In honor of International Women's Day we offer this Self-Compassionate Body Scan by Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RDN, CDN
Adapted from the forthcoming book, Eat to Love: A Mindful Guide to Transforming Your Relationship with Food, Body, and Life
Printed in Winter 2019 issue of Food for Thought: Weight Inclusivity
To rebalance your perspective on your body, try a self-compassionate body scan. Wear comfortable clothing and lie down on a supportive surface such as a bed or yoga mat. Take a few embodied breaths, focusing on the feeling of the breath entering and leaving the body. Bring the following statements to mind as you do your body scan:
My body is doing its best.
My body does not want me to suffer.
Feet. Skin, tiny bones, muscles, nails. Support, adaptation. Working together. Finding balance. Bunions, hammertoes, blisters, warts. Often unappreciated. Ankles. Bones, ligaments, skin. Bending, adapting. Accommodating.
Shins, calves. Skin texture and hair. Bones, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels. Muscles that carry me.
Knees. Bones, skin, tiny muscles, ligaments, tendons. Flexible. Absorbing shock. Communicating pain. Always adapting.
Thighs. Front and back. Body’s longest bones and biggest muscles. Workers. Storing fat for my safety. Skin, hair, stubble, cellulite. Stretch marks. Change, adaptation.
Hips, pelvis. Skin, hair, bones, muscles, fat. Protection. Center of gravity. Source of power. Vulnerability. Home of my sexuality. Creation, birth, pleasure.
Buttocks. Skin, fat, muscle. Cushioning, supporting, protecting.
Abdomen. Skin, hair, muscle, fat. Stretch marks, scars, freckles. Internal organs I never think about. Stomach, intestines, kidneys, liver, pancreas, uterus, ovaries, bladder. Adaptation, accommodation, change. Nourishment and growth.
Torso, chest. Skin, bones, ligaments, fat. Tiny muscles stretch and support. Ribs that protect. Heart, lungs. Breasts that grow and change over time.
Back. Bones, skin, muscle, fat. Freckles, skin tags, acne. Spine, vertebrae, nerves, sensory receiver, accommodator, shock absorber, workhorse, pain meter.
Arms. Upper arms, forearms, hands, fingers, nails. Skin, hair, fat, bones, ligaments, tendons. Biceps and triceps. Shoulders, underarms, nerves, and muscles. Connection.
Neck. Throat, voice, breath. Skin, bones, fat. Eating, swallowing. Constantly changing skin. Spine, turning, adapting.
Face. Skin, oily, ashy, dry. Acne, scars. Bones, hair, fat, muscles. Eyes, nose, mouth, eyebrows, eyelashes, ears. Cheeks, chin, forehead. Connection, expression, communication.
Head. Hair, color, texture, thick/thin, skull. Protection, perception, learning, change, connection. Home to the senses.
Close your self-compassionate body scan with a few more embodied breaths.