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 “keep their chin up” … Read more »
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 straight down the middle of the stack that keeps … Read more »
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 didn’t fall asleep my head would … Read more »
Preparing myself with consideration of my back problem, balancing the pelvis, and seeing that my neck is as least as possible strained. I feel a slight tension in my belly and this possibly has to do with an expectation of resistance to listening once again to the instructions of setting up a posture, a resistance to resistance, i breath into it and i experience that the resistance doesn’t come.
For a moment i am aware that i am sitting a bit sloped, sometimes i have the impression that my right shoulder is hanging more towards the earth than my left one after the injury at work.
So adjusting this posture…
…sitting with … Read more »
Meditation teacher and life-coach Srimati offers a ten-stage guide to getting the most out of your meditation practice.
1. Decide what you are doing
Before you start meditating, be clear how long you will sit for and what kind of meditation practice you will do. Have a silent watch or clock within sight so you can open your eyes and peek at the time if you need to. You may notice that you soon don’t need a clock. Before long you will instinctively ‘feel’ that the time you’ve allocated is up and it’s time to come out of meditation.
2. Choose your time
It makes a big difference if you can stick to the same … Read more »
Research has confirmed what meditators have known for millennia — that body posture affects mental states.
Researchers found that people who were told to sit up straight were more likely to believe thoughts they wrote down while in that posture concerning whether they were qualified for a job.
On the other hand, those who were slumped over their desks were less likely to accept these written-down feelings about their own qualifications.
The results show how our body posture can affect not only what others think about us, but also how we think about ourselves, said Richard Petty, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Ohio State University.
“Most of us were taught that … Read more »
In these extracts from a forthcoming book from Shambhala Publications, the late Chogyam Trungpa defines his vision of the peaceful Buddhist warrior and explains the joys of the warrior’s path.
The warrior’s weapons
If victory is the notion of no enemy, then the whole world is a friend. That seems to be the warrior’s philosophy. The true warrior is not like somebody carrying a sword and looking behind his own shadow, in case somebody is lurking there. That is the setting-sun warrior’s point of view, which is an expression of cowardice. The true warrior always has a weapon, in any case … The definition of warriorship is fearlessness and gentleness. Those are your weapons. The … Read more »