The Awareness Practice/Body Scan

In my classes I teach the Awareness Practice which involves bringing one’s attention to how the body is feeling on various levels: physical, emotional and psychological. Other teachers may call this the Witness Practice as it cultivates a sense of detached observation. A major component of this practice is the body scan – bringing detailed attention to all parts of the body in a progressive sequence. Below is a wonderful quote about the body scan from Jon Kabot-Zinn’s book Full Catastrophe Living (p. 89).

“When practicing the body scan, the key point is to maintain awareness in every moment, a detached witnessing of your breath and your body, region by region, as you scan from your feet to the top of your head. The quality of your attention and your willingness just to feel what is there and be with it no matter what is much more important than imagining the tension leaving your body or the inbreath revitalizing your body. If you just work at getting rid of tension, you may or may not succeed, but you are not practicing mindfulness. But if you are practicing being present in each moment and at the same time you are allowing your breathing and your attention to purify the body within this context of awareness and with a willingness to accept whatever happens, then you are truly practicing mindfulness and tapping its power to heal.”

‘Just wanted to share. Keep breathing and feel your feet on the ground!

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About Michelle

Michelle Stortz, C-IAYT, RYT500, MFA, is a certified yoga therapist specializing in yoga for cancer and chronic illness. She teaches in numerous medical settings throughout the Philadelphia area. Her teaching is augmented by her studies in meditation and Buddhism and her involvement with the Springboard Meditation Sangha. She leads retreats and group classes and works with individuals in private sessions.
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