Wildmind Buddhist Meditation

Meditation Posture

Sit : Love : Give

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Spotting meditation posture bad habits

A lot of slumping and over-arching results from holding the pelvis at the wrong angle. So some slumping and over-arching can be corrected quite simply by changing your posture.

Again, it’s best to have an experienced meditation teacher check your posture, but if you can’t manage that then there are some self-tests you can do.

Slip your hand under your buttocks (I bet you never thought meditation was going to be so much fun!). There are two little bones that protrude downwards through your buttocks. We meditation teachers have a technical term for them: we call them the “sitting bones”. There’s probably a more anatomically correct term, but we get by calling them sitting bones.

If you can’t feel those bones then rock your pelvis back and forwards. Did I say this was going to be fun? You should feel the bones moving across the palms of your hands.

If the top of your pelvis tilts forwards (causing your back to over-arch), then the sitting bones slide off the back of your hands. If you tilt your pelvis backwards (causing the back to slump), then the sitting bones slide off the front of your hands.

When your pelvis is perfectly aligned, then the sitting bones point straight down into your hands (or your seat, once you’ve removed your hands!). This is what you want.

So, what you are aiming for is to have those sitting bones pointing straight down while your back is relaxed and at ease. This can be achieved when you have your seat at the right height for you, so play around with different heights of cushions or whatever, and see when your back is relaxed and your sitting bones are pointing straight down.

Another check is to repeat the exercise of tilting your pelvis back and forwards, but put your hands on the small of your back, noticing how it slumps when you tilt your pelvis back, and over-arches when you tilt your pelvis forward. When your sitting bones are pointing straight down, and when you have the right height and angle of seat, then the small of your back should have a gentle hollow, which is perfectly comfortable.

Comments

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Comment from Troy
Time: February 22, 2014, 12:09 pm

Hi. I’m a beginner and have been practicing daily for a week without a teacher. After my body has become rested, while meditating, and as I am able to concentrate more on my breath my body starts to lean forward more and more. I hear that a lot of people say that they think that there’s is moving forward until they see that it isn’t, but mine is actually moving forward. Its distracting me and causing me to worry about my posture instead of my breath. Why is this? What to do?

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Comment from Troy
Time: February 22, 2014, 1:12 pm

This is me again. Here’s more detail of my posture: I’m sitting in a chair. At first I was slumping with my back against the chair. Then I visited your website and followed your advise. Thanks :). Now I’m sitting in a chair with towels in it that sit 2 inches high so that my legs can arch down a little. I started having pain in my lower back and had a hard time not forcing myself to sit straight. So I raised the back legs of the chair up an inch. There’s no more pain in the lower back. :) Slumping is a habit for me. I keep leaning forward more and more while meditating(every time I get a good focus on my breath) unless I’m slumping with my back against the chair.

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: March 3, 2014, 10:15 am

So it sounds like you got things sorted out?

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Comment from vasanthi
Time: September 16, 2014, 10:14 pm

the overall idea here is ok but the narrative is not in alignment with the context of meditation.
“Slip your hand under your buttocks (I bet you never thought meditation was going to be so much fun!).” ????!!!!

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: September 18, 2014, 3:02 pm

Apparently not everyone shares my sense of humor.

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