Carols Body Scan


This is the basic meditation that I use personally when meditating. I use it in class for the first meditation and find it works well with new meditators. I recite it slowly, with lots of pauses.


Sit up straight and tall. Feet flat on the floor. You want your back erect but not rigid. I like to imagine a hot air balloon attached to the top of my head, pulling me straight and tall, with my body hanging loose and relaxed like a rag doll.

Close your eyes, if you are comfortable doing so. If you don’t want to close your eyes, pick a spot on the floor or wall and keep a gentle gaze.

Let’s start by taking a few deep breaths, and noticing the sensations around you… Notice the sounds… Feel the sensation of the air on your skin…

Now notice the sensations in your body… Notice the weight of your body pressing into the chair… the weight of your feet on the floor… Notice any tension or pain in your body…. You can take a deep breath into any tension or pain, and as you exhale, let the tension melt away…. So with every breath you feel more and more relaxed … More and more present, right here right now…

Now bring your attention to your head and notice any tension in the muscles in your scalp, around your mouth, your eyes… in your jaw. And taking a deep breath, as you release the breath feel the tension dissolve and melt away.

And bringing your attention to your neck and shoulders, you can move your neck and shoulders to notice any tension you are holding there, and with the next deep healing breath, release all that tension. Let your shoulders fall to gravity as the tension melts away.

And bringing your attention to you arms and hands, take a deep breath, and as you exhale, feel waves of relaxation running down your arms, through you hands and out your fingertips. Waves of relaxation washing away all the tension. Feel the weight of your arms sinking into the table or lap, as you let all the tension go.

And bringing your attention to your chest and stomach… again taking a deep breath, and as you release let the tension flow out of your chest, feel your stomach relax, let your belly muscles get soft… let the tension release and fall away…

And bringing your attention to your back…. Imagine your back is like a gentle stream with lots of rocks and crevices. Let waves of relaxation wash down your spine, like water over the rocks… vertibrae by vertibrae …. waves of relaxation washing over your spine… releasing and relaxing… washing away any tension or pain…

Now notice the weight of your body pressing into the chair. Feel how connected you are to the Earth. You are part of this Earth. Part of the mystery and majesty of life and you are exactly who you should be and exactly where you should be.

And bringing your attention to your legs, knees, calves and feet. Taking a deep, deep breath and as you release the breath, let waves of relaxation run down your legs, through your knees and ankles and out the bottom of your feet.

Now take a few deep breaths, noticing any residual tension in your body… breathing into that tension and releasing it. So that with each breath you are more relaxed…. More present, right here, right now….

Now lets bring our attention to our breath. I want you to pick whatever part of your breathing is easiest to follow, whether it is the sensation of the air moving in and out, or the sensation of you chest rising and falling …. Whatever works best for you….

Focus your attention on your breath and notice, moment by moment, the changing sensations in your body as you inhale…. And exhale….. Inhaling….. And exhaling…

(Pause) Our minds are thinking machines, and they will tend to go back to thinking about the past or planning for the future. When we notice that our thoughts have wandered, gently but firmly put the thought aside… you can think about that later…. And bring your attention back to the breath. Don’t judge yourself… it is normal for our thoughts to wander… just be aware and bring your attention back to the breath, as often as is necessary… continuing to inhale…. And exhale.

Imaging your consciousness is riding your breath as a surfer rides the waves. Rising and falling.. Present in the moment… right here, right now

(Pause) If you notice your mind has wandered, put the thought aside and return to the breath.

(Pause) and repeat several times…

Now lets bring our attention back to the room… You can wiggle your toes and your fingers. Stretch your back and your neck, and when you are ready, open your eyes and return to the room.

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