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Meditation Exercise - Shavasana Meditation

The Body Scan (Shavasana meditation - a meditation lying down)

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Shauna & Robert Kendall
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The Body Scan - Meditation

Shavasana is one of the most important poses in yoga, because its' purpose is to release built up stress and bring the body/mind into total conscious relaxation.

The best way to practice this exercise is for someone to take you through it. The next best way is to slowly read this onto a tape/cd and play it back to yourself. Also have some relaxing music playing in the back ground.

The exercise needs to run for at least 20 minutes, 30 is even better. Give yourself breaks or time to process on the tape so you have time to practice and focus on what is being said.

So let us begin......

Begin by lying in the shavasana position, that is flat on your back on the floor, arms slightly out from your body and palms up, legs apart and relaxed. You can place a cushion under your knees to relax your lower back.

Breathe in and out slowly and deeply. Focus on the feeling of gravity relaxing and pulling down on your spine, feel your whole body sinking into the floor.

On each of the following contractions, hold your breath in for a slow count of three.

  • Bring your awareness to your feet. Flex your right ankle and tense your foot. Hold the tension and count to three, then release, letting all the tension flow from your foot.

  • Flex your right calf muscle and hold, then breath out and release, letting all the tension flow out through your foot.

  • Tense your right knee just slightly and contract your thigh muscle tightly. Tighten your whole leg. Then, release and feel the tension flowing down your leg and out of your toes, Give your leg permission to relax, let gravity take over, let your leg go completely.
    Notice how your right leg now feels compared to your left leg. Does it feel heavier and more relaxed than your left leg?

  • Repeat this procedure with your left leg, give your legs permission to relax. Notice how both legs now feel feel equally relaxed. If there is any tension breath deeply into your legs surrendering them to gravity. Remember always to breath deeply and slowly breathing out any tension remaining.

  • Now squeeze your buttocks one at a time and then together as tightly as you can. Release and feel the tension flowing away.

  • Move up to your lower abdominal muscles and squeeze them as tightly as you can. Release, breath out and feel the tension flowing down into the earth.

  • Contract your upper abdominal muscles, up to your rib cage, draw your navel back toward your spine as far as you can, then breath out and release, allowing all the tension to drop away.

  • Bring your awareness to your back muscles. Tense your back muscles and then as you breath out let your muscles sink down into the floor. Visualise your body being carried by the earth, give it all over, relax and let go. Nothing to do, no where to go. 'Just be here now'. Feel each muscle and bone becoming heavier and looser, sinking into the floor.

  • Contract your chest muscles as tightly as you can, then release, breathing out the tension as you let go to gravity.

  • Next, bring your awareness to your shoulders. Tighten your right shoulder muscle. Then release, letting the shoulder sink into the floor. Feel your arms become very heavy and relaxed, give your arm over to gravity.

  • Tense your upper arm muscles as tightly as you can, lifting your arm slightly off the floor. Then release, and feel the tension flowing down and out your fingertips.

  • Tense your lower arm, lifting it slightly off the floor. Release, and feel the tension flowing down and out your fingertips.

  • Make a tight fist with your right hand. Squeeze, then release, letting the tensions flow away.

  • Now, spread the fingers of your right hand wide and hold. Release, then feel your whole arm become very heavy, let it go, give your whole arm over to gravity. Notice the feeling of heaviness and relaxation in your right arm. Does your right arm and shoulder feel more relaxed than your left arm?

  • Repeat the procedure with your left arm. Then notice how both arms feel heavy and relaxed. Give yourself permission to relax and breath.

  • Your whole body is now feeling heavy and relaxed, your breathing is deep and relaxed. Breath into your body feeling how gravity helps your muscles let go, soften and relax.

  • Focus on your neck and head. Tense the muscles of your neck and throat. Release, and imagine the muscles letting go. Feel your breath moving in and out through your throat. With each breath out your whole throat and jaw are relaxing and letting go.

  • Clench your jaw tightly and scrunch up your whole face, then release. Open your eyes and mouth as wide as you can. Hold, breath out and release.

  • Your whole head and neck have now become very heavy and relaxed.

  • Each breath you take gives your body permission to let go and relax.

  • Visualise with each breath out, a wave of relaxation flowing from your head down through your body to your toes, and as you breath in, this wave flows up through your body relaxing each muscle, giving your body permission to relax, let go and surrender to gravity.
    You let your body be carried by the earth, you don't have to do anything for the next 20 minutes but breath and relax.

Where ever you sense tension, tense the area again, then breath out and release, continue to do this until all tension is gone.

Remember it takes practice.

Each time you do relax you are teaching your body how it feels to let go. If you have been holding tension in your body for along time then it will take time to teach your body a new way of being. We know from research that when you practice relaxation you are causing your brain's electrical circuits to change and are increasing the production of positive chemicals to be formed.

Remember it is ok to smile and have fun with this exercise. The message we want the body and brain to get is, that this is a time to rest and recharge. That is safe and can take time out to Relax and Enjoy. Recreation is re- creation.

So be patient and give yourself some time to fully feel the results of your practice.

Remember it takes between 10 to 30 days for the body to go through one complete blood change and over 2 years for the bones to completely change.

This type of Relaxation exercise has measurable physical benefits on the body.

It calms the nervous system - lowers blood pressure - improves blood flow to the heart - lessens fatigue - increases energy - improves the digestion - balances the hormones - Opens the energy channels (meridians) to free the flow of vital energy (chi/prana/ki) and most importantly relaxes and calms the Mind- Body-Spirit.

Yoga is also associated deeply with meditation .. to find a Yoga Class, please click >> Yoga

Article provided by:
Shauna & Robert Kendall @ HeavenEarth Healing Clinic

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