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Turn on the "calm"

Listen to the Body Scan meditation on my Free Meditations page. When I taught a class based on Jon Kabat-Zin's Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, a client said it was like she discovered she had a faucet in her mind to "turn on the calm." It had always been there, but she never knew it was there before learning the Body Scan meditation.


Here are the words I use for the Body Scan meditation. You can read them to yourself, or record yourself saying them and then close your eyes:

- Make sure you're sitting comfortably with both feet on the floor.

- If you feel comfortable doing so, allow your eyes to close

- Feel your weight resting in the chair, which is resting on the floor, which is resting on the Earth, and bring your attention to your breathing

- Notice your belly expand when you inhale and contract when you exhale, without trying to change anything

- There may be thoughts in your mind, or sounds in the background. That's fine, just let those things continue and bring your attention back to your breathing

- Noticing your belly expand when you inhale and contract when you exhale.

- See if you can find one spot, maybe in your belly, maybe in your nostrils, where you can track your breathing

- Bring all your attention to that one spot

- Notice the sensations there when you breathe in

- Notice the sensations there when you breathe out

- Remember that if you get distracted you can always bring your attention back to that one spot to track your breathing

- Sometimes one's attention is like a toddler or a puppy, running around and trying to get away

- Gently, with as much tenderness as you can, guide that toddler or puppy back, bringing your attention back to the one spot where you can track your breathing

- Now bring your attention to your feet and toes

- Notice the sensations in your feet and toes. Notice if they feel warm or cold, or maybe tingly.

- Notice the skin sensations where your feet are pressing toward the Earth or touching any surfaces.

- Notice the muscles and bones in the feet and toes.

- Then, letting go of the feet, bring your attention up through your heals and ankles, up your legs through your knees and all the way up your legs to your hips.

- Notice the bones and joints of the hips and legs.

- Notice the muscles around the bones.

- Notice the skin all around your legs.

- Notice if there is any tightness or tension in your legs and hips that doesn't need to be there right now, and let it go.

- Then, letting go of your legs, bring your attention to your fingers and hands.

- Scan through each of your 10 fingers one at a time.

- Notice the fronts and backs of your fingers and hands.

- Notice where they feel warm and where they feel cold, where they feel dry and where they feel clammy

- Notice the sensations of the skin where it's touching any surfaces or touching the air

- Notice the muscles and bones of the fingers and hands

- Then, letting go of the hands, slowly bring your attention up through your wrists and all the little bones in your wrists, up your arms through your elbows and all the way up your arms to your shoulders.

- Notice the bones and joints of the shoulders and arms.

- Notice the muscles around the bones, and the skin all around your arms.

- Notice if there is any tightness or tension in your shoulders and arms that doesn't need to be there right now, and let it go.

- Then, letting go of the arms, bring your attention to your torso and the front of your body.

- Notice the sensations in the front of your body, and inside the abdomen and chest.

- Notice the back of your body.

- Slowly scan up your spine, vertebra by vertebra, starting with the tailbone, the low back, the middle of the back between the ribs, between the shoulders, and all the way up your neck to your head.

- Notice the sensations in your neck and throat.

- Notice your skull and jaw, and the muscles and skin of your face and scalp.

- Notice if you feel tension or pain in any part of your body, and fill that part of your body with your breath, allowing it to relax.

- Now bring your attention back to the spot where you were tracking your breathing, just noticing the sensations of breathing.

- When you're ready, take a couple of deep breaths, maybe letting each breath out with a sigh.

- In a moment, I'm going to invite you to open your eyes, but you don't need to focus on anything.

- In your own time, very softly, allow your eyes to open, and slowly bring your awareness back to the outside world.


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