Let’s look at the three steps for great meditation posture that I teach all my students.
To be sure, we aren’t talking about the different meditation postures – I have an article on that. Instead, we’re talking about what we do once you find your posture, once you’re sitting, kneeling, standing or lying down. If you haven’t got a meditation posture that you like, read that article and play around with the various postures.
But it’s not enough just to sit, or kneel, or stand, or lie down. You need to run these three steps once you’ve chosen your posture. Do these before you begin your meditaiton. Let’s get to them.
3 Steps for Perfect Meditation Posture
Posture is the first port of call in meditation, and these three steps are a huge help.
Meditation Posture Step 1: Spine
You want your spine to be straight while the rest of the muscles in your upper body remain relaxed. The spine should work independently, able to stretch up without other body parts straining.
When you begin your meditation, stretch upwards through the spine before letting your weight sink downwards, relaxing chest, shoulders, arms and stomach as you do.
For alertness and poise, it’s crucial to check your spine position regularly. If you find it has slumped, run this step again.
Meditation Posture Step 2: Head and Face
Once your spine is fully erect, it’s time for Step 2.
Let’s get the head in position. It should be level with the floor and in line with the back. Too far forwards or backwards and you’ll strain your neck.
The face tends to be tense in daily life, and you’ll find it tenses up during meditation. Relax eyes, cheeks, mouth, jaw, and any other tense areas. And to keep it that way, don’t strain to concentrate with your face, but with your attention.
Meditation Posture Step 3: Arms and Hands
Let’s move down to the arms and hands. Loosen your arms and let gravity take over. Check that your triceps, biceps and forearms are loose.
Though it looks spiritual, it’s not comfortable to have your hands held at chest height with thumb and index touching. In fact, I don’t think it’s necessary to use any fancy mudras.
Unclench your firsts. Your hands can rest flat on either thigh, or on your lap with your fingers all touching. You can also rest one hand on top of the other with both facing the ceiling.
Things to Remember for Meditation Posture
Now you’ve learned the three-step posture process, I want you to keep these principles in mind too.
I think it’s crucial you know the goal of having perfect meditation posture.
It’s not to look cool. It’s not to follow some dogma. So what is the goal? It’s simply so that you can maintain strong attention and feel comfortable.
Sure, your attention level will rise and fall, and you’ll likely still experience discomfort, but a good posture gives you the best chance of having a productive session.
Free of Tension
A main goal of these instructions is to help you sit with no tension in the body. This helps you maintain the posture for a long time, encourages the key skill of equanimity, and means you won’t cause yourself unnecessary pain.
Let gravity take care of your body. You don’t need to tense up or strain to concentrate better – in fact, this has a detrimental effect on attention. Be loose and alert, not tense and straining. Relax downwards, into the posture, not upwards.
Symmetry is a key feature of all the postures we look at below. Your weight should be distributed evenly on either side of the body. The head should sit nicely on top of the neck, not lopsided. Your hands and arms should be symmetrical.
Not only is it much comfier this way, you’ll find that a symmetrical posture will help you maintain attention.
I also suggest you regularly check in with your body to make sure you’re in the right position. It’s common for the spine to slump, the head to come forward, and the face to tense. Whenever you notice this happening, correct it.
I encourage you to find the right posture for you, then run this three-step process, keeping in mind the extra tips I gave you. Do this right, and you’ll be well on your way to great posture.
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