For thousands of years, the primary posture for meditation has been the lotus or half lotus position. One could wonder if that is simply because people sat on the ground indian-style for the most part. But, in fact, there are many good and even important reasons to use the classic meditation posture if one can. And if not, then, it is worth while to use good erect sitting posture.
- The mountain of stability: Sitting lotus forms our body into a mountain-like shape or pyramid. Just as a mountain is immovable, lotus posture helps all of our dense and subtle anatomy align and coordinate so as to provide tangible stability to our meditation session. Also, just as a pyramid magically attracts and distributes refined energies, sitting lotus attracts the energies of the higher states of Being into one’s dense form. Then, lotus asana helps the bio-energy fields distribute those refined and higher energies through the cells, blood, heart, brain, and mind, then outward to the environment and others. While meditating, we are like a pyramid and its capacities with energy. Of course, we need to have cultivated some skill in meditation, but that’s easy enough. Simple time, effort, patience, and steadfastness will accomplish that. This blog makes meditation easy.
- Confidence: We feel taller and more confident when we stand up straight. Equally, an erect and coordinated sitting posture brings a similar feeling. We feel more confident in our practice and in our ability to use what we have learned or are learning.
- Alignment: Sitting erect, in lotus asana or upright in a chair, aligns the parts of our body.
- Our pelvic area serves as a bowl in which the whole Being resides. The pelvic area also serves as a foundation or provides the feeling of ground. Eventually, it is sensed as the Ground of Being. This area of the body is related to the first chakra.
- The area of the second chakra (from the hips bones up to the just below the navel) drives most of our attachments and desires. When, through a meditation practice, this area is tucked in, aligned to the core of Being, and experiences the satiety of inner presence, then our attachments and desires have less control. This is so during the sitting and, with repetition because of a daily meditation practice, our desire nature becomes less needy.
- The area of the third chakra is from the navel up and inclusive of the diaphragm. This area is the psychic center of our “me-ness.” Tucking in the tummy muscles and lifting the chest away from the diaphragm brings detachment and a feeling of perspective or relativity to the self-absorbed third chakra. The lifting of the chest occurs naturally as we tuck in the muscles below it. The body must expand and free its parts, one from another, because we are inviting Being to reside. Being is expansive. It needs more room. We also experience how contracted our sense of self keeps us as we work with lotus asana and its natural domino effect of alignment within the chakras and their related psychological states.
- The area of the heart chakra (fourth) is in the center of the chest and extends toward the throat. This area goes up to third rib generally. The heart needs room. As we sit in good asana, we expand our chest, lift our chest, drop our shoulders back and down, and feel our heart. It’s as if our heart can be more prominent energetically as a result. This effects our meditation session in many ways including: an increase in the feeling of peace, calm or composure, this brings more stability and space to the mind and its thoughts. Also, the heart is designed to be the largest oscillator within the body and within the spiritual life. Thus, when we align well, then the heart can engage that function. As a result, we experience more of our higher nature. A human being is a Being of profound capacity and qualities. Our challenge is that daily life keeps us in a very small box and keeps us using only a small quota of our capabilities. Our life also tends to be self-focused and thus self-consumed. The heart is non-personal and other-focused. All of this naturally is psycho-spiritually enhanced and supported through lotus asana and meditation.
- The area of the throat and neck relate to the fifth chakra. Good asana can help relieve shoulder, neck, and lower skull tension. This is a benefit to anyone. From an alignment point of view, the throat and neck area correspond to the lower part of the apex of a pyramid. In a respect, it is a second ground, a second platform of stability. If and when our meditation practice includes the use of chant, Oming, or mantra then the freedom of our throat area will be useful. Resonance will be experienced as energy as well as ease with the voice.
- The area of the brow is related to the sixth chakra. The brow center (chakra) is called ajna. It is in this location that we experience the clear light of mind and the expansive space of mind. It is here also that we cultivate focus and concentration such that eventually we no longer chase thoughts, try to brush them away, or let them go. Instead, and only with practice and patience, we will one day experience the luminous quality of mind free of chatter and flighty thoughts. That experience is blissful in its own right because our mind is rarely quiet or truly at peace. It is usually modifying or agitating (like a washing machine) about something. The ajna center and its clear cool light are necessary for any higher states of meditation, all intuitive processes, and all experiences of non-duality. Sitting in lotus brings the ajna into its proper position as the monitor of all that IS. Training our mind to get out of its own way is our responsibility!
- From the crest of the skull to the top center of the head is the area of the crown chakra. Sitting in lotus asana or erect in a chair aligns the crown center with the spine and the 1st chakra. This is important. We can imagine a perfect line of light going down the spine as a result. Within the subtle anatomy, the central channel is in this location and serves this function. Ultimately, good asana provide that higher will and purpose flow through our core and we experience ourselves sitting buddha-like, in perfect and composed awareness.
More can be said about good asana in meditation, but this gives some indications why it is important.
graphic: Meditation by Galifardeu at DeviantArt.com