Join Arianna Huffington for an in-depth discussion in this video Guided body scan: Finding hidden tension, part of Arianna Huffington's Thrive 02: Learning How to Unplug and Recharge.
- Hi, today I'm teach you guys a body scan and it's very simple and I'll tell you why, 'cause you have a body. Now the reason we're going to do this is to find hidden tension and try to relax it because it's a bunch of these little hidden places that cumulatively start to wear us out so let's sit down for a minute, scan our body from the top of our head to our feet, when we find a place, we're going to stop, we're going to wear it out for a moment and then we're going to do it again, you're ready? Here we go. So come into a seat, put your hands on your knees, feet flat on the floor, and go ahead and close the eyes, please, and you can hear my breath, I'm sure, (heavy breathing) I want you to breathe like that, see if you can make kind of an ocean-sounding sound with your breath.
Close the back of the throat like you're gargling, and if you breathe through the nose, it will make this sound that you're about to hear. (heavy breathing) Or as though you're fogging a sunglass lens. But once you get your breath rolling, I just want you to find the feet flat on the floor and I want you to begin at the very crown of your head. And also, I want you to drop the chin parallel to the floor so you're not arching your neck back or collapsing your head. And from the crown of your head, I want you to slowly start to trace the body.
I like to imagine that someone poured oil on my head and it just slowly started running equally down the front of my face, the back of my head. So begin at the crown of the head, just slowly trace down. Notice if you're holding tension in your brow. Your brow is perhaps furrowed, see if you can soften the brow. And then see if you can soften, with the eyes closed, is ease the soft in the gaze. Let's see if you can soften the eyelids.
(soft piano music) And then when you get to the mouth, see if you're not clenching your jaw. I'm talking, of course, so my jaw is free but you could be sitting there gritting your teeth or pursing your lips, or even pressing your tongue against the front of your teeth. See if you can relax the mouth. Let the lips slightly part, allow the jaw to slightly unhinge. Let the face muscles soften, and when you get to the throat, see if you can just notice the throat.
You may have been subtle enough to notice the heartbeats in the arteries of the throat. As you move down, you carry tension in the shoulders. A lot of times, we wear our shoulders up by our ears, see if you can pull the shoulders back and shoulders down. (soft piano music) Can you feel the rise and fall of the chest on the inhale? And particularly the exhale, can you feel everything soften? It takes some practice but it will soften.
So as your shoulders roll back, can you feel the medial, the inner edges of the shoulder blades press against the back of the chair? And even if you're sitting cross-legged without a chair, you can feel the shoulder blades drawn back, the collarbones wide. Can you feel the bit of the firmness of the belly? Or perhaps how the belly draws to the low back in support. Can you feel the spine being very tall from the tailbone to about the base of the skull? And at the tailbone, can you feel the sit bones, those are the bones beneath the buttocks muscles that are pressing into the chair, or into the floor, can you feel those? And continue it down to the hamstrings, the back of the legs.
And in my illustration, you're sitting in a chair, the knees are at 90 degrees, can you feel the back of the knees and their bend? Perhaps see if you can scan the calf muscles, the Achilles, the front of the shins, down to the ankles, the heel of the foot, the pinky toe side of the feet, the big ball of the foot, the tips of the toes pressing into the floor or your shoe.
And then, can you come back to your breath? And now in a more state of relax, can you continue to deepen the breath? And then from there, go ahead and blink the eyes open, and really, that's it, just start at the top of your head and scan down to your feet, and then when you get to your feet, if you got more time, you're completely relaxed, scan from your feet back to the top of your head. And then when you get done, that's your body scan, you kind of know how you feel, so thank you.
- Reconnecting with yourself
- Identifying triggers
- Finding hidden tension
- Tracking energy and movement