So you have started meditating, and you want to learn how to sit for meditation with perfect posture? Well, we don’t want to sit with perfect posture so we feel proud about ourselves and feel superior. Perfect posture just means that you are in such an alignment that you don’t have to use any muscular effort to maintain that meditation posture. That’s where I recommend a meditation stool.
No matter if you use a stool, meditation pillow, or simply the bare floor, you should feel just fully supported by your skeletal structure. There’s not one ideal meditation posture for everyone, however there are five key principles that almost any posture you take, should follow so you are ideally positioned.
Five principles to great meditation posture
Principle one is that you can’t be sitting with your feet way out in front of you during your meditation practice. Your soles of your feet pointed that way if you do that you know things aren’t supported well and you’re eventually going to get some ache in your knee or some ache in the side of your foot so the first thing you want to do is actually take the sole of your foot turn it up to the sky and pull it in as tight as you can so I point it almost underneath myself if I can I’m on some kind of an elevated surface it’s not important if it’s a cushion or a specialized cushion or anything just an elevated surface soles of the feet turn up the first principle and are tucked in close and then I let this knee drop down to the ground then I take the other sole of the foot turn it up to this guy pull it in close set it on top of that other ankle and then let it fall just in front of that ankles so my ankles are not stacked on top of one another one is in front of the other and their turn sole up
Principle number two which is the knees have to fall lower than the hips if you see these pictures of people meditating and they’re sitting on some beautiful cliff there like this that’s not sustainable even this is not sustainable and these have to fall lower than the hips right now my hips my hip joint is lower than my knee joint I could add the opposite effect so one is you got to sit on an elevated surface we turn the soles of the feet up tuck it in close soles of the feet up tuck it in close the knees fall down and then they become lower than the hips when that happens.
Principle number three happen which is my lumbar curve is neutral it’s if you look from the side you can see what I’m talking about I’ve got this natural gentle lumbar curve it’s not excessively arched because I’m pulling myself into that position trying to have good posture and it’s definitely not rounded like this where I’m slumped and then my upper back is going to start to get sore and then next going to start to get sore it’s perfectly kind of natural and neutral and when that happens when you have that natural neutral lumbar curve upstream of that everything just kind of aligns really nicely my shoulders naturally are open
Principle number five what you do with your hands is kind of dependent on the length of your arms. If you’ve got really short arms you might have your hands here you got a little bit of longer arms maybe you had your hands here you want to feel a little bit more grounded, and your hands can go down. I prefer that my hands are open and facing upwards. This then biomechanically externally rotates the shoulder, which in turn, stabilizes the shoulder joint and opens the chest.
Embracing all of the above is going to be the most sustainable position and it requires the least muscular effort for your meditation posture. I can just relax and try to let go of all muscular effort and I naturally stay in good posture. I find that I can sustain this position for an hour or longer as you practice more and more. Your hand position can vary however those five principles you should employ whether you’re sitting in a chair, sitting half lotus or full lotus, or on a meditation stool.
A meditation stool is fantastic for posture
Speaking of meditation stools, the common ones have one side lower than the other, so when you’re sitting if you’re facing one way it is the low position and when you’re facing the other way, it is the high position.
When you’re using a meditation stool it takes it takes the load off of your lower legs. If you can sit on one in meditation, it is very comfortable and a great way to meditate. You simply put the right big toe on top of the left, relax the feet, relax the lower body and really feel kind of grounded and solid.
However most people can’t do this for long – I can’t do this for more than just a very short meditation – I feel my feet kind of saying that they’re going to go to sleep. If you use a meditation stool, and you find the right stool that has the right angle for you, the right height for you then it is awesome.
I meditate on a meditation stool very often and so in this position there’s a little bit of weight on my knees. The weight is really being supported by the meditation stool itself and so the only thing that’s happening with my ankles is that they need to be able to pronate, you know, have the flexibility to let your ankle flatten.
When you’re sitting in a meditation stool one of the things you have to look for is a way to support your arms. In some positions I really just relax my hands and what happens is that this is not a good way to meditate.
You could put your hands inside of your shirt, you could put your hands inside of a jumper or you could have a blanket wrapped around you and make a pocket in the top. You know, kind of like fasten the blanket or sit on it a little bit so that you have a pouch to rest your hands in.
The secret is to not strain your neck and your upper back, and having the arm weight support it in any sitting position. If you don’t have the flexibility to allow your ankles to flatten out (a lot of people don’t), then you can use a blanket or two.
Let’s talk a little bit about adjusting the height on the meditation stool itself. Whatever stool you’re using, if I want it to be lower I can just turn it around and it’s lower. It can be half an inch lower and I can feel the difference. So, why would you want it to be lower? If the meditation stool is too high, it puts too much weight on your knees. If it’s too low, then it gets into where it feels like it’s smashing your ankles and it’s just a matter of finding the right thing for you.
The other thing you can do besides adjusting the way you turn the meditation stool if you have one of these is you can adjust the way you use the blanket. I like when I meditate on the meditation stool, to not be right on a hard floor. However, if I want to bring my meditation stool my seating a little bit lower I can just go get the blanket so the blankets around my feet and it’s not underneath the meditation stool.
So get yourself a meditation stool, experiment with posture, use blankets or use props and figure out what works best for you and your posture. Happy meditating!