Meditation Forum

Vipassana Meditation Forum => Meditation, Practice And The Path => Topic started by: John Bruzi on October 05, 2017, 03:37:41 AM

Title: Posture problems
Post by: John Bruzi on October 05, 2017, 03:37:41 AM
For a long time now I've been meditating while lying down on my back (even though, when I started years ago, I used the lotus position). It's a very comfortable that way and it seems it's the only way for me to properly relax all of my body parts while meditating. They say this way of meditating has the disadvantage of making you fall asleep, but that's never been a problem for me. The only problem I've faced because if this meditation position (lying down) is that I can't go to sleep without my brain going on "meditation mode", which doesn't let me sleep.

Also, I've recently come across some material that says meditation should only be done while sitting up straight, and that lying down doesn't count as meditation at all. So I decided to reform my practice by going back to sitting up straight. But this is when I came to realize that relaxing your entire body is practically impossible if you're sitting up straight. You can relax your shoulders and arms without any problem, but the moment you try relaxing your spine you start loosing balance and will perhaps even fall back. Which brings me to my question: are you even supposed to completely relax all of your body parts during meditation, or only some of them?

Also, I'm getting those tense feelings in my neck, even though I'd be relaxing it, not tensing. Where have I got it wrong gents?
Title: Re: Posture problems
Post by: Dharmic Tui on October 06, 2017, 06:51:32 AM
Gents? What if a lady answered?

There's a lot of different schools around this. Ideal seems to be lotus position, but I'm an adherent of "do what's comfortable without nodding off". So I normally sit on a comfy couch, but with my feet on the floor and my head unsupported.
Title: Re: Posture problems
Post by: John Bruzi on October 07, 2017, 03:46:21 AM
Didn't mean to imply that hehe. My bad. Thanks for the input.
Title: Re: Posture problems
Post by: Alex on October 07, 2017, 04:49:25 PM
Obviously meditation can be done by lying down, walking or standing as well. You write you’ve been meditating lying down, so you can be the judge of what this has enabled you to develop.

Do we have to relax all body parts? Compare to standing up: postural muscles will be active to maintain posture, but you don’t deliberately engage movement muscles. Same applies for sitting, but this depends on several conditions (among other): what are you sitting on? (is this supporting the forward tilting of the pelvis?), flexibility in e.g. hips (otherwise you will have to maintain a forward tilt of pelvis). And “proper” alignment of spine (lumbar spine in neutral stable position, dorsal spine that can move inward so chest feels open).
When all this is in place, it is easier to feel alert and relaxed at same time.
You can explore all of this in body work like yoga.

I sit on bench (seiza) or on chair (back unsupported). On chair I will need to put a little bit more effort into tilting pelvis forward in order to allow lower back to find its natural position until postural muscles take over. Postural muscles can maintain their activity for very long time. Movement muscles can't.
When I am too preoccupied with alignment in specific part of my body, sometimes I will also get tension, so best advice for me is “to sit as naturally as possible. Let the body set itself, check if I feel comfortable, and then let go of posture.”

And, when I look around on retreat (including teachers), I don’t think perfect posture (whatever that is) is that important…
Title: Re: Posture problems
Post by: Laurent on October 07, 2017, 06:36:14 PM
You can find some answers by reading littératures about zazen posture in zen meditation. Buddha said that meditation should be like this luth string, neither to tense nor too loose.
To me, physical relaxation, or posture effectiveness are only results from meditation, not meditation itself. Meditation is about mind. Developping mindfulness and calm in the mind will also increase harmony in the body and posture will naturally improve without asking any questions about it. You can also develop mindfulness in any posture, even walking, but the most efficient posture is sitting, where stability and release are perfectly balanced. But remember that mindfulness can be practiced in any occasion or position. You can purify mind and body by keeping mindful to them the more often you can and you should find a gradual improvement of your meditation, mentally and physically.
Buddha said that correct attitude with the body is detachment. It is important to not traumatize body, but one should remember that it is impermanent and dissatisfying