The elements of a good meditation posture

woman in eagle poseThere are many different ways to sit for meditation, including using chairs, sitting astride cushions, using a bench, and various ways of sitting cross-legged from the simple tailor position to the full lotus.

I’m going to stress again that you need to find a position that is comfortable for you. Listen to your body.

Discomfort will distract you from your meditation and is also your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong (although you need to learn to distinguish — perhaps you can already — the discomfort of stretching from the discomfort of damaging pain; but we’ll come to that later).

We’ll look at common problems with meditation posture later, but for now, these are the things you have to bear in mind when setting up a posture that will allow you to be comfortable and to be aware:

1. Your spine should be upright, following its natural tendency to be slightly hollowed. You should neither be slumped nor have an exaggerated hollow in your lower spine.

2. Your spine should be relaxed.

3. Your shoulders should be relaxed, and slightly rolled back and down.

4. Your hands should be supported, either resting on a cushion or on your lap, so that your arms are relaxed.

5. Your head should be balanced evenly, with your chin slightly tucked in. The back of your neck should be relaxed, long, and open.

6. Your face should be relaxed, with your brow smooth, your eyes relaxed, your jaw relaxed, and your tongue relaxed and just touching the back of your teeth.

Next we’ll look at the most common ways you can sit, beginning with the easiest, and then we’ll look at some common faults in posture and how to correct them.