You’ve heard of 8 minute abs, but have you heard of an 8 minute body scan?
Me neither; so I created this short embodiment practice that you can practice on your own when you’re feeling lost in worry, or perhaps a bit frantic and out-of-body.
In this audio, I’ll guide you to include the felt sensations of your body, from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head. This requires no special powers of concentration: just two ears and about eight minutes which, by the way, is the approximate time it takes light photons from the Sun to reach Earth.
See how much can happen in eight minutes?
A body scan shifts our focus from discursive thoughts to become more connected and at peace with our bodies. It’s amazing how our running monologue of once, fears, and plans quiet down to include our corporeal self.
I first became interested in body scans from the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction work of John Kabat-Zinn. I found that by including all the parts of my body, I felt more calm and whole. Think of this brief body scan as a rebalancer after a day spent worrying, planning, and managing. Our body is the portal to being present and the place where we experience joy. It’s good to feel yours.
I recommend being in a quiet room, though there is nothing against trying this on the subway with some headphones as well.
By the way, the eight minutes is arbitrary; you can practice shorter or longer sessions depending on your mood and schedule.