Below is an example of instructions given during a head to toe body scanning meditation combined with some simple breathing cues. This type of meditation works well for both those new to meditation and those with many years of experience. It is a powerful way to help practiciners become settled and let go of tension at the start of a meditation session. This type of scanning meditation works best when we start at the head and work downwards. When we are tense and lost in thinking, our energy of awareness is often high in the body, in our head, face and neck. Guiding the attention down into the lower body helps to bring about a sense of groundedness and emotional stability.
- Breathing in the upper body feels light.
- Breathing out, the lower body feels grounded and stable.
With the crown of the head extended gently towards the sky - relax the scalp.
Feel expansion between the temples.
Let the muscles around the eyes become soft.
Allow the sockets of the jaw to loosen.
Let the jaw hang releasing any tightness around the mouth.
Place the tongue in the center of the mouth gently touching the palette.
Let the gums relax and the lips soften
- Breathing in, feel the space in the upper body
- Breathing out, feel the aliveness in the lower body
Keeping the crown of the head raised upward, lengthen the back of the neck ever so gently.
Allow all the channels in the neck to be open and unrestricted.
Let the shoulders hang down from where the backbone meets the skull.
With the hands in the lap, feel the weight of the forearms.
Let the elbows hang
Feel the weight and aliveness in the hands.
Allow the tendons and muscles in the hands to soften.
Allow the hands to release into their natural shape.
- Breathing in, feel a lightness and expansion in the upper body.
- Breathing out, feel a weight and solidity in the lower body.
If the front of the body is tight and the breathing is in the chest there may be tension in the diaphragm.
The diaphragm cannot be relaxed through conscious effort.
Allowing the attention to settle in the lower body and allowing the belly space to expand the diaphragm will let go of tension by itself.
Feel the contact with the cushion.
The stability of the pelvis supporting the spine.
Release any holding tension in the tops of the legs.
Relax the buttocks and the thighs.
- Breathing in, enjoy a lightness and expansion in the upper body.
- Breathing out, enjoy a weight and solidity in the lower body.
Allow the hips, the knees, the ankles sockets to loosen.
Feel the weight of the bones in the legs.
Allow the tendons and muscles in the feet to relax
Feel the energy and stability in the lower body
Breath in space and expansion all the way through to the crown of the head.
Breath out all tension down through your contact with the earth..