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My Meditative Moments

Common Meditation Postures

by meditative - April 12th, 2010.
Filed under: Introductory Readings.
Most people who decide to engage in the meditation practice as part of their regular fitness/wellness routine typically purchase a Zafu (pillow) and Zabuton (mat).Whether you are using a Zafu or a block with a blanket, it is usually placed almost in the center of your Zabuton (Mat) or folded blanket. Listed below are some common meditation postures.

Half-Lotus Posture
Sit down on the zafu. Tuck in one of your legs. Place your right foot on your left thigh, or your left foot on your right thigh. Your knees should have contact with the zabuton (mat). This position is called Half-Lotus.

Assuming the Position
Keep your spine straight, shoulders down & relaxed, the back and neck in line with your spine. Rest the tongue lightly on the roof of the mouth. The eyes can be closed, or open but cast slightly down. Hands rest against the body, two or three inches below the navel.

Meditation Mudra- Rest your left hand inside the right hand, palms facing upward, thumbs lightly touching. This is called the Cosmic Mudra, or Meditation Mudra.

Cross-Legged Posture- Here is another meditation posture. The legs are simply crossed. Hands rest on the lower thigh. Most important is keeping the back and neck straight.

Chair Posture- Some people are unable to sit on the floor. Sitting in a chair is a perfectly acceptable way to practice meditation. You should not feel self conscious if you must use a chair or think you will never be a “good” meditator. Most important is to keep a straight back and neck. Accessory cushions may be used for comfort and to adjust posture. In this photo, the model is using a square support cushion at the small of the back and a buckwheat support zafu (or firm pillow) under the feet.

Seiza Posture- This posture is called “seiza” (pronounced say’-zah) or kneeling position. Many people think you need a bench to sit in this position, but you can use a zafu to sit seiza, too. If you experience pain in the front of your ankle or top of your foot, in seiza position, try letting them slope down the back of the zabuton as the model demonstrates in this photo.

Listen toYour Body- When you begin practicing meditation, you should expect to feel some pain during sitting – much as you would if you took up a new sport. Remember that it is ok to change positions if you experience pain. You may even try standing behind your cushion for a while until you feel ready to sit again. It is important to accept your body as it is and to be gentle with yourself. Meditation is a life-long practice. The Heart Sutra says, “No attainment,with nothing to attain”. In time your body will become comfortable with sitting and you will look forward to “assuming the position”.

Lying Position- Sometimes due to illness or accidents, it is not possible to sit upright. In that case, you may practice meditation lying down. Again, it is important to keep the back and neck straight and to stay awake. Below we show a model lying down on a yoga mat, but you could use a couple of blankets folded length wise as well.

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