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This body-awareness mindfulness practice is excerpted from a longer version in The Mindful Teen by Dr. Dzung Vo, and is provided here with permission from New Harbinger Publications.
Lie flat on your back. Place your feet slightly apart, letting your toes fall to the sides. Place your arms by your sides, palms up.
Bring your awareness into your left foot. Breathe in, imagining that you are breathing in through your left foot, all the way up your body. Breathe out, imagining that you are breathing out all the way through your body, through your left leg and out through your left foot. What sensations (if any) are you feeling in your left foot right now?
With your next breath out, shift your awareness to your left ankle, noticing any sensations there. Continue to breathe mindfully, bringing your awareness up your leg to your calf, your shin, and your knee.
There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do this practice, but here is the order I like to use:
- Left foot
- Left leg
- Right foot
- Right leg
- Abdomen & belly
- Upper body, chest, & shoulders
- Hands & arms
- Head & face
Then bring your awareness to your body as a whole:
- Does it feel the same or different than when you started the body scan?
- Are there any parts of your body that still feel tense or that need extra care?
The purpose of the body scan is not necessarily to relax or to go to sleep, although it can help with that sometimes. The important thing is that you stay open and curious to your body's experience.
Adapted from The Mindful Teen by Dzung X. Vo, MD. © New Harbinger Publications, 2015. Reprinted with permission. www.newharbinger.com
Dr. Vo has provided audio recordings of 10-minute and 30-minute versions of the body scan at http://mindfulnessforteens.com/guided-meditations/