21-Day Meditation Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 4

Finding Your Seat

5 min - Tutorial
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How you choose to sit during this 21-Day Challenge is really important. We explore tips and suggested props to align the spine and find a comfortable seat for your meditation practice.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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Jul 01, 2017
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Let's talk about finding your seat. How you are going to sit through this 21-day challenge is really important. First of all, one of the key pieces of meditation is aligning your spine. Modern living tends to sink us and kind of collapse us, all of our chairs and seats kind of encourage rounding and shortening, and we really want to align the spine. We want all the natural curves intact, so we're not distorting the innate curvature of our spine.

That's not only going to make us more comfortable, it's going to actually require less effort. The more we just stack the vertebra, the less muscular effort there is. And then in terms of the energy flow, when we align the spine, we kind of support optimal pranic flow in the body. There's more ease and energy flowing through our system. And it's also aligning the shashumna, which is the main energy channel which correlates with the spine.

So it's very important that we have this awareness and we set ourselves up for this. Now the challenge, of course, is then going to be in our lower body, in our hips. So it's very important that we take enough support in how we sit to not be in pain. This is very, very common. I see students all the time just sit on something small or short, and then pretty quickly they start to struggle because it begins to hurt.

So you need to set yourself up to really be comfortable here. How do you know? First of all, we do not want the pelvis rolling backwards. This is huge. So what we need to find center is going to be unique and specific to each of our bodies.

Generally, we need some degree of height, first of all. How much height? Well, if you're sitting in a cross leg shape, the ideal is that once you align your pelvis, your thighs and knees come all the way to the floor. But that's not realistic for everyone's body. Some people will have their knees lifted due to many factors, but tighter hip flexors can have your knees higher.

And then after a few minutes, you can either be really uncomfortable in your hips or really uncomfortable in your knees. So I want to show you some ways to increase lift and make sure you're not in pain in your knees and hips. So one way to do that, first of all, is to take more height. Now I started on a very low amount of cushion. That works for my body.

But you might use something like a zafu or even a much bigger bolster. So let's try this one. So this provides a firmer foundation and quite a bit more height. And I can also pull in two blocks. This can be super helpful when the knees don't easily come all the way down.

So you might find yourself taking quite a bit more lift and then using your blocks. Either kind of back towards the thighs or even sometimes turned higher to support the sides of the thighs or even more forward towards the knees. So this is something that you will need to play with in your own body and find just the right amount of height and knee support. So this is one way. If you want to sit on the floor, cross-leg shape, be sure you have enough height and if the knees don't come all the way down, blocks or blankets can be used as well to support the sides of the knees or the thighs.

There's another way for you to sit and that is virasana. For some of us, cross-leg, anything in that family, not good at all. So let me give you an alternative. So virasana could be done on a large bolster. It could be done on a zafu.

It could also be done on one or two blocks. So this works for my body but I noticed some students require tilting the block up one notch or even stacking two blocks. So this is sitting with your knees together, your feet apart and your sitting bones on the block. You want to make sure that your ankles aren't sickling. We want to draw the outer ankles in.

We want the sitting bones fairly level and again the pelvis aligned. So not rolling backwards. This is probably most common and in some bodies there is a propensity to kind of overarch forwards. So we want that neutral pelvis. And then we don't want to feel undue pressure in the tops of the thighs, the hip flexor muscles or pressure in the knees.

I also have quite a few students complain about pressure in the tops of the feet. So if you're feeling any of those things, increase the lift. Again, comfort here is key. If you're a little bit uncomfortable as you start the 21 minutes, you're going to be extremely uncomfortable by the end of the meditation. So take as much lift as you might need.

Third option I want to give you. For some of us, really both of those earlier choices, crossed legs or Virasana, still very uncomfortable in which case I want you to consider using a chair. So let me show you how to sit with the chair. So again, coming back to the awareness of the spine. We want the spine in its natural alignment.

So I do not want you rolling backwards and collapsing. And again, less common would be overarching. We want to find that neutral pelvis. So for my body, this works. I can sit on a chair, have my shoulders above my hips, align the curves of the spine, and my feet are under my knees.

So this is one way. The chair height might not work for you. So if you're someone smaller, you may need to bring in the two blocks under your feet. And in some cases, you might even need to place a blanket on top of your chair for a little bit of added lift. But this is how it would look if you were to meditate on a chair.

So before you begin your practice, I want you to really go through what's going to work in your body, see how much profit you need, and get what you need to be comfortable. Namaste. Thank you.


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