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Body-heart-mind scanning

Dear Integral Meditators,

Is it possible to release physical, emotional and mental stress in a single practice? This weeks article is principally a description of a meditation technique for doing just that, and implicitly building a stronger, more resilient body-mind connection within yourself.

In the spirit of an integrated body,mind and heart,



Body-heart-mind scanning

If you are familiar with mindfulness practice to any degree, then you will probably have heard of body-scanning, the practice of scanning through the different areas of the body looking for tension and consciously releasing it. In the technique below I describe a simple body-scan in conjunction with a ‘mind and emotion scanning process’ that enables us not just to ease physical tension, but also to become aware of and release tension within our mind and ‘thought-body’ as well as our emotions and ‘emotional body’. The aim and effect of this technique is to effect a greater degree of relaxation within ourselves, at the same time as synchronizing/harmonzing our body, heart and mind together.

The practice

Step one – The physical body scan
Sitting or lying comfortably with a relatively straight back, use your awareness to mentally scan progressively through each area of the body, from the crown of the head down through the face, neck, torso, arms, hips legs and feet. If you like as you are checking each part, you can first tense the muscles in that area to feel them fully, then relax them completely. This second ‘tensing and relaxing’ method is an option you can try.

Step two – Connecting to and relaxing the mind, heart and instincts
The mind – Having scanned through the body once, now focus your attention in the brain and forehead area. As you breathe in and out feel the brain becoming more and more relaxed. As it does so, feel yourself letting go of your thoughts and thinking; relax the mind as deeply as you can.
The heart – Now come down to the heart and chest area, as you breathe awareness in and out of your heart area, become aware of any emotions that may be present there. As you exhale, feel your chest and heart relaxing, and your emotions calming and stilling.
The instincts – The third stage in this section involves moving your awareness down into your belly and abdomen. Bring awareness to the rising and falling of the abdomen as you breathe. As you breathe in this way, become aware of the energy of your instincts and biological life force. As you exhale down in the belly, feel yourself calming your instincts and letting go of any primal, fight or flight tension.

Step 3 – Going deeper into mindful flow
In the final stage, pick one area of your body to focus on, the brain area, the heart or the belly. For 3-5 breaths focus upon the sense of ease and relaxation in that part of the body, then spend a few moments holding your attention still in that area. Repeat this pattern of 3-5 breaths followed by a few moments of still-attention for the remainder of the meditation, going deeper into a state of mindful flow.

Practising in daily life
In daily life you can do short periods of body-heart-mind scanning, with almost no extra effort. For example, if you were to do a 1-3-minute practice, once in the morning, afternoon and evening where you briefly scan and relax the body, then spend three breaths each relaxing the brain & thoughts, the heart & emotions, and the abdomen & instincts, this would have a tangible and positive effect on your stress levels and ability to stay centered under pressure.

© Toby Ouvry 2016, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings from November – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Saturday November 12th, 10am-5pm – Meditations for connecting to the Tree of Life, and growing your own personal Life Tree

19th November – One Heart Celebration Day (Joint event)

Saturday 26th November 10am-5pm – Engaged Mindfulness day workshop/retreat

Integral Meditation Asia

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