I'm trying to practice Satipatthana meditation according to the book Satipatthana Meditation - A Practice Guide. In the book, Bhikkhu Anālayo teaches the contemplation of anatomical parts by body scan (Chapter 3, p. 53).
The mode of practice I recommend to get started takes the form of body scans. One body scan to become aware of the skin, another to become aware of the flesh, and a third to become aware of the bones.
During each body scan, one scans through major body parts (hair, face, neck, shoulders, arms, and so on, to feet) sequentially. And for each body part, one turns attention to the fact that it's "just skin/flesh/bones" and "impure/dirty/not beautiful/not sexually attractive" (p. 58, 59).
If we already tend to feel frustrated or even depressed because our body does not meet current standards of physical beauty and attractiveness, it would be unwise to employ the evaluation. Instead we might turn attention just to the fact that the body is made up of skin, flesh, and bones, which perform their function independent of what society considers to be good looks.
Based on such an assessment, some of us might feel ready to confront a tendency to sensual obsession in relation to the body. In such a case, it would be appropriate to bring in the element of evaluation. We might decide to use the terminology found in the discourse, “impure” or “dirty”, or else “not sexually attractive”.
There's also a guided meditation recording provided by the book publisher that illustrates the process.
I have following questions:
Am I supposed to verbalize the body scan process in my head? During my practice, I would move my attention to the next body part by mentally naming it (e.g., mentally saying "upper arm", "lower arm", etc.), then examine it by mentally saying "just skin/flesh/bones", "not beautiful", and try to contemplate on that at the same time.
Related to the 1st one, am I supposed to visualize each body part in my mind during body scan? Specifically, am I supposed to visualize the skin/flesh/bones of each body part? During my practice, it became quiet natural for me to imagine each body part's skin/flesh/bones since I needed to mentally say its name & focus on "it's just skin/flesh/bones".
Related to the 2nd one, can I really physically feel every major body part? For example, is it possible to feel skull bones, or bowels, spleen (which is even hard to imagine)? So in practice, I guess I had just imagined my skull or some other body part that is not very perceptible and contemplated based on that mental image rather than actual sensation. Is this the right approach?
Thanks in advance.