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Poor Interoception

If you have just started practising body-scanning, you are likely to experience initial difficulties feeling body sensations in some body parts, which is an ability called interception. Low interoception is normal and is to be expected. The reason for this is that although we can easily feel strong sensations in the body, we are not used to feeling more subtle ones because the parts of the brain which let us feel certain body parts are not very strongly connected. The brain needs to connect more nerve cells in certain areas to allow us to feel body parts that are initially difficult to feel.

As mentioned earlier in relation to dealing with thoughts, scanning the body in order to feel sensations is a bit like bringing your brain to the gym. It becomes easier with practice. However, some people do not progress readily or may even decrease their ability to feel body sensations because of a decrease in vigilance during practice.

To overcome the lack of sustained attention and interoception, ensure that your posture is appropriate, as explained earlier in the section on drowsiness. You may prefer to sit on one or two thick cushions on the floor rather than on a chair – a small degree of discomfort is an advantage in our ability to remain aware of body sensations. Whether sitting on a chair or the floor, your buttocks must be slightly above the level of your knees and your back and neck must be kept straight, without straining. In addition, trying to keep completely still during practice is likely to help in feeling more sensations.

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