Body Awareness: Workbench Exercise

Fine-tuning our body awareness through introspection

This is the second Workbench Exercise of our Mindfulness for Men Course. This is a space meant for you to reflect and write down your thoughts, then optionally save (to your device) or print them. Note that nothing you write below gets saved by our site.

You don’t have to do a full debriefing like this after each body scan, but we think it will help you to slow down and more fully examine/develop your body awareness.

You may have noticed a wide range of body sensations from subtle to intense, pleasant to unpleasant, while in some areas of the body there may have been little or no sensations at all. The goal is not to feel any specific way, but rather to get better at noticing the qualities of the sensations that are present.

Beyond the body sensations that you notice, you can also notice how you’re reacting to them. For instance:

  • When paying attention to areas of no or neutral sensations, you may feel bored, or that your mind tends to wander.
  • When focusing on areas of discomfort, you may notice resistance, frustration, or zoning out.
  • When focusing on areas of pleasant sensations, you may find it more difficult to let go and move on to the next area of the body.

This is all great noticing – and all part of building your body awareness.

Lesson 2. Body Awareness: Workbench Exercise

Reflecting on Your Body Scan Practice

Take a few minutes to fill out this form. This will help you the next time you practice as you gain insight into what distracts you and what helps build your body awareness. 

Sensations in the Body (e.g., temperature, pressure, tingling, absence of sensation):
Thoughts (e.g., thoughts about the possible significance of body sensations, images of the body, planning or judging thoughts, anxious thoughts):
Impulses or Behaviours (e.g., to move, doze off, scratch an itch, stretch):

As you continue to practice the body scan, you can get to know your embodied experience, and your habitual reactions to that experience. You can also “strengthen the muscle” of recognizing and disengaging from reactivity as you explore an alternative response, bringing curiosity and acceptance to body sensations.

The body scan also involves letting go, as you release attention from one area of the body to shift attention to the next intended focus. Particularly when sensations are compelling in some way, whether pleasant or unpleasant, you may find it harder to let go. With regular practice, you can strengthen this skill of redirecting attention, which can help you let go of other gripping aspects of experience, such as depressed or anxious thoughts.

It may also be helpful to reflect on any challenges you faced, and if you did, how you could work with them.

The next page in Lesson 2 expands our body awareness practice to activities that you can more easily incorporate into your everyday life.