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How 'body scanning' should become part of your weekly practice

By Joseph Pond

Published 12/01/2016

Joseph Pond
Joseph Pond

New year’s resolutions often centre around the body.  For example, many of us want to lose weight or exercise more. Some of you will give up or reduce drinking to comply with the new UK guidelines and others will stop smoking. 

The late great David Bowie once said, “I re-invented my image so many times that I’m in denial that I was originally an overweight Korean woman.” While that’s clearly a joke, it has a ring of truth in that most of us are not in touch with our physical selves.   

Mindfulness offers a way to listen to the body. Particularly, the practice of “body scanning” allows one to connect with our core self and should definitely form part of your weekly practice.

To do a body scan, sit or lie down. I like to use the “echo” of touch to focus my attention.  To illustrate what I mean, recall how some forms of plankton are bioluminescent. After you lightly skim the surface of the ocean with your fingertips, the sea explodes in light.  In the similar way, placing your hands on your skin and then removing them also stimulates nerve branches inside, which of course sends waves of electrical impulses throughout your nervous system.

Start by placing your hands for a few seconds on your head, then remove them. Be mindful of the physical sensations.  There will be a subtle residual effect left over for a few short moments where your hands had been. Be mindful of it. Many people find this to be deeply relaxing.

When the “echo” of touch subsides, touch another part of the head. Do the same thing. Continue over your whole body, holding briefly as much of it as you can reach. Make sure your touch is done with equanimity, that is, with respect and empathy. If there is a part of your body that you don’t much like, lay that aside for the time being, bringing your attention to the warmth and compassion that resides after your touch. For many, this will be a highly enjoyable massage.

I’ll go over this in detail at my upcoming workshop. Contact me for details.

  • Joseph Pond is a clinical hypnotherapist, an acupuncturist, and a mindfulness instructor. He is co-founder of Hypnosis Explorers NI and conducts workshops in hypnosis with PowerTrance. Reach him at josephpond@ yahoo.com or at https://www.facebook.com/BelfastHypnosis/?ref=hl/?ref=hl

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