Meditation Tips: Sort Out Your Seating
Meditation is a very effective method of stress reduction and it promotes physical, mental and emotional health and well-being. Since the majority of people meditate while they are seated it's important that you get it right.

Why? Well by learning to sit in a healthy and a natural posture, you will be able to relax into a deeper and more rewarding meditation practice, and you will also avoid injuring your body. The correct sitting posture for meditation also gives you unobstructed breathing, a natural sense of balance and it allows your energy to flow more freely.

Whether you chose to sit cross-legged, use a meditation bench or to sit in a chair, it doesn't make any difference to your meditation practice. The five key principles for sitting in meditation are the same. The only difference with these three sitting methods, is what you are doing with your legs.

Five Key Principles:
1. Your hips are raised slightly above the level of the knees, say about 2 to 3 inches.
When sitting in a chair, or when sitting cross legged on the floor, this may mean using one or more cushions or folded blankets to support you under your hips.

2. Your back is upright, and it follows the natural curvature of your spine.
Which means that your back is not straight and that you are not leaning off to one side.

3. Your head 'floats' naturally on the top of your neck, with your eyes in a level position, so that your head is also level, i.e. it's not angled up or down.

4. Your arms hang vertically down from the shoulder, bending softly at the elbows to allow your hands to rest comfortably on your lap.

5. Your eyes can be open or closed, whichever you prefer. If they are open, then keep your head level and let your gaze fall down the line of your nose to an area just in front of you.

Sitting Cross-Legged: Additional Points
1. If you are sitting cross-legged on the floor, your knees should touch the floor to avoid straining the knee joints. If you cannot physically do this, then put a support (such as a folded blanket) under your raised knees, or raise the height of your sitting support slightly (but not so high that your back goes out of your unforced and natural position).

2. You should alternate the cross of your legs with each meditation session, by this I mean change whichever leg is on top.

3. If sitting cross-legged is not a part of your culture, and you really want to sit cross-legged, then exercise and practice sitting cross-legged outside of your meditation time. This will allow you to build up the strength and flexibility to try it without strain.

4. The flexibility to sit cross-legged comes mainly from the bone structure, suppleness and muscle health in your pelvic area.

Sitting In A Chair: Additional Points
A chair forms an excellent basis for meditation. The ideal chair is one where you can adjust its' height to suit your needs. Some points to consider are:
1. Use a folded blanket, or cushion to raise your hips slightly above the level of your hips.

2. Your feet need to be flat on the floor. No balancing on pointed toes. If the chair is too high for you to do this, put a folded blanket, or cushion underneath your feet to support you.

3. Sit well back in the chair seat, not on the front edge.

4. If you are very tall, you may need to put the chair on a raised platform to get the correct position for meditation.

Sitting With A Meditation Bench: Additional Points
A meditation bench will give you a correct meditation posture almost automatically, due to its' angled seating design.
1. Use some padding on the bench to protect your bones.

2. Make sure it is the right height for you.

Yoga Posture Warning:
Unfortunately, some of the photographs of people in a meditative posture which you may see in yoga and health magazines, and even in yoga books, overlook some of these key points. Here you will see images where people are sitting in meditation with their knees stuck up in the air, and their elbows held outwards at an angle, arms or hands perched on their knees, and as a result, their backs are in a rounded unnatural posture. All of these bad postural habits strain the respective joints.

And, if the hips are below the knees, your back will be rounded forwards and your breathing will be obstructed.

© David R. Durham

Author's Bio: 

I am a spiritual healer with a passion for spirituality within the rich diversity of our human experience.