Many Ways to Sit
Meditation happens along the length of your spine, from bottom to top. It's no accident. It's no accident. That's where major energy flows occur, as well.
The question is: What is the best way to create the spine alignment needed for the energy to flow, and maintain that posture for long enough to experience the benefits?
There are many ways to do it, from the Japanese zazen (kneeling) tradition to sitting crossed-leg on a cushion. What those options have in common is a slight tilt of the pelvis that helps to put your back into a perfectly upright, perfectly balanced position.
Okay that covers your back. But what about your legs?
The way your legs are arranged determines where you can sit:
- If you can't cross your legs at all, you can always sit on chair.
- If you can cross them, you can sit in a meadow or on a gentle hillside.
- If you can sit in Lotus Pose ("pretzel position") you can sit comfortably on a rock.
The Yoga Meditation Bench gives you the same level of comfort as a meadow or gentle hillside. You can sit as though on a bench, but it is also wide enough and deep enough to let you sit cross-legged (without having to go all the way down to the floor).
The good news is that you can start out sitting the same way you would sit in a chair, but you're not forever limited to that position. You can gradually work your way into more advanced positions.
Even better (for most of us) is the fact that the bench gives you a fourth option:
- You can sit with one foot on the bench, and one on the floor.
- Then, even a rock can be comfortable, if you can find one at the right height!
That position turns out to be an ancient tradition in India, as shown in the Bench Yoga book. And it's one that helps even a novice user to get the pelvic tilt they need for effective meditation.
In fact, when you count up the many variations detailed in the book, there are more than 54 ways to sit, in total. Here's the sampling of positions shown in the Quick Start Guide:
And since you can easily change positions, you can continue meditating with minimal disruption when your legs get uncomfortable.
Finally, it is important to note that while the ideal, balanced posture lets you meditate with minimum muscular effort, some effort is still required. And to get that posture in the first place, you need flexibility in specific areas like the shoulders and hips, as well as strength in areas like the neck, upper back, and the "sit up" muscles.
The Bench Yoga program is designed to help you achieve that combination of strength and flexibility--more efficiently than with a typical yoga practice, and more effectively than with many approaches to strength training.
Most importantly, the Bench Yoga program is a practice that anyone can do, and benefit from.