THE SIX POINTS OF POSTURE
Meditation should always begin with good posture. When taking a seated position, keep in mind the following six points.
Whether sitting on the floor, a cushion, a bench or in a chair, the seat should be relatively flat or with a slight tilt forward. Sit simply but proudly. Always assume your seated position with attention, intention and with dignity.
Have them crossed comfortably in front of you or have them tucked beneath you in a semi-kneeling position. Knees should never be overly stressed or higher than your hip. Use a bench, a chair, blocks, cushions or blankets to find the most comfortable position for your legs. If you are in a chair the feet should rest flat on the floor with knees and legs hip-width apart.
Upright from head to the base of spine. Shoulders dropped with an open chest. This upright position is essential to your ability to breath fully and naturally. If sitting in a chair, it is best not to lean back. When you feel yourself begin to slouch, sit up again with a full breath.
Open with palms down resting on the thighs or in one of the mudras.
Cosmic Mudra – Hands cupped bellow the navel like a bowl, left hand fingers on top of right hand fingers, thumbs lightly touching.
Rudra Mudra – Place the tips of the thumb, index finger and ring finger together, letting the other two fingers relax.
Jnana Mudra – Place the tips of the thumb and index fingers together, relax the others. Lay your hand on your thigh in a relaxed way. This mudra represents knowledge.
Pushaputa Mudra – Place hands like empty bowls on your thighs. Let the fingers rest together on the lap. This mudra is known as a hand full of flowers.
Atmanjali Mudra – Hands together in prayer position. Represents reverence and unity of all the opposing aspects within body and mind, coming together in the heart. Also activates and harmonizes both sides of the brain.
When eyes are closed they should be focused on the spot in the middle of the forehead right between the eye brows (the third eye). The eyes should be soft and non-grasping, only receiving the gentle darkness. If eyes are open, they should be focused a few feet in front of you on the floor. Again the eyes should be soft and not grasping at all, simply receiving the images before you, not focusing on anything specific, not analyzing anything at all. Different schools of meditation encourage different conditions for the eyes. I prefer to let students try both and see what works best for them. With each meditation comes a different set of conditions and circumstances which I feel should be accommodated to. Eyes open or closed can have specific results in terms of managing thoughts and emotions.
Slightly open, jaw relaxed so that air can move freely through the mouth and nose. The tip of the tongue should rest softly on the roof of the mouth which decreases the flow of saliva.
Now feel your breath
Don’t just focus on the breath. Feel the natural flow of each breath and feel the gravity of the breath as it moves through your body. Do not try to control or force the breath, allow yourself to follow it’s natural rhythm. That rhythm is your bodies own personal mantra.
Feel the beginning of the inhalation and follow it through to completion.
Feel the beginning of the exhalation and follow it through to completion.
Feel the space between each breath.
The space between each breath is known as the still point or the inner breath. You might want to linger there but let it go. Don’t grasp. It will be there when you return to it following the next inhalation or exhalation.
Enjoy the beauty of each breath.