Mindful hatha yoga: body scan to relax, centre and ground

By Lisa Brant | 15th December 2014
A photograph of women laying in the spanish sun

Amidst all the Christmas planning, parties, present buying and the general ‘busyness’ that takes place at this time of year, remember to take time out for yourself to relax and unwind. The body scan script below can be used at any time of the day to enable you to become aware and focused on your body, becoming present in the moment, giving you respite from planning and any mind chatter! We often practice a body scan at the start of a mindful hatha yoga class here at La Crisalida – the photo shows us lying down on the yoga terrace earlier this year. It is also a technique that can be used in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.

The idea of the body scan is to focus on each part of the body in turn, to explore the sensations and feelings in your body, without attachment or judgement.

You can do this body scan seated (cross-legged, or sitting on a chair with your feet resting on the floor), lying down (maybe before you go to bed or before you get up on a morning) or standing. Here we will do it standing. Take your time with this exercise, allow yourself 15 minutes if possible, or longer to really feel the benefit. You may even wish to record the instructions into your mobile phone device and play it back when you are in need of some relaxation

So, find yourself a quiet place, where you know you will not be disturbed. Make sure you are warm enough, and if you are lying down, make yourself comfy.

Come into a standing position, feel slightly apart, and close your eyes. Start to become aware of your physical body. Feel your feet touching the floor and start to explore how you are standing – are you balanced, or is your weight leaning forward onto your toes or back onto your heels, or to one side or the other. Take your time with your observation, then when you are ready, allow yourself to become balanced.

Take your awareness into your toes, feeling each toe in turn. Notice sensations of heat…or cold…aches….

Continue to scan your whole physical body being aware of any sensations. Working from your feet upwards, take time (maybe a minute) to check-in with each part of your body in turn:

Ankles
Knees
Thighs
Pelvis
Tummy
Lower back
Spine
Shoulders
Throat
Arms
Head

Observe whether you have any sensations of heat or coolness, tension, relaxation, comfort or discomfort. Notice any areas of pain or soreness, and if you find one, lean towards them softly with your breath.

As you focus on each part of your body in turn, when you feel any sensations of discomfort or tightness, direct the breath to that area, breathing in deeply, and on the exhalation, allowing that area to relax and release, maybe saying to yourself “Relax, let go”.

Then start to become aware of your whole body. Feeling the tips of the toes, all the way to the top of the head. Feel your awareness centred in your whole body.

Once you are fully aware of your whole body, imagine roots growing down from the soles of your feet, reaching down into the ground, rooting your feet to the floor. Feel the energy going down into the floor, then become aware of the energy coming back up from the ground into your body. Know that you are fully connected, inside, with yourself and with the earth. Know that you are fully supported by the very earth beneath you. Stay here enjoying the sensation for a minute.

Then soften your awareness and start to focus on your breathing. Become aware of the breath coming in and out of your nose. No need to hurry or change the breath, just observe.

Then gradually, notice that with each breath that you take, you can feel the energy flowing around your body. When you are ready, maybe stretch your whole body, and open your eyes.

Sit quietly for a few moments until you feel ready to carry on with your day.

This body scan is a great way to get in touch with the feelings and sensations in your body. The more you practice, the more your awareness will increase. Taking time out to breathe properly on a regular basis also helps to relax your body and reduce the feelings of stress. Do let us know how you get on. Namaste.

t for yourself to relax and unwind. The body scan script below can be used at any time of the day to enable you to become aware and focused on your body, becoming present in the moment, giving you respite from planning and any mind chatter! We often practice a body scan at the start of a mindful hatha yoga class here at La Crisalida – the photo shows us lying down on the yoga terrace earlier this year. It is also a technique that can be used in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.

The idea of the body scan is to focus on each part of the body in turn, to explore the sensations and feelings in your body, without attachment or judgement.

You can do this body scan seated (cross-legged, or sitting on a chair with your feet resting on the floor), lying down (maybe before you go to bed or before you get up on a morning) or standing. Here we will do it standing. Take your time with this exercise, allow yourself 15 minutes if possible, or longer to really feel the benefit. You may even wish to record the instructions into your mobile phone device and play it back when you are in need of some relaxation

So, find yourself a quiet place, where you know you will not be disturbed. Make sure you are warm enough, and if you are lying down, make yourself comfy.

Come into a standing position, feel slightly apart, and close your eyes. Start to become aware of your physical body. Feel your feet touching the floor and start to explore how you are standing – are you balanced, or is your weight leaning forward onto your toes or back onto your heels, or to one side or the other. Take your time with your observation, then when you are ready, allow yourself to become balanced.

Take your awareness into your toes, feeling each toe in turn. Notice sensations of heat…or cold…aches….

Continue to scan your whole physical body being aware of any sensations. Working from your feet upwards, take time (maybe a minute) to check-in with each part of your body in turn:

Ankles
Knees
Thighs
Pelvis
Tummy
Lower back
Spine
Shoulders
Throat
Arms
Head

Observe whether you have any sensations of heat or coolness, tension, relaxation, comfort or discomfort. Notice any areas of pain or soreness, and if you find one, lean towards them softly with your breath.

As you focus on each part of your body in turn, when you feel any sensations of discomfort or tightness, direct the breath to that area, breathing in deeply, and on the exhalation, allowing that area to relax and release, maybe saying to yourself “Relax, let go”.

Then start to become aware of your whole body. Feeling the tips of the toes, all the way to the top of the head. Feel your awareness centred in your whole body.

Once you are fully aware of your whole body, imagine roots growing down from the soles of your feet, reaching down into the ground, rooting your feet to the floor. Feel the energy going down into the floor, then become aware of the energy coming back up from the ground into your body. Know that you are fully connected, inside, with yourself and with the earth. Know that you are fully supported by the very earth beneath you. Stay here enjoying the sensation for a minute.

Then soften your awareness and start to focus on your breathing. Become aware of the breath coming in and out of your nose. No need to hurry or change the breath, just observe.

Then gradually, notice that with each breath that you take, you can feel the energy flowing around your body. When you are ready, maybe stretch your whole body, and open your eyes.

Sit quietly for a few moments until you feel ready to carry on with your day.

This body scan is a great way to get in touch with the feelings and sensations in your body. The more you practice, the more your awareness will increase. Taking time out to breathe properly on a regular basis also helps to relax your body and reduce the feelings of stress. Do let us know how you get on. Namaste.

Headshot of Lisa Brant - Founder of La Crisalida Retreats
Lisa Brant

Lisa has been working in the field of health for over twenty years, first as an epidemiologist and now following a more alternative route! She is a therapeutic hatha and yin yoga teacher and also teaches mindfulness meditation. Lisa is a nutritionist so designs all our menus, as well as running the retreats. She is also qualified in NLP and hypnosis. Over the years Lisa has overcome her own health challenges with severe endometriosis and is happy to share her story.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments
Find your balance with daily yoga classes
Find your balance. Yoga everyday.

 

La Crisalida is the retreat for you!

View all blog articles