How to Do Progressive Meditation (And Why You Should)

How to Do Progressive Meditation (And Why You Should)

There are so many different types of meditation to choose from, and one of the more popular ones is the progressive or body scan meditation. This technique involves mindfully scanning your body for anything that is out of the ordinary including sensations of pain and tension. Progressive meditation helps you develop greater awareness of your body and allow you to feel more connected to your physical self so you can pinpoint what’s wrong, leading to better wellness of the mind and body.

If you’ve ever suffered significant physical pain, you probably know how it can negatively affect your productivity, mood and overall quality of life. People living with chronic pain are the ones most affected. Meditation may not necessarily stop the pain you’re experiencing but it gives you increased awareness of your emotional and physical state that it can alter the way you think about pain. And when it comes to meditation for pain, progressive meditation is most recommended by experts.

Getting Started

Think of progressive meditation as a mental X-ray that slowly scans your body.

  • The first thing you need to do is get comfortable. You may sit or lie down.
  • Next, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Pay attention to the sensation of each inhale and exhale.
  • Then as you continue breathing slowly, focus on one part of your body at a time. You can start with your head, neck, shoulders, left arm, left hand, right arm, right hand, your upper back, your lower back, your chest, your belly, and so on. Spend 30-60 seconds on each part.
  • Pay attention as your mind scans your body.  Open your awareness to sensations of discomfort, tension, ache or pain.
  • Acknowledge any sensation of discomfort or pain, and don’t judge yourself for having these sensations.
  • Continue breathing, visualizing the discomfort or pain decreasing with each breath.
  • Slowly let go of your mental awareness on a specific part of your body and continue with the next one.
  • When your thoughts start to wander, consciously bring your awareness back and focus on what you’re doing.
  • Once you’ve completed scanning, let your awareness move across your body for a few seconds.
  • Slowly let go of your focus and start to bring your awareness back to your surroundings.

Tips for Beginners

If a body scan meditation doesn’t seem to make any difference in your first few tries, don’t worry. It usually takes a bit of time to notice any benefits. But do keep in mind these tips:

  • When it comes to meditation, there’s no single “correct” approach, and it’s always different for everyone.
  • Aim to meditate at the same time and same place daily.
  • You can set aside 10-15 minutes to meditate. The key is to do it consistently.
  • Choose a place that’s quiet and without any distractions.
  • Try not to set any specific goals so as to avoid getting stressed when you feel like you’re not getting closer to what you set out to do.
  • Just keep an open mind and learn more about yourself and your body.

Meditation is a wonderful wellness practice which you can do at home, in the office, while on a train or in gyms like Fitness First. Make meditating a habit and find out for yourself just how much you can benefit from it.

Try this 15-minute body scan meditation:

Body Scan Meditation

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