sit comfortably: One of the most important aspects of a sitting meditation
is to be able to sit comfortably, without an aching back, or legs hurting or
going to sleep. If you are in pain or great discomfort, the only thing you will
be meditating on is that! Options for sitting are in a chair, or on a meditation
bench, or on a pillow on the floor. Most westerners are not trained from birth
to sit comfortably on a hard floor. So a chair is probably best for most of us,
beginners or otherwise-and many very great meditators with many years experience
use a chair or stool for their meditations. It is not a sign of lack of
meditative ability if you are unable to sit in the lotus posture or any other
floor sitting position.
sitting: Get a fairly straight-backed chair and sit forward in the chair so
that both feet are flat on the floor. If your feet do not touch the floor, get a
shorter chair or place a pillow or two under your feet to raise them so that
your thighs are parallel to the floor. Do not lean against the back of the
chair! The idea is to sit with an upright, un-supported spine. However, if you
are not used to sitting this way, or if you have weak neck/back muscles or
injuries, there are ways to overcome this challenge. Get a firm pillow of some
sort (the crescent shaped ones are very good for this) and put it between your
back and the back of the chair. The feeling you want is that of support, but not
leaning into it. Move the pillow around until you achieve this feeling. If you
want to place a pillow in the seat of the chair, to cushion a too hard surface,
that is fine. Meditate for short periods of time in the beginning and work up to
longer amounts of time. This way your back muscles will strengthen gradually.
Yoga stretches and other such exercises also strengthen your back muscles with
time and regular practice.
sitting: Meditation benches are a wonderful invention for making the legs
feel comfortable and un-pressured and keeping the spine
up-right. Finding the
right size and height is important. Padding on the seat often helps. Adding
small pillows under the knees or ankles might facilitate your comfort also. If
you have never tried a bench, please be sure to experiment with one. Some people
comfortable sitting cross-legged on a pillow. The crescent-shaped or
round-plump pillows are designed to help with this position.
Experiment! Have a chair, lots of pillows, a bench and whatever else you
want to try. When one position becomes tiresome, calmly
switch to another.
Eventually you'll find the best one for your body-type. Remember everybody's
body is different.
blanket or two: Many yogis recommend sitting on a wool rug, blanket, or
piece of silk. Also the place you meditate should be a little
on the cool side
with a source of fresh air if possible. Thus another blanket or warm meditation
shawl should be handy to wrap up in.
The body does cool down a bit when you sit
still for a while, so a wrap is often important to maintain an even body
temperature. Get comfortable, but stay awake and ready!