Mar 28, 2014
Jean Erlbaum’s Sit With Less Pain is subtitled “Gentle Yoga for Meditators and Everyone Else.”
As most meditators know, finding a comfortable way to sit in meditation for long periods of time can be challenging. We can end up futzing around with our equipment, trying out different chairs, benches, and cushions, and constantly adjusting the height and tilt of our seat, and still find that we end up with sore shoulders, or a sore neck, or an aching back. Often the problem is that we’re expecting a body that lacks flexibility to be still for long periods.
Sit With Less Pain addresses that problem, offering us exercises to bring more flexibility to the …
Dec 17, 2013
One of my students recently commented: “I regularly have to readjust my posture, which slightly changes now and then without my noticing it. These readjustments distract me from focusing on the body/breathing.”
What I suggested was that she might usefully reframe how she was seeing this situation.
If you’re being mindful of your body and making adjustments to your posture, then in a very important way this isn’t distracting you from your body. Making readjustments like this doesn’t even have to take you away from your breathing, since you can maintain awareness of your breathing and make adjustments in your posture in time with the in-breaths and out-breaths. For example …
Aug 28, 2013
Some months ago I was sent a Mayu Bench to try out and review, but somehow the review slipped off of my schedule.
Of the two benches pictured, mine is the tall one on the left. It’s a solid and stable meditation seat, and may be particularly suitable for people who find sitting on cushions or kneeling benches difficult. It allows you to sit much as you would on a chair, but with the advantage that the seat slopes forward, allowing you to have the spine upright without any effort. (Western chair design leaves much to be desired; the typical flat seat causes the pelvis to tilt backward, making it hard, …
Jan 11, 2013
I wrote a few weeks ago about the Kindseat, which is a new design of meditation seat that allows for both cross-legged sitting and kneeling (seiza) positions. It’s undoubtedly the most comfortable meditation seat I’ve ever used, and I can’t imagine ever needing another meditation bench. I wish I had two: one for home, and another for the office, where I often sit.
I’ve been through a number of meditation seats in the last 30 years. I had a couple of home-made benches, but those were non-adjustable. …
Jan 03, 2013
Welcome 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 …
Rick Hanson PhD
Nov 12, 2012
What’s in your own backpack? If you’re like most of us, you’ve got too many items on each day’s To Do list and too much stuff in the closet. Too many entanglements with other people. And too many “shoulds,” worries, guilts, and regrets.
Remember a time when you lightened your load. Maybe a backpacking trip when every needless pound stayed home. Or after you finally left a bad relationship. Or just stopped worrying about something. Or came clean with a friend about something that had been bothering you. How did this feel? Probably pretty …
Nov 09, 2012
The manufacturer of a new meditation bench, the Kindseat, kindly sent me a “review copy” a few weeks ago. I’ve sat on nothing else since I received it, except when I’ve been visiting my local Dharma center, and the only reason I haven’t taken it to my local Dharma center is absent-mindedness. This is, I’m quite sure, the last meditation seat I will ever buy. It’s the ultimate in meditation hardware.
What has it replaced? It’s replacing a damn good meditation bench. My current (or, I should say, previous) bench is adjustable. It was made for me by a friend and has adjustable “feet” on the front and back, so …
May 18, 2012
One thing I noticed a long time ago was that the position of my head during meditation made a surprising difference to my state of mind. If my chin was down even a fraction of an inch, then I’d tend to get tired, or to get caught up in often very heavy emotional story lines, full of drama. If my chin was up even a fraction of an inch, then I’d tend to get lost in thoughts that were generally more speculative and excited. Chin down focuses our energy on the emotions; chin up puts more energy into our thoughts. This is perhaps why when someone’s depressed we tell them to …
Mar 26, 2012
Can’t seem to find a comfortable way to sit in meditation? Here’s something really simple to try. It’s actually a mindfulness practice in itself. It’s a way to balance your natural ability to relax with the forces of gravity to find a well-aligned posture that’s effortless and free. I do this myself at the beginning of every sit, and find it really helpful.
For a visual cue, imagine your body as like a bunch of children’s wooden blocks, stacked one on top of another. It can rise up pretty high, as long as you place each block squarely on the one below. Gravity exerts a pull …
Mar 03, 2012
I have a vertebra that tends to slip out of alignment. Regular visits to my chiropractor keep it in place and prevent too much discomfort, but when I’m on retreat my back sometimes gets so painful that I have to lie down to meditate.
When I first had to do this on retreat, the posture that was suggested was the Alexander semi-supine position, where you lie on the back, with the knees bent and the feet flat on the floor, and the head raised on a cushion.
This is comfortable, but it’s very hard to stay alert in this position, and I’d tend to fall asleep. Even if I …