Tuesday, January 19, 2021

20 for 2020: Number 16—Body Scan Meditation

In the court of meditation and/or yoga, I will be found not guilty. I will never be charged for spending too much time in the classroom of silence or the school of mindfulness. I wish I were different. I praise their value and preach their virtues and still, I am negligent of participation and practice. I won't even offer an alibi.
Shelter in place and the virtual classroom however has brought me as close as I may ever get. A good friend and colleague offered biweekly "Meditation with Mary." I showed up because I would prefer to be "guilty." I would like to latch on to this spiritual practice and discipline. During the darkest days, I can say I found one that resonates with me personally and with athletes. Thus, it is Sweet 16 on my 20 for 2020. It is a Body Scan Meditation and thanks to Mary, I am posting it here. 

I believe this meditation is a great exercise for student athletes. It can be used once a week or more. Perhaps you will use it with your team the day before a contest or a big game, at home or on the road. A coach, captain, manager or player can read it. Enjoy! Namaste.

Body Scan Meditation by Mary Reilly

This meditation helps us get in touch with our bodies, and focus on each part. It is important to just recognize, and not judge, how we are feeling. The mind has power to heal, make us feel strong, and is so connected with our souls. Remember, the Spirit of God is within us (1 Corinthians 3:16), so listening and acknowledging your body is key!! 

I hope this 5-10 minute Body Scan allows you to feel grounded and ready for your sport!


  • Ground yourself in God’s presence: become aware of God all around you and acknowledge that this moment is a gift. Plant your feet on the ground, close your eyes, and begin to notice your breath.

  •  Inhale and exhale...make your breath long and deep...inhale (4 seconds) and exhale (7 seconds)...continue this for about three long breaths.

  • Imagine you are breathing in something good and exhaling something you don’t need (for example: inhale love and exhale negativity).

  • Let thoughts come and go...your mind will try to take you away from the moment. It is OK and just gently bring your mind back to the breath/present moment.
Start body Scan: 

Begin with your feet and bring your mind to focus on the feet for a moment. 

  • How do they feel today? Our feet carry so much for us and we often don’t get to thank them. 
  • Take a breath and acknowledge your feet. Let the weight go from them.

Moving up, your legs do the same thing. 

  • Notice how your calves feel today. Is there tension there? Let it go. Relax. 
Knees and thighs: Repeat. Just take a breath and notice how your knee caps feel and then to your thighs. 

  • What do your legs need today?

Hips: Send your attention to your hips. Repeat what you did before. Just breathe. 

  • How are your hips feeling today? Let any tension in your hips go you might be feeling. 
Stomach and chest: Feel your breath within your stomach and chest. Feel it rise and fall. 
  • How are these areas feeling today? Let any tension in your stomach or chest go and just breathe. Create space.
Right Arm and Hand: Now move down your right side with your mind. 
  • How does your right arm feel? How does your right hand feel?
Left Arm and Hand: Repeat and notice any differences between the left and right.

Shoulders: Breath into your shoulders and let go of any tension you feel there. We carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, but for now just let it go.

Neck: Repeat, notice any tension in the neck, and let it go.

Face: Focus on your jaw, nose, mouth, and forehead. Let go of any tension and just  be.

Be grateful for your whole body.

Conclude with a final prayer and think of three things you are grateful for today. 

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