Author Topic: Questions on posture  (Read 3198 times)


Questions on posture
« on: August 07, 2012, 10:05:40 PM »
Hi all,

I've been trying and testing different positions to find the one that accommodates me best. Indian style was fine at the beginning but I eventually get tired. Sitting in a chair tires my back faster. I tried burmese but find it hard to do and unstable compared to Indian (I'm guessing my lack of flexibility has something to do with this). Half and full lotus require flexibility I don't have, so I am trying to settle with quarter lotus, which gives me a better feeling of stability and allows me to stay upright for longer periods of time.

However I keep having trouble finding its sweet spot. I read in a post here you want a cushion 30cm high. In other places I've read 20cm - are these the heights one should use when the cushion is compressed, or uncompressed? Different materials compress at different rates, so this bit is somewhat unclear.

Also: when sitting in quarter lotus, is my full weight supposed to be distributed equally on both my knees? Sometimes one knee doesn't get to touch the ground (I'm assuming that if this happens this means I need a higher cushion?).

Finally, I *think* it's more comfortable when I am somehow being pushed forward: should the cushion be flat, or slanted forward? I am guessing the second configuration would be better.


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Re: Questions on posture
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2012, 04:26:26 AM »
Hi Tref,

I`ve always had problems with posture, no matter what i try it has some form of discomfort after a while. Recently i`ve read some encouraging facts, it seems once the meditation skills develop to a certain level, all this obsessing about the ideal posture will be history:
The body becomes as compliant as the mind, no longer producing distractions related to physical pain and discomfort during prolonged sitting. This process occurs naturally in this stage of the practice if the proper conditions exist. [...] the body becomes suffused with a sense of comfort and pleasure and is completely free of discomfort, and the mental state tends towards joyfulness. The meditator can literally sit for hours without physical discomfort, dullness, or distraction. This is called physical pliancy, and follows naturally upon mental pliancy when the proper conditions have been created.
Stages of Meditation (#8)
What i do currently is sit on the couch or chair and rest my arms (completely relaxed) with the wrists on the knees (or palms depending on the height of the chair). This way there is less strain on the back by simply shifting the center of gravity away from the spine a bit, with the resting arms acting like anchors.

For more ideas you can take a look at the posture section here if you haven`t already. Remember your goal is to be comfortable, so you can improvise any solution works for you even if it`s not by the book. If all else fails you can always adjust mindfully and continue, it`s just another temporary distraction.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2012, 05:38:13 AM by Masauwu »
The summer river:
although there is a bridge, my horse
goes through the water.


Re: Questions on posture
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2012, 08:05:23 PM »
Hi Tref,

If you haven't maintained a pattern of daily meditation then chances are any posture is going to feel uncomfortable for a little while for various reasons. 30cm sounds way too high but hey maybe that works for some people. I think my ideal butt height must be around 18cm when sitting.

Finally, I *think* it's more comfortable when I am somehow being pushed forward: should the cushion be flat, or slanted forward? I am guessing the second configuration would be better.

Your hips will want to come forwards a little for your spine to hold your head up naturally like a column. This is why you feel it's more comfortable to be pushed forwards but rather than adjusting the cushion you want your body to learn how to do this for you. At first your back muscles may not be strong enough for this to feel fairly effortless but just keep sitting and they'll strengthen.


Re: Questions on posture
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2012, 12:48:58 AM »
Thanks guys. The 30 cm are uncompressed. So I'll try aiming for 18 cm when the cushion is compressed.


Re: Questions on posture
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2012, 03:06:49 AM »
Hey Tref, what your going through is what they call in the spiritual community as "finding your seat". 

It turns out to be a lot different than you think.  When you meditate you bring up bad feelings and also bad sensations in the body.  This can make you think that you are in an uncomfortable position.  Rather than find the perfect posture you will see that as you progress you will naturally be comfortable in many positions.  This is because as you progress you have less "bad" sensations, and you are more equanimous with the ones you do have. 

Just continue to meditate and you will naturally "fall into your seat"

good luck


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