It’s rarer to see people overarching in meditation than it is to see them slumping. Usually overarching results from people sitting too high.
The meditator in this photograph is sitting too high (notice the exaggerated height of his seat). What results from this is that the pelvis tilts forwards. In order to avoid falling flat on his face, the meditator leans back, causing an exaggerated hollowing in the lower back.
Over-arching can result from:
- Sitting too high
- Having too much of a slope on your seat
- Habitual over-arching
There should, of course, be a normal, gentle hollowing in the lumbar region (it’s called the lordotic curve) but exaggerating this will cause a painful “pinching” in the lower back.
Over-arching can also occur when the angle of the seat is too steep (this also throws the weight forwards, so that the meditator has to lean back, causing excessive hollowing).
And as with slumping, over-arching can also be a simple postural habit.
The solution for over-arching is generally to adjust the angle of the seat or (and this is more common) find a lower seat, or to make an adjustment to the angle of the pelvis.
You write about sitting crossed-legged in the tailor position. Would you say something about sitting in the Burmese posture? I’m trying to find the least taxing position sitting on the floor (as I feel more grounded on a cushion, than sitting on a chair or even on a meditation stool). Many thanks! Miriam
Hi, Miriam. I’m afraid I’m not a good person to ask, since I never sit cross-legged. There are some instructions here, and no doubt elsewhere as well. Hopefully those will be helpful.