Sunday, October 27, 2019

Elements of Good Meditation: Posture

According to Patanjali, it is only after perfecting one’s posture that one advances on the path of yoga. Breath regulation (pranayama), withdrawal of senses (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and realization (samadhi) are only possible for a meditator if he is able to perfect his posture.

On the question of what posture one should sit in, Patanjali states sthiram sukham asanam. It means any posture you are comfortable with. This does not mean that you can completely ignore the basics of posture.

Correct posture is about perfect stillness of the body. Think of an archer, a chess player, a mathematician, a scientist; how still they are when they are busy in their respective vocations. Stillness of the body fuels stillness of the mind and in turn stillness of the mind helps you be more still physically. They complement each other.

Perfection of the posture is essential for a serious meditator. It’s the prana of meditation.

An important point to remember is that your ability to sit still, the duration of staying in one posture increases gradually.

There are eight key elements of a good posture:

  1. Cross Legged
  2. Straight Back
  3. Relaxed Arms
  4. Joined Hands
  5. Straight Head
  6. Still Gaze
  7. Gentle Smile
  8. Position of Tongue and Teeth

With your legs crossed, hands joined, still gaze and straight back, channelization and retention of the energy occurs most naturally. With a comfortable posture and natural stillness, it becomes much easier to build the concentration required for great meditation.

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