Last week you increased your veggie consumption, today we look at a simple way to bring more relaxation into your day.
The Body Scan
Gathering attention on physical sensations of the present moment is a route to relaxation. This technique can be a form of meditation, a way to slow down the mind in preparation for sleep, or as in day 17’s challenge, to increase enjoyment of exercise. Most of us carry around unnecessary muscular tension which saps our physical, emotional, and mental energy. The body scan triggers the relaxation response, countering the reality of a stress-inducing, industrial life.
Body awareness has been a repeated technique throughout this month-long challenge, feeling into our senses shifts our mindset, creating a sense of pleasure and comfort in the feeling of relaxation.
How to body scan for exercise:
Before working out, take a moment to sweep your attention through your body, noticing physical sensations as you move from head to toe. You might experience tingling, heat, pressure, tightness, or nothing at all. Whatever the sensation, experience it as if you are looking around a room, noting the furniture. Just a matter of fact, this is how my body is right now. No judgment, no sense that it should be some other way. This can take as little as one minute to as long as you like.
If you are doing the NY Times Wellness Challenge you can follow their links to guided three and twenty-minute versions of the body scan. Or try Tara Barch’s eleven-minute version here.