plan to get back into it on a regular basis), the technique has given me one really useful skill.

 

It has helped me to both focus and not focus on the pain in my body. In other words I will briefly focus completely on the pain, focus on where the body it is, feel what sort of pain it is, does it ache, does it tingle, does it itch, and so on. Then I'll focus on the sensations in another part of the body and focus on how they feel.

 

It might sound counter intuitive to say that focusing on pain is helpful, but I've found it's helped me to realise that the pain is just part of what my body is experiencing just now, and somehow that makes it easier to deal with.

 

I've also often found body scan meditation really relaxing and have sometimes used it to help me sleep or relax.

 

It's really helped me a lot as I often experience small amounts of pain and itching (more to do with a long-term incurable skin condition than AD withdrawal). It even seems to help me to sleep as I will now instinctively when I experience pain focus all around the body not just on the pain, and this stops me dwelling on the physical sensation and my frustrations with it, which helps me relax.

 

It's possible some of you who have unpleasant physical withdrawal sensations might find this meditation helpful.

 

The original Kabat-Zinn meditations I used are good, but not free, they are also 45 minutes long - which is quite a long time to stay focused.

 

Here are two free versions (and slightly shorter versions) of the body scan meditation you can download:-

 

1) By Vidyamala Burch - who wrote the book I mentioned above and also developed the UK based breathworks programme which offers a mindfulness approach for dealing with long term pain, illness and stress.

Body Scan Meditation by Vidyamala

 

For more on Breathworks see here:-

Breathworks for Mindfulness

 

2) By Kirsten Neff - a researcher on Self-Compassion who has a compassion based version of the body scan where you are grateful to each bit of your body in turn for all the hard work it does for you.

A direct link to the mp3 file is here - Self Compassion Body Scan

It's one of a number of free guided self compassion based meditations available for download here:-

Guided Self Compassion Meditations

 

Self compassion is discussed further on this site here:-Self compassion topic

 

Bright.

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brighteningup

Just noticed that the free buddhist audio site the Vidyamala download is on asks for a donation as you download, you can ignore this and just download the mp3 files, sorry if anyone find's this annoying.

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Altostrata

Thanks, bright. Some people find this method of meditation to be very effective.

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Nadia

Thanks so much for posting this!

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essamalbalaa

hi bright,

this is called vipassana meditation,and its the meditation that liberated Gautama and made a Buddha out of him

he spent his whole entire life serving others and teaching them this wonderful technique

you can check dhamma.org for more info and or get to enroll in their 10 days course in your country for free

i'm glad to see others getting to understand and appreciate this universal none religious technique

all the best

with metta

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Shanti

Very nice post. I'm going to try this.

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