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Hit the ground sitting! Day 3 of our 100 Day Meditation Challenge

100 day meditation challenge 003Welcome to Wildmind’s first 100 Day Meditation Challenge, which has been set up to encourage people to establish a habit of daily meditation. For background on the challenge, including the “rules,” check here.

A lot of people think that they have to sit in some exotic position to meditate, but you don’t have to sit in lotus position or even cross-legged. In fact you don’t have to sit on the floor at all.

I’ve never had the flexibility to meditate for more than a few minutes in a cross-legged position, and usually use a meditation bench. Some people I know use chairs to sit in. When I’m teaching classes on Skype I’m usually in an office chair.

I’d encourage you to check out our posture workshop to explore the variety of ways that you can sit to meditate, and for trouble-shooting common problems.


You can use the comment form below to let us know how the Meditation Challenge is going for you. Have you managed to sit every day so far? How long have you been meditating for? What’s your experience been like so far. Remember: if you miss a day, just pick yourself up and carry on!

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About Bodhipaksa

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Bodhipaksa is a Buddhist practitioner and teacher, a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order, and a published author. He founded Wildmind in 2001. Bodhipaksa has published many guided meditation CDs and guided meditation MP3s.

He teaches at Aryaloka Buddhist Center in Newmarket, New Hampshire. You can follow Bodhipaksa on Twitter, join him on Facebook, or hang out with him on .

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Comments

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Comment from Mandy
Time: January 3, 2013, 4:40 am

Day 3 and going fine. Sat with feelings of panic in my chest yesterday. Tried to be interested in them and welcome them and was surprised to notice the strength of my rejection of them. A calmer sit today. Hope everyone is doing well.

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Comment from Sean
Time: January 3, 2013, 8:02 am

3/100 20 min sitting done.
I recently purchased a meditation cusion set which has greatly improved my comfort while sitting. I tend to sit “cross legged-ish”. This is a stable position I can stay in for the session comfortably.

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Comment from Andy R
Time: January 3, 2013, 9:15 am

3/100. (“Well done, old chap! Jolly good show.”)
This was a very “successful” sitting, where success is defined as noticing when your mind has wandered and returning calmly, without judgement, to mindfulness of breath. I did that about 100 times in the 30 minutes.

I remember one meditation instruction talk where the teacher said “Every time you do that, it’s like putting a penny in the piggy bank. You’re developing your powers of mindfulness and concentration.” So plenty of pennies in the bank today!

Amazing how varied it can be. Two days ago I had a very ‘settled’ session with far fewer wanderings. Though still plenty!

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Comment from Karuna
Time: January 3, 2013, 9:45 am

3/100
15-min breathing meditation during afternoon and 10-min walking meditation before going to sleep. Your today’s post makes me want to try new postures. I have two major problems during my sitting meditations (cross-legged posture): some tension in my back and pins and needles in my legs. My leg muscles are also stretched to keep my back straight, is it normal as I always read that muscles should be relaxed?

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: January 3, 2013, 10:06 am

It’s very difficult to make assessments about someone’s posture just by a written description, Karuna. It sounds like you might not have quite enough flexibility to sit cross-legged, but that’s just a guess. There could be other factors at work.

Muscles being stretched and muscles being tense are different things. One refers to external forces (including other muscles) pulling on the muscle to lengthen it; the other refers to the muscle contracting from within. I’m not sure whether you are saying your muscles are tense or stretched. Your posture might put a stretch on your legs, and that can be OK, but you wouldn’t want your legs to tense in order to hold you upright.

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Comment from Andrea
Time: January 3, 2013, 10:22 am

Since I already committed to myself to meditate 1 minute for each date in January (today will be three minutes!), I am unofficially joining the 100-day sit! As a newbie, I appreciate all the wonderful comments about posture and styles and CDs and timers and…for me…I am beginning simple. Sitting (I did my January 1 sit outdoors in the snow!) and using an iPad timer. Please send peacful wishes my way!

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Comment from Svetlana
Time: January 3, 2013, 10:22 am

http://journeyviamediation.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/day-3-od-100-2013/

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: January 3, 2013, 10:34 am

I’m glad you’re joining us, Andrea. For the purposes of the challenge, a “sit” requires at least five minutes, though :)

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Comment from Kerri
Time: January 3, 2013, 10:57 am

3/100
10 minutes of sun salutations, and then 10 minutes of sitting mindfulness meditation.
I am grateful for the ability to do these things and will continue to give thanks by using these abilities daily.

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Comment from Jay
Time: January 3, 2013, 11:03 am

My history of meditation has been spotty. Last year, for example, I had a “pattern” of sitting for 20-30 minutes a day for a few days, then miss an entire week, then sit for a few more days.
The 100-day challenge is a great idea (though it’s early to see whether it will get me, personally, into a positive habit). The Insight Timer app is also a helpful tool, partly for the actual timer and bells, but mostly for the ability to see a community of other meditators across the globe sitting “with” me. It’s encouraging (and somehow calming) to sit down in Brooklyn, start the timer, and see that so-and-so in Hawaii is currently sitting as well.

As far as posture is concerned, I sit cross-legged on cushions and have never had a problem, other than having to make a few minor adjustments.

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Comment from Holly
Time: January 3, 2013, 1:11 pm

I listened to a 12-minute guided meditation, then continued to sit after it was over. I was able to sit cross-legged on my cushion the entire time, but some days I can’t, so I just gently adjust my position, resting my back on the foot of my bed, placing my soles on the floor with knees bent. It’s really no big deal anymore, I don’t criticize myself for moving like I used to, when I thought I had to be tough and sit through the pain! Age will do that to you.

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Comment from Jeanette
Time: January 3, 2013, 4:19 pm

Thanks for this encouragement. My meditation has been pretty spotty the last 6 months so I’m grateful for this challenge. So far so good. Namaste.

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Comment from Heather
Time: January 3, 2013, 4:20 pm

Yesterday I took my 14 year old daughter to the buddhist centre as she’d been asking about my increased practice and I taught her how to sit. We did a short mindfulness of breathing and a little bit of metta bhavana. She really seemed to enjoy it and on the walk home bombarded me with questions which was great.
Today’s meditation was at home and for some reason my mind was working at supersonic speed. There’s a lot going on with work right now so I think I was distracted. I did 20 mins or so but didn’t really fully become still so I’ll have another go later! It’s really interesting to write about my meditation. I’ve been doing it for years on and off, but I think this 100 day exercise will be great to improve and develop my practice.

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Comment from Laurie
Time: January 3, 2013, 7:29 pm

I did 30 minutes this morning. I sit cross-legged or sort of a half lotus position. My knees do not go down to the ground, but my back is straight and I do not feel pain. I used to kneel over two cushions or a seiza bench, but that hurt my ankles. Thank you for your encouragement and guidance. I love reading about everyone’s experiences.

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Comment from Karuna
Time: January 3, 2013, 10:02 pm

Thank you Bodhipaksa for your answer. And thank you for clarifying the terms. As English is not my mother tongue, I may misuse some words. I apologize in advance for that ^^

In fact, if I completely relax my leg muscles, I feel my back bending. If I want to keep it straight, then I need to contract my muscles in my legs (so they are tensed, right?) and I also feel some kind of pain in the bottom of my back (in fact it’s not really pain but discomfort).

I have some back problems, so the sensation in my back may come from there. Maybe i should talk about it to my doctor? But I still wonder for my legs if it’s normal or not…

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: January 4, 2013, 12:26 pm

Hi, Karuna.

You shouldn’t need to tense your legs if you have your seat set correctly (right height, right angle) and if you have the flexibility. Unfortunately these things aren’t easy to diagnose unless I can see you. If you can get photographs of you meditating — taken from the front and side — I’d be happy to take a look.

A doctor shouldn’t be necessary…

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