If you’re like me, you didn’t pay attention to your teachers. It’s not that what they had to say wasn’t important, it’s just that I had more important things to do. While I eventually did pick up whatever it was that they were trying to communicate, there were a few things like proper sitting habits that eluded my memory banks. And while years of yoga and the good old ergonomic chair did wonders in retraining my back, today if I’m not extra mindful of my posture during meditation, every now and then I find myself slouching, blocking the free flow energy from successfully moving up and down my spine.
Judith Lasater pens this recent Yoga Journal post on cultivating proper posture during meditation. A guidebook to sitting comfortably in meditation, Lasater points out that constructive sitting starts with the pelvis (aka the base) and moves out from there. In her article, Lasater gives detailed instructions on how to take stock and reposition your body should you find yourself somewhat off-center.
To improve your meditation position, first take stock. Sit in an easy cross-legged position on the floor without the use of any props and spend a few moments observing your posture. If you are like most of us, your knees will lift up higher than your pelvic rim, and your lower back will round. The first and most important step in correcting your sitting position is to elevate the pelvis. Start with three blankets which have been folded into a rectangular shape. Then sit cross-legged on the corner of the stacked blankets so that your buttocks are on the blankets and your thighs are off. (If you just sit on the edge of the blankets and not the corner, you may have many of the same difficulties you have sitting on the floor; everything is just raised higher.) Adjust the number of blankets in your stack until you find the appropriate height that allows your knees to drop lower than your hip sockets. (Remember the 125 to 135 degree rule!) Spend a moment noticing how your lower back feels. It should be arched slightly inward at the waist.
To maximize meditation benefits in your practice read more from Lasater on cultivating proper sitting in meditation here.