People often find it funny when I say that sitting meditation can be difficult. I mean how hard is it to sit still? But it’s true. When you tune into your body and sit in meditation for any length of time, I'd bet you're likely to become uncomfortable. That's why when coaching my clients we work together to find their optimal sitting position. Everyone is unique.
Me, I learned long ago that I can't meditate on a soft surface like my bed, couch or even a cushion because my body just wants to conform to the comfort of the softness and I just curl in, roll over and fall asleep. Don't get me wrong I love a good meditation when going to bed but I like to spend many hours each week in focused meditation. I don't want to fall asleep, I have an intention to attend to! I'm going to suggest that if you're like me and find it hard to sit cross-legged or kneel, you might want to try sitting in the Japanese kneeling position known as seiza on a cushion or a bench and I'd like to share with you now three practical reasons you should try it.
1. COMFORT!!! I learned the hard way that I can't kneel or sit cross-legged for more than 15 minutes before my feet and lower legs fall asleep. I don't know if you have ever tried to take a step without knowing you couldn't feel your legs.......man I came crashing down like a ton of bricks. Using a meditation bench relieves pressure from your lower back and knees, permitting good circulation and allowing the shoulders to naturally open up. Hello standing up after an hour meditation like I'm a kid in kindergarten again. WOOT! 2. IT'S ALL ABOUT YOUR SPINE The most common problem that happens sitting meditation is that because of the structure of our hips, or because of a lack of flexibility, our sacrum is positioned vertically instead of at a 30-degree angle. When this happens, our lumbar curve may hunch forward, making it take a whole lot of core strength to sit upright. When we use this much energy just to sit up straight, we end up struggling to simply sit, and we will get antsy pretty quickly. How comfortable you are when you’re practicing sitting meditation is largely determined by how you choose to sit. You need to sit high enough on a cushion or bench so that your pelvis, can tilt forward allowing the spinal curves above can fall into place. That is why meditation benches are designed to give us extra height, keeping our hips higher than the knees. 3. RITUALIZE YOUR MEDITATION and CREATE YOUR SACRED SPACE Meditation is the workout that allows us to cultivate awareness, and ultimately be more present in our lives. Spending some time in stillness each day allows us to bring this intentional awareness to our daily activities. When we walk past our desk, we may be reminded of the emails that still need sending. When we walk past the refrigerator, we're reminded to take something out for dinner or add something to the grocery list. By creating a ritual meditation space we can now be reminded of our intention to meditate often, each time we walk by. No matter what position or accessory you use, it's very important to discover the best support for YOUR body and YOUR practice. When you enjoy something you are far more likely to stick to it, meaning that you are more likely to amplify the extraordinary benefits from meditation. I Hope you found this useful and that you are encouraged to try something new in your meditation practice. Be Love & give kindness. Tanya Marie