Author Topic: Adjusting posture during Meditation  (Read 12901 times)

thomas

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Adjusting posture during Meditation
« on: January 13, 2011, 06:17:49 PM »
Hello.

I'm new on here. I hope someone can advise me. I have two questions. I'll ask them separately.

First - Before meditating I try and find a comfortable upright, but not tensed position. Back as aligned as possible with head up. Within the meditation I become aware that i have slouched a bit. I suppose that any ammount of leaning will start to pull your body out of position requiring effort to pull it back.

My question is, in your opinion, should i conciously readjust (how the hell do you spell that) my body or allow it to slouch.

I have been allowing it to slouch, being aware of it but letting it be. I feel that if I adjust (thats right isn't it.. ? adjust.. ajust.. no! adjust!) I'll take a step back out of my relaxed and meditative state of mind.

thanks for reading.

I'll ask my other question on another page
 ??? ???
back to the breath... and back to the breath....  and back to the breath.... and back to the breath..... and back to the breath

ivana

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Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2011, 06:48:59 PM »
Tomas,I am waiting a reply for your post as well.

soma

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Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2011, 07:12:36 PM »
Hi Thomas, and hi Ivana too  :)

When you notice that you slouch, very slowly and mindfully readjust your posture and also notice when you do this how it immediately affects your state of mind, your attentiveness, your wakefulness.

It takes some time to learn to sit with a straight yet relaxed back but it is well worth the effort to learn this as this will increase the quality of your sits and also affect your posture off cushion.

I do not know what you are sitting on but it will be easier for you to sit with a straight back if you sit so that your hips are above the level of your knees (thick cushion or anything that gets your bum high enough above the floor) which should be on the floor and not in the air as this will make your posture unstable.

Also sit on the edge of the cushion so that it pushes you forward a little.
If you sit right on top of the cushion and maybe even your thighs rest on the cushion a bit you will notice that it will be unstable and hard work to keep a straight back for longer time

Experiment until you find it.

all the best

soma

p.s. if you do not have a suitable cushion you can put two phone directories on top of each other and a folded blanket on top of them and you will have a great sitting-thingy.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2011, 07:19:04 PM by soma »

budo

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Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2011, 08:37:52 PM »
Hi,

You should let it be as thinking about your body while meditating will distract your development of concentration. You should work on straightening you back when you are not meditating, like at the gym. However, while you are meditating your mind should only be focused on the development of concentration.

When you notice bodily sensations, such as slouching or movement or anything, simply note it, accept it, and return to your breath.

Budo
« Last Edit: January 13, 2011, 08:42:38 PM by budo »

Matthew

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Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2011, 08:53:30 PM »
Search the forum for "posture" - there is lots already written on the subject.

Budo is right about posture off the cushion. ... You'll find a lot on the subject using the search feature. Search from the homepage for best effect or it just searches the board you are on.

Warmly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Morning Dew

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Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2011, 08:58:56 PM »
Quote
You should let it be as thinking about your body while meditating will distract your development of concentration.

What budo is trying to tell you is next;
for example if you fall a sleep while meditating and fall of the cushion onto the floor do not get up re-adjusting you posture, instead you should let it be as thinking about your body will distract your development of concentration.

LoL I am sorry I just find this sooooo funny. It must be the dopamine from todays intense meditation LoL

As always friendly Che ;)

soma

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Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2011, 11:18:37 PM »
Budo is right about posture off the cushion. ...

No, he is not !  ;D

I'll get back with a more elaborate reply tomorrow.  :)

kidnovice

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Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2011, 01:39:36 AM »
Quote
You should let it be as thinking about your body while meditating will distract your development of concentration.

What budo is trying to tell you is next;
for example if you fall a sleep while meditating and fall of the cushion onto the floor do not get up re-adjusting you posture, instead you should let it be as thinking about your body will distract your development of concentration.

LoL I am sorry I just find this sooooo funny. It must be the dopamine from todays intense meditation LoL

As always friendly Che ;)

As always, cracking me up. And its a good point. Don't take anything to extremes!
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

kidnovice

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    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2011, 02:00:55 AM »
Hello.

I'm new on here. I hope someone can advise me. I have two questions. I'll ask them separately.

First - Before meditating I try and find a comfortable upright, but not tensed position. Back as aligned as possible with head up. Within the meditation I become aware that i have slouched a bit. I suppose that any ammount of leaning will start to pull your body out of position requiring effort to pull it back.

My question is, in your opinion, should i conciously readjust (how the hell do you spell that) my body or allow it to slouch.

I have been allowing it to slouch, being aware of it but letting it be. I feel that if I adjust (thats right isn't it.. ? adjust.. ajust.. no! adjust!) I'll take a step back out of my relaxed and meditative state of mind.

thanks for reading.

I'll ask my other question on another page
 ??? ???

Thanks for posting your question, thomas. This is definitely one of those things that you should figure out for yourself. There is no right or wrong answer. But it certainly helps to hear how other people approach the issue of changing the body's position. This issue becomes more tricky as discomfort/pain manifests. Then, you have to decide when is the right time to shift? Never? Whenever the impulse arises?  Only when the agony becomes absolutely unbearable? The answer is to do whatever is most skillful for you at the time. Know yourself.

Here is my approach...

Above all, I prioritize my awareness. I watch it, I shape it, I try to tune into it, I try to keep it calm and kind. Everything else is secondary. But just because something is secondary, doesn't mean it doesn't matter. If I'm in pain, but I notice that my awareness is calm and kind (which happens more often than you might expect once you start getting the hang of watching the awareness), then i don't move. If my awareness is becoming progressively more strained and tense, then I will typically move.

Like you, I occasionally catch myself slumping forward (or sitting bolt upright). If I am in a state of calm and focused awareness, and I suspect that this awareness is so fragile that it may be lost if I move, then I don't move. What's the harm? If my awareness is more stable, then I might move slowly in a way that does not break my concentration. But it all depends on how I'm feeling. Of course, if unhealthy posture happens ALL the time, then it could be a problem. But if it happens every now and then, I would just let it go.

Incidentally, I might suggest experimenting with shifting your posture mindfully. See if you can do it. What kind of movements can you do without causing any real break in your awareness? How much can you move? You also might think about doing some walking meditation. Not just because its good for you, but because it gives you practice integrating meditation and movement.

With metta,
KN
« Last Edit: January 14, 2011, 02:06:38 AM by kidnovice »
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2011, 06:56:22 AM »
Budo is right about posture off the cushion. ...

No, he is not !  ;D

I'll get back with a more elaborate reply tomorrow.  :)

I didn't say he was right about paying no attention on the cushion !! Just that he was right about paying attention off the cushion. Elaborate, elaborate ..
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Stefan

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Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2011, 07:54:20 AM »
right, never go to extremes ....
in this very special moment, would it distract you more to stay in you slouched posture or change posture back to normal?
do it or not, as you feel it's right at this special moment ...

I asked our teacher about movement during meditation.
1) Under regular circumstances, No.
2) If meditation impossible (due to a fly on the nose), then Yes.
3) If movement neccesary, then you do it as Soma described above. Moderate, mindful, relaxed.

As far as I understand it, there are no extremes in Buddhas teachings.

With Metta!
anicca

soma

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Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2011, 02:45:14 PM »
No need to elaborate - kidnovice put it well  :)

Morning Dew

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Seiza Bench
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2011, 03:04:50 PM »
I used to slouch forward very often when I started sitting crossleged. I also had lots of troubles with pins in my leggs going totaly numb etc.

All this went away when I made my self this seiza bench used in zazen;


Links to DIY Seiza bench;
http://www.embody.co.uk/blog/post/how_to_make_a_meditation_stool
http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/meditation-bench.html

Friendly Che

« Last Edit: January 14, 2011, 03:12:40 PM by Che Guebuddha »

ivana

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Re: Seiza Bench
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2011, 06:54:45 PM »
I used to slouch forward very often when I started sitting crossleged. I also had lots of troubles with pins in my leggs going totaly numb etc.

All this went away when I made my self this seiza bench used in zazen;


Links to DIY Seiza bench;
http://www.embody.co.uk/blog/post/how_to_make_a_meditation_stool
http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/meditation-bench.html


Friendly Che


Che I am speechless.

thelastrich

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Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2011, 06:57:13 PM »
I also had pain in my legs or in my back sitting for some time, most in my back when I tried to have it straight.
(I used a "blanket roll" to sit on it instead a cushion.)

Now I found that when I sit on the border of a "footrest" with the knees on the floor and my feet under me, I get a good and comfortable position naturally, I don't even have to search for it.
I have to say my leg's elasticity is limited  :P it is a disadvantage for sitting-on-the-floor position.

I'm planing to make a bench like the one Che just showed to you.

kidnovice

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Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2011, 08:36:30 PM »
Thank you, Soma.

And Che, you really are like Jesus (by which I mean you are a carpenter). Great job with the bench!

KN
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Morning Dew

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Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2011, 08:47:45 PM »
Quote
Che I am speechless

Hi Ivana. I will make a few seiza benches for the retreat in sweden in case someone needs it (in a case you come you can keep one as a souvenir  ;)  )

Quote
I'm planing to make a bench like the one Che just showed to you

good man thelastrich! It realy makes my sitting much more joyful.

Quote
And Che, you really are like Jesus (by which I mean you are a carpenter).

I actualy worked as a carpenter in my youth for a year  ;D but this bench is a kid stuff even a kidnovice could make one  ;)

Friendly

thomas

  • Member
Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2011, 07:50:04 AM »
wow

good response to a question I'm sure must have been asked alrerady (couldn't find it).

That helps a lot. A lot of it I is pretty much what I was thinking.

That bench thing made me laugh. I guess you sit on it... I had images of you sitting in front of it facing it, so that if you slouch your head hits the wood....

something I didn't mention, which doesn't make a massive difference, is that I have quite a serious knee injury at the moment and will have on and off for the next year, so I 'm sitting on a chair to meditate, cant cross legs. I still try and keep my hips slightly higher than my knees and have a cushion.

Thanks for the tips
back to the breath... and back to the breath....  and back to the breath.... and back to the breath..... and back to the breath

thelastrich

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Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2011, 02:23:55 PM »
You can use also some books under the back-legs of the chair, to make an angle of about 12º
It will make easier the breathing and to maintain your back straight

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2011, 11:08:20 PM »
You can use also some books under the back-legs of the chair, to make an angle of about 12º
It will make easier the breathing and to maintain your back straight

Very true. It puts the pelvis and lower back in a more supported position.

M
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

thomas

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Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2011, 07:48:22 AM »
ok - will try that (books under back legs)

had a good session just now.

during it I slouched. left it for quite a while, but it kept distracting me, so I chose to really slowly and carefully straighten up a bit. It did take my attention away from my meditation a bit but I think this time it was a good thing to do. I felt much more alert in the altered posture.

I can see that it is important to try and get that posture and sitting position nailed. need to get out of the lazy back syndrome though, may take some time

back to the breath... and back to the breath....  and back to the breath.... and back to the breath..... and back to the breath

Jeeprs

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Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2011, 05:45:53 AM »
I have never taken naturally to the cross-legged posture. After some time I discovered the ''quarter lotus'' where you put one leg on the opposing calf muscle (not thigh muscle). Actually it is much easier than sitting in lotus (I cannot do that at all) and much more stable than simply sitting cross-legged.

Also you need a good cushion. The Zen-style cushions are called 'zafus'. They are filled with buckwheat husks which means they hold their shape. This is crucial because it raises your pelvis by a good 4-5 inches and makes it much, much easier to maintain the posture. If I go to a meditation centre and they have the normal, down-filled cushions which go flat as soon as I sit on them, I cannot maintain the position for longer than a couple of minutes.

I have found that in the quarter-lotus position the spine naturally stays fairly straight. (Actually I understand that in the full lotus, the spine is actually locked into an upright position, which is why it is the favoured position for those who can manage it.) I was told once to imagine that the top of my head is 'holding up the sky'. This seems to work. So I don't have any trouble maintaining that position, but find I max out at around 35-40 minutes, no matter what. After that my legs are just complaining too much. I am concentrating on maintaining consistency.

I have tried to use those benches that Che mentioned, and they are often made available at meditation centres, but I found I could manage the position described better. Took a lot of patience, though - when I first started it seemed very uncomfortable and I had trouble staying still for 15 minutes. This is one of the challenges that has to be faced - it goes with the territory as far as I can see.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2011, 05:51:20 AM by Jeeprs »

PeasantProphet

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Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2014, 01:56:38 AM »
My right foot tends to fall asleep when I meditate sitting cross legged, any suggestions? I Meditate on the floor with a yoga mat under me and a couch pillow. I sit on the edge of the pillow is that to high?

Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2014, 02:49:57 AM »
We Indians find sitting in cross legged very easily than others becaue when we were kids we were made to sit in it a lot. But if one's but is not raised by atleast 3 to 4 inches it's hard to keep the  straight. And also it's not easy to shine awareness on sleepy thoughts in this posture as we keep bending forward with them.

I prefer lotus position as it keeps back straight even if I enter tz.. Also the pain in the leg from the very early sitting will keep the awareness alert and pure. Try sitting only 5 mins in lotus and easz into the posture and experience . This posture has tremendous plus points if learnt.

As for as adjusting posture remain as long as you can remain equanimus towards pain. Let the pain flow where ever it wants to. don't shell it up.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 02:56:30 AM by siddharthgode »

PeasantProphet

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Re: Adjusting posture during Meditation
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2014, 05:02:41 AM »
I adjusted today when I meditated, my back was killing me. Incorporate some Yoga?