Sitting in meditation is not easy for everyone

After welcoming hundreds of different bodies into my yoga classes over the years I can say from experience, most people struggle to sit with a comfortable, healthy alignment. Especially when sitting on the floor.

Asana isn’t enough

In yoga, we practice the physical discipline of poses, or yoga asanas. Today people practice asanas for a variety of reasons and none of those reasons are invalid, the origin of the practice was to make meditation easier.

In fact, the only asana that appeared in the historical record for around 1,000 years was sukasana, or seated meditation. The poses that followed were intended to relieve tension in the body so it is not a distraction for the mind. 

Age-old yoga sequences like sun and moon salutations work to improve spinal alignment while relieving tension in the knees and hips. These exercises definitely make sitting in sukasana much easier, but even with practice most people will still struggle to sit up straight.

Lift the hips to straighten the spine

When your spine is stacked so that your sitting tall and your shoulders are directly above your hips, your muscles don’t have to work so hard to hold you upright. Sitting in meditation becomes effortless and your body ceases to be a distraction.

To get to this point, you need to free the muscles of the lower back, and that is almost impossible when your knees are resting higher than your hips. With a meditation cushion, you can lift your hips up higher than your knees, and support them at an angle that liberates the muscles of your back. 

I love sitting tall

I started making meditation cushions because I wanted one for my own practice. I can sit comfortably on the floor without one, but it is even easier to sit tall with one. For me, they relieve the compression I feel in my legs if I sit in lotus position with my hips down on the floor.

It only takes 15 minutes of that position for my legs to feel tight and even fall asleep, but that doesn’t happen if I lift my hips up on a cushion. 

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