Guided Body Scan Meditation for Beginners

By Heather Stang, MA, C-IAYT

Posted: February 12, 2016

Guided Body Scan Meditation for Beginners

Download this guided body scan meditation for beginners to your computer or mobile device by pressing the down arrow in the upper left corner of the audio player below. This track contains instructions for practicing the body scan followed by a complete guided experience that focuses on the direct experience of breath and body in the present moment. While the goal of the body scan is not relaxation, some listeners may find it relaxing. May be practiced laying down or seated.

We have our body with us all of the time – but how often have you had an “out of body” experience – or felt like a head on a stick? When we take time out to deepen our awareness of our body we become more intimate with this moment as well as our own life force. It also gives you the opportunity to understand how stress manifests physically, and you may even receive powerful guidance from your body.

Mindfulness of body utilizes your bones, muscles, joints, and organs as objects of concentration, just as you would use sound, sight, or any other sense consciousness. The formal way to practice this mindfulness technique is the body scan meditation.

“When practicing the body scan, the key point is to maintain awareness in every moment, a detached witnessing of your breath and your body, region by region, as you scan from your feet to the top of your head.”-Jon Kabat-Zinn

Body Scan Meditation

The body is simultaneous solid and liquid. It is one thing made up of many parts. As with breath meditation, the goal with the body scan meditation is to simply notice what is happening in the present moment, without a need to fix, change or adjust. You can do it standing up, seated or laying down (Warning: You may fall asleep in the last position! Remember the goal is to try to “wake up” not “zone out”)

  • Find your position.
  • Focus on your exhales. Count up to 10 and back down again, then simply breathe naturally.
  • Systematically consider each part of your body, starting at the feet and working your way up to the crown of your head, or in reverse.
  • Simultaneously allow a portion of your awareness to anchor to your breath.
  • Notice how each part feels, without trying to change anything.
  • When you have completed your Body Scan, rest for a few moments with an awareness of your body as a whole.

Heather Stang, MA, C-IAYT

About the author

Heather Stang, M.A. is the author of Living with Grief and the guided journal, From Grief To Peace. She is the creator of the Mindfulness & Grief System that is featured in the Handbook of Grief Therapies (2023) and is the founder of Awaken, a mindfulness-based online grief support group. Heather also hosts the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, and offers mindfulness-based grief support online through her organization, the Mindfulness & Grief Institute. She holds a Masters degree in Thanatology (Death, Dying, and Bereavement) from Hood College in Maryland, and is a certified Yoga Therapist. She currently lives in Falling Waters, WV.

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