Body Scan Meditation
- Participate in a guided body scan session to explore sensations in different parts of their body
- Foster feelings of peace and relaxation
When students participate in mindfulness programs at school, researchers have found numerous benefits, including increased cognitive performance, calmness, and emotional regulation, and decreased stress and tiredness. Thus, we encourage educators to implement mindfulness practices, such as the ones below, throughout the school day.
To learn more about this skill, and how it promotes students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.
- Introduce the practice to students by explaining: “Let’s take a short break to relax and calm our minds. To do this, we’ll observe how different parts of our body feel, which will help us feel more connected with ourselves and the present moment. Don’t worry if your mind wanders, and just gently bring your focus back to the sensations in your body. I’ll guide you through each step of the exercise.”
- Engage students in the body scan meditation by playing the video below. Alternatively, there is also a script that you can read to students.
- Afterwards, invite students to reflect on their experience by asking the following questions:
• What emotions did you feel during the body scan? Did you notice any specific body sensations connected to these emotions?
• How are our emotions and the sensations in our body connected to each other?
• Did the body scan meditation help you identify any areas of discomfort and stress in your body? Were there any particular actions that helped you reduce these sensations? (e.g., taking a deep breath)
- Begin by finding a comfortable place to sit or lay down, and take a moment to settle in.
- Place one hand on your stomach and take a deep breath. Inhale for a count of 4, feeling your stomach gently expand....and then exhale slowly. Let's do this together two more times. Inhale....and exhale. Inhale....and exhale.
- Gently close your eyes if you feel comfortable doing so. Otherwise, try to find a spot on the wall where you can softly rest your gaze.
- Notice the contact between your feet and the floor. Imagine that your feet are roots growing into the earth, anchoring you and connecting you to the world around you. Feel the gentle pressure, the stability, and the support of the ground beneath you.
- Now, we’re going to focus on different parts of our body and notice any sensations that we feel in them. It’s okay if you don’t notice anything in particular - just observe with an open and curious mind without judgment.
- Start by bringing your attention to your toes. Do you notice any particular sensations, like a gentle warmth or faint tingling? Allow your toes to completely relax.
- Slowly shift your focus to your feet. Feel the weight of your feet on the ground, and the sensation of your socks or shoes against your skin. Breathe in....and slowly breathe out.
- Move your attention up to your ankles and lower legs. Observe any sensations you feel there, and let any tension to melt away, leaving your legs to feel relaxed and soft.
- Shift your focus to your knees and thighs, and imagine a gentle wave moving through your legs, bringing a sense of calmness.
- Bring your awareness to your hips, then your lower back and abdomen. Take a deep breath....and as you exhale, release any stress, allowing your body to relax further.
- Move your attention to your chest and upper back. Notice the gentle expansion and contraction with each breath. Feel the rhythm of your breath.
- Bring your awareness to your shoulders. Allow them to drop and relax, releasing any tension you may be holding.
- Now, shift your attention to your arms, hands, and fingers. Notice any sensations you feel in these areas, and allow your arms, hands, and fingers to soften and relax completely.
- Finally, bring your awareness to your neck and head. Notice any areas of tightness or discomfort. As you breathe in, imagine a gentle wave of relaxation moving through your neck and head, soothing away any tension.
- Take a moment to feel your entire body, from head to toe, relaxed and at peace. When you're ready, slowly open your eyes, bringing your attention back to the present moment.
If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...
Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call.
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.
If students in either class don’t have individual devices...
Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.