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Recommend a body-scan relaxation meditation?
August 8, 2011 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Recommend a body-scan relaxation meditation?

I'm looking for a meditation where you work your way through the body, relaxing as you go. I would call it a body scan, but I don't know that I'm using the right words: I downloaded one which was a 'think of your toes. Breathe into your toes..." type of thing, which isn't what I want. I'm thinking of something that gives you direction on how to relax...sort of like motionless yoga lying down. "Relax your jaw. Move your tongue away from the top of your mouth. Wiggle your shoulderblades down away from your ears."

Is a body scan meditation what I'm looking for? Recommendations?
posted by lemonade to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Body scan sounds like a good description of what it is. I've never given much thought into what it would be called, but the book Psycho-Cybernetics has a few ways to do this. The original text can be viewed here, for future reference.

Mental Picture No. 1
In your mind's eye see yourself lying stretched out upon the bed. Form a picture of your legs as they would look if made of concrete. See yourself lying there with two very heavy concrete legs. See these very heavy concrete legs sulking far down into the mattress from their sheer weight. Now picture your arms and hands as made of concrete. They also are very heavy and are sinking down into the bed and exerting tremendous pressure against the bed. In your mind's eye see a friend come into the room and attempt to lift your heavy concrete legs. He takes hold of your feet and attempts to lift them. But they are too heavy for him. He cannot do it Repeat with arms, neck, etc.

Mental Picture No. 2
Your body is a big marionette doll. Your hands are tied loosely to your wrists by strings. Your forearm is connected loosely by a string to your upper arm. Your upper arm is connected very loosely by a string to your shoulder. Your feet, calves, thighs, are also connected together with a single string. Your neck consists of one very limp string. The strings which control your jaw and hold your lips together have slackened and stretched to such an extent that your chin has dropped down loosely against your chest. All the various strings which connect the various parts of your body are loose and limp and your body is just sprawled loosely across the bed.

Mental Picture No. 3
Your body consists of a series of inflated rubber balloons. Two valves open in your feet, and the air begins to escape from your legs. Your legs begin to collapse and continue until they consist only of deflated rubber tubes, lying flat against the bed. Next a valve is opened in your chest and as the air begins to escape, your entire trunk begins to collapse limply against the bed. Continue with arms, head, and neck.
posted by CZMR at 1:39 PM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The meditations would probably do what you said you don't like. I suggest you search for progressive muscle relaxation. This can be combined with hypnosis. I have a "tape" that does exactly this and it is very effective.
posted by PickeringPete at 2:09 PM on August 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's a lot of what you describe in mindfulness meditation. There's an excellent couple of guided meditations by Andrew Johnson that do exactly that. They're called "Deep Sleep" and "Relax," and you can get them as mp3s on Amazon or as iPhone apps. He has a Scottish accent, though, so if that's something you would find distracting, you may want to skip those. I find them very effective, though.
posted by katillathehun at 2:34 PM on August 8, 2011


And I left out a key sentence in my answer above. There's a lot of what you describe that you don't like in mindfulness meditation. However, the Andrew Johnson recordings are more like what you do want. Sorry for the confusion.
posted by katillathehun at 2:36 PM on August 8, 2011


hmm...sounds like you're looking for the nighttime version of the sun salutation (i had a yoga book once that had something like this...a short routine for right before bedtime)...why not take in a yoga class and ask the instructor after class if they have anything similar they could teach you?
posted by sexyrobot at 5:53 PM on August 8, 2011


Yes "body scan" is a correct term, and also you might like "progressive muscle relaxation." I found some free podcasts online, particularly I'd recommend George Washington University's counseling center's podcasts, available on their website or iTunes.
posted by radioamy at 5:58 PM on August 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


I really enjoy the free podcast Relaxation by Inner Health Studio. I think the episode titled "Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise" is exactly what you describe.
posted by ohohcyte at 2:51 PM on August 9, 2011


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