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Finding Your Meditation Seat

Updated: Apr 10

Finding the posture that works for you is a game-changer for your meditation practice. We are all built differently, so its important that you explore what positions and adjusments allow your body to feel comfortable and supported during meditation. If you can settle into a go to meditation position early on in your practice it will make a huge difference in making meditation accesible, which in turn will encouraging your practice to grow and flourish.


A meditation posture should include three main qualities: ALIGNMENT, RELAXATION and STILLNESS


1) Alignment of the back, neck and head in a comfortable upright natural way, try to avoid hunching and leaning the neck forward, simply sit up straight with the chin slightly lowered. To help with alignment imagine a string attached from the centre of the crown and you are being drawn upward. Also try and raise the chest slightly to prevent slumping.


2) Relaxation of muscles, particularly the neck, shoulders, abdomen and face. The posture should be comfortable and restful, the arms should hang effortlessly, with the hands resting in the lap or on the knees. Once the body becomes relaxed and calm breathing will gradually become gentle, smooth and effortless


3) Stillness of body means stability, not easily moved, with a sense of balance. To find your centre of balance you can gently rock side to side and forward and backward until you find a sense of the middle of your posture. For the duration of the meditation try to sit still in this balanced position.

Eyes can be closed, slightly open or completely open, but should always remain relaxed and steady, even when closed.


Now lets look at some of the possible meditation positions and adjustements that will assist us in finding our own Alignment, Relaxation and Stillness


Common Meditation Positions to Experiment With


BURMESE SITTING:



Sit on the front edge of a cushion or block and bring one heel at a time into wards the groin so that one foot rests infront of the other, try allowing the soles of the feet to gently face upwards. The added height of the block will encourage the pelvis to tilt slightly foreward, allow a natural lift and arch in lower back while keeping the chest open.

Pros: Very stable, grounded and balanced, good for longer meditations, avoids any leg or foot numbness

Cons: Requires a fair amount of hip mobility before it feels comfortable, you may need to work up to this position gradually.



Sukasana ( simple crossed legs)




Crossing 1 leg at a time and line up your ankles roughly underneath the knees. let hips and legs relax and feel the knees soften towards the floor, relax your feet and ankles. Become aware of the sitting bones and try to balance your weight equally. Sit on a block or cushion to help the pelvis align, hips relax and spine to lengthen. add blocks under the knees for support if needed

Pros: - Relatively accesible and available to most people, good beginner position especially with the support of blocks, good for short meditations

Cons: - Not a very supported/balanced posture for long periods. after 15 minutes numbness or pins and needles in the legs may occur.


Japanese Sitting



Set up your support of 2 blocks or a bolster on your mat, from hands and kness crawl your body back until you can place you sitting bones down onto the blocks. bring the rest of your body into an upright position. Feel free to adjust the height of your supports until you feel comfortable.


Pros: Great beginner posture. By-passes any restrictions or tightness in the hips and pelvis. Allows for a slight natural forward tilting pelvis which gives the spinea sense of natual alightment, length and allows the back muscles to relax

Cons: Can be hard on the ankles or knees if they are sensitive (in this case use the padding of blanket below)


Half Side Position (Deer Pose)

Rest 1 leg across the front of your mat just as if you were setting up to sit cross legs. Then adjust the second leg to point slightly outwards with an internal rotation, rest the foot back beside the hips. Your legs will create somewhat of a figure 4 shape with the front leg externally rotted and the back leg internally rotated. Add any neccessary support under the hips to make the position more accesible and comfortable. this is a tradition posture used throughout Thailand, you many see many Thais who visit the temple sitting like this.


Pros: Moderatly accesible position, creates release in the hips and gradual increase in mobility. Good if you know you like to adjust position at the halfway point of your meditation.

Cons: Because the legs ar in different orientations, The practitioner will feel slightly lopsided and must ensure to do both sides equally.


Chair



Yes you can meditate in a chair!

Sit towards the front edge of the chair and avoid using the backrest which may encourage the urge to slouch or sink backards. Rest your feet flat on the ground, arms rest comfortable on your thighs and sit softly upright

Pros: The most accesible position that is most likely available to all practitioners, good for those who cannot find anykind of comfort in the floor seated positions.

Cons: Does not encourage the body to gradually get used to floor seated postions.


Resting The Arms



Added Tip: place a bolster or cushion on your lap for your arms and hands to rest on. This simple support is extremely helpfully in allowing the arms, shoulders and even the back muscles to feel rested and relaxed during meditation.


I hope you found this guide helpfull and that at least one of these meditation postures works for you. There is also the positions of Lotus and Half Lotus that may be suitable for more advanced practitioners. Remeber whichever position you use the 3 main qualities of Alignment, Relaxation and Stillness are always applied.


May your meditation journey continues to grow and flourish, nourishing you and all those around you.


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