Why It's good
When I teach someone (sitting) meditation, I usually also give some instructions about the sitting posture. The reasons behind this are that, from my experience, even a slight difference in posture can make the change from average to:
- Mental alertness and clarity
- Flow of fresh energy
Step 1: Location and Environment
To find a good posture, one should really tune in with oneself, to experience the benefits first hand. So find your favorite meditation place, and make sure you have fresh air (open a window or even better: just pay a visit to nature).
Step 2: Sit Comfortably
The key is to have a straight back, yet still being relaxed. Do NOT lean your back backwards!
If you can already sit in the lotus posture (as in the picture) for your full meditation, you can pat yourself on the back right now! Note that the picture displays a very difficult posture, and there are much easier alternatives.
The basic posture is to have your legs crossed, preferably with one foot on the other thigh (half lotus). If you are unable to do that, find any posture that works for you, as long as your spine is pointing straight up.
Use a firm cushion, or a slight downwards slope if you are in nature. If you want you can even sit on a chair or a couch, but then make sure it can support your lower back, and if you are on a couch, you can still use that firm cushion.
The point is that your legs are lower down than your butt. So you sit on a cushion or slope in order to raise the level of the buttocks, while the legs remain lower down.
You might need to try some different alternatives here. Try to find something at least quite
comfortable. See if you can straighten your back and still relax it. For me it works fine by just straightening the back at one point: somewhere between the lower and middle back. If it's hard, you might want to try sitting on a chair or couch, and giving support only to the lower and middle back.
Step 3: Tune in to Yourself
Personally, when I need to, I tune in to myself intuitively. I find it a very good thing to learn (as a first step to become more conscious about the body and its signals, as well as emotions, and even becoming more empathic).
This is one way to do it:
- Pay attention to how you breathe, and learn in detail (over time) to breathe in a relaxing and comfortable way.
- Listen to and allow for the signals your body is giving you right now.
- Listen to and allow for your feelings and emotions you have right now.
- Note: the exact order of this step can be changed, and also intermixed with Step 4. Let your intuition guide you!
Step 4: Tune in to Your Spine
When you are tuned in to yourself, and even better if you feel connected to the things around you, you become really alert to how different things affect one another. This also applies to how you experience and can regenerate through the posture of the spine.
If you did not achieve this yet, you might want to awaken your flow of qi/prana (vital energy) more, perhaps by playing music, dancing, or something else physical. If this is difficult, just practice this for a while to develop these notions.
Once you are tuned in, focus on your spine. Move it to the sides, and bend and arch it back and forth, in order to find the perfect center, or perfect balance. Your body knows the posture, so all you really gotta do is to tune in to it to find it.
Step 5: Practice, Practice, and Enjoy the Benefits
You might need to practice this for a while to really feel the benefits. (Or do intense practice like at a Vipassana Retreat or similar.) Once you feel them: pat yourself on the back!
When you feel these benefits, you also learn to allow the qi flow in the body, as well as align the chakras (endocrine system) in a natural and beneficial posture. It goes hand and hand with a healthy and happy lifestyle.