The Scripture ~ Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24
The Spiritual Focus ~ “Through repeated practice of the body scan, over time, we come to grasp the reality of our body as whole in the present moment.” John Kabat-Zinn
Breath Prayer ~ I am present
The Devotion ~ Throughout 2020, our devotions will explore various spiritual practices that guide us in whole body health and healing, connecting body, mind and spirit. Not every spiritual practice works for everyone, so the spiritual practices we offer each week are for you to “try on” in order to see if it is a practice that “fits” or works for you. Last week the devotion offered the spiritual practice of a daily prayer of blessing; this week the spiritual practice is “checking in” using the technique of a body scan.
Body scanning is practiced in many healing modalities. Pain management, addiction recovery and trauma-informed yoga are but a few integrative uses for the body scan technique. In yoga, the body scan meditation is a practice of checking in with our bodies and our minds so that we practice safely and so that we are more spiritually available to God’s presence. It is not unheard of for a student to wonder why an asana, or pose, that they have been very comfortable doing for years suddenly becomes unavailable to them in the present moment. Practicing a body scan and checking in on a regular basis brings us to the present moment. As Kabat-Zinn states, it helps us “to grasp the reality of our body as whole”.
It is particularly important to do a body scan before practicing yoga. Checking in serves to identify aches and pains, even unusual sensations, as well as noticing where your thoughts are tracking. Paying attention in the moment is precautionary and may prevent physical injury, but is also a spiritual practice because it offers us the opportunity to feel gratitude for our whole being.
As we come to our mats/chairs, begin the check in at your feet, wiggle your toes, move as your body needs you to. With each breath move up through the body pausing where needed to assert protection or offer gratitude. When you complete the scan, place your hands wherever you feel your center and open your practice with the expectation that God’s presence will sweeten your soul and make your body whole.