Let's get down to the nitty gritty. You’ve heard about the benefits of meditation, so now you want to try it.
Many, many words have been written on the subject of #meditation, but the most important thing about meditation is that we actually do it and experience the benefits for ourselves. So, how? The Yoga Sutras attributed to the Indian sage and mystic #Patanjali is considered one of the most important works on the #yoga of meditation. It is both simple and complex. It can seem daunting, particularly to the beginner. So, let’s keep things really easy.
There are 3 main elements in the Yoga Sutras that help us in our meditation practice: #Asana, #Pranayama and #Samadhi. These are Sanskrit terms. To keep it really simple, let’s name them this way: Asana is posture. Pranayama is breathing, and Samadhi is the state of meditation. Now, of course, it is a lot more complex than that, but these names will serve us for now as we establish our meditation practice. Right now we are going to explore the first element: Asana or posture.
Have you heard of full lotus, half lotus, or perfect posture? These are classical Indian sitting postures used in meditation, and they involve crossing your legs in different ways and sitting on the floor. Now, you may find it easy to sit cross-legged on the floor, or perhaps like me, you find it a bit challenging. Here’s the point; sitting on the floor cross-legged is fine as long as it is comfortable for you and does not cause undue discomfort or pain in the body. Sitting on the floor can easily become an ego-trip. It's totally fine to sit on a chair if you need to. The most important thing is to find a posture that is comfortable and that keeps the spine naturally upright so the meditation energy can move freely.
Please note that when I say spine upright, I am not talking about a ramrod straight spine here. The spine is naturally curved. It needs this natural, gentle curve to effectively hold the body without strain. Experiment a little and find what works for you. You might find that sitting on the floor cross-legged is comfortable and works for you. Put a cushion or folded blanket under your buttocks to ensure your knees are lower than your hips; this will help you keep your spine naturally upright and maintain the gentle curve in your lower back.
You might find that sitting on a chair works better, particularly if you have not had much practice at sitting on the floor. The most important thing is to be both comfortable and alert. Find this balance. Sit comfortably upright. Feel your buttocks on the floor or chair beneath you. Relax your shoulders. Fold your hands on your lap or rest them gently on your knees. Relax your jaw. Slightly tuck your chin in towards your chest so that your head is bowing a little - this will naturally elongate your neck and relax your jaw. Relaxing your jaw helps your entire body to relax. Now, let's experience posture and feel how it supports our #meditation practice.
Exercise: Steady Posture + Breathing Meditation
Duration: 5 - 15 minutes (a time that works for you)
Sit comfortably with your spine naturally upright. Settle into this posture. Take your time. Once you have established a steady posture, you can continue.
Become aware of your breathing. Close your eyes. If your mind wanders, simply bring it back to the #breath.
As we are focusing on posture, pay particular attention to how you are sitting and how it affects your meditation.
This is a very simple way to meditate. You can gradually increase how long you do this when you are ready. You might like to write about posture in your meditation diary. I will write more on the benefits of keeping a #meditationdiary in a future post. In essence, it is a tangible record of your meditation experiences and progress. It is a very valuable resource to have and to refer to as your meditation practice grows and deepens.
Enjoy your exploration of meditation and posture.The best time to begin meditation is now. The most important thing is to meditate regularly. The benefits of meditation accrue over time and add great beauty, serenity, and joy to your life. Give yourself this gift and see what happens.
Best wishes to you for your practice of meditation!