Body Scan Meditation

“One must do the same subject over again ten times, a hundred times. In art nothing must resemble an accident, not even movement”

Edgar Degas
a painting of a woman getting into a bath
Edgar Degas, The Bath (Le bain), c. 1895, Carnegie Museum of Art, Acquired through the generosity of Mrs. Alan M. Scaife

Become aware of the current sensations you feel in your body and explore your tensions with this body scan meditation inspired by The Bath (Le bain) by Edgar Degas. Follow along with the audio or text below.

Step-by-Step Meditation

Listen to Body Scan Meditation:


  1. Look closely at this painting. You may be aware that Degas is well-known for his paintings of ballet dancers, but he returned to nude subjects over and over during his career.
  2. Consider the above quote by him. Reflect on Degas’s process of revisiting a subject again and again and the repetition of observation required to create a painting such as this.
  3. Consider something that you do with repetition. How can you build more mindfulness and awareness into this activity?
  4. One way to build awareness into the present moment can be to focus on the sensations in the body.
  5. Close your eyes and start to scan your body.
  6. Begin at the top of your head and move your awareness down to your feet. Try not to change anything, just notice the current sensations you feel in your body.
  7. Scan your body again. This time, if you notice any bits of tension, stop in that place. Visualize yourself breathing space into that area of your body.
  8. Move as slowly or as quickly as you would like, stopping whenever you feel tightness in your body.
  9. Continue like this for as long as you would like, to build mindfulness into the present moment through the sensations in the body.

This work is on view in Scaife Gallery 8


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