Meditation Posture for Focus, Clarity, & Calm

Do You Meditate?

Many of my Alexander Technique clients do because they want to increase their mindfulness and they often ask me about their meditation posture.  Most people are either too collapsed, trying to feel relaxed, or they are too stiff, trying to sit up straight with a lot of muscular tension.  This makes the body a distraction in meditation.

Robert G. is an entrepreneur who just finished taking the 10 week Foundational course in the Alexander Technique with me. During  his final session, we looked at his meditation posture.  I would like to share some of the guiding principles that allowed him to have such an open, upright, and relaxed meditation posture.

“The most surprising aspect of applying Alexander Technique to my meditation posture was paying attention to the means-whereby, or HOW, I moved into the posture.  Staying aware of my body breathing while I moved into mediation was essential to not tensing or collapsing my torso.”     Robert G.

Mediation posture with Robert G. Chest is wide and spine is long.

Here are a few guidelines to help you have a meditation posture (you can apply these to sitting in a chair too) that will eliminate distracting body aches and tension and support a focused, clear, and calm mind:

*Breathe out slowly even as you are bending down (even getting into a chair).   Unconsciously holding your breath tightens muscles of your throat, chest, back, and abdomen.  Breathing out slowly ensures that you are aware of your body and allowing the muscles of your body to loose and long.

*Have your knees lower than your hips.  Most people have tight hips and a tight low back.  If your knees are lower than your hips, your hip muscles won’t pull on your low back forward and down into a slouch. This allows your spine to also lengthen.

*Allow the mask of your face and your chin to slowly and gently move down.  This lengthens the back of your neck and also, lengthens your spine.  You especially do not want the back of your head falling towards your neck and shoulders.

*Allow your abdominal wall to release into length.  Your sternum and your pubic bone release away from each other.  Most people do not know that when they collapse and shorten the abdominal wall, they are collapsing the spine.

Robert G.’s meditation posture. His head is over his ribs & hips. HIs head and arms are not dragging him forward.

*Finally, you do not want to hyper extend the spine by arching your back.  Many people think that to have a straight spine they have to squeeze the back muscles and arch it.  This overworks the muscles.  They get fatigued. Then, you get uncomfortable and start fidgeting.

These physical practices will give you spine, diaphragm, and muscles the support they need so your body won’t distract you.  You will have more space inside your torso for the movement of breath, which will soothe and calm your nervous system.  Now you are ready for the deep work of meditation.

3 Mistakes You Are Making with Your Breathing

Most people think that breathing and posture are two separate functions. They either try to “Stand Up Straight!” or they try to “Take a Deep Breath” Both strategies interfere with the natural uprightness of your spine and your body’s ability to easily move with your breath.

Are you making these mistakes?

Watch this video of the diaphragm. See how much it moves.

1) Breathing in by lifting your chest and shoulders. This requires many muscles in upper body to grip and tighten and prevents your diaphragm from moving properly in order to for breath to enter your lungs.

2) Holding your breath. Holding your breath actually requires your muscles to work hard. You will also start to feel frantic, panicky, anxious, and/or nervous. Your breath rate will go up and you may even be hurting your back. Your posture will be diminished because all of your muscles are squeezing.

3) Sucking in your belly & controlling the breath. Your body breathes better than you do. If you are trying to breathe deeply while holding in your belly, you are interfering with your body’s natural breathing coordination.

These mistakes can not only cause physical pain but also evoke nervousness, fear, and anxiety. Letting breath out releases muscles and allows your body to take care of you. Your BODY breathes better than you.

If your breathing seems difficult and your body is tense, the Alexander Technique may be the solution.

Find out more about Alexander Technique can help you, your breath, and your voice during these introductory workshops:

Tuesday, October 30, 7 – 9pm in Laguna Canyon
Confident Body Language & Posture

SIGN UP HERE

 

Tuesday, November 13, 7 – 9pm in Laguna Canyon
RESONATE Find your Powerful, Confident, & Engaging Voice

SIGN UP HERE

A POWERFUL VOICE THAT FILLS THE ROOM AND CAPTURES THE HEART OF YOUR AUDIENCE!

When you listen to a powerful performer, it’s not just the words that captures your  heart. The sound of a dynamic performer’s voice can give you the chills, comfort you,  inspire you, and rally you to action!  They have a powerful voice that fills the room and  captures your heart!

There are 6 qualities of an engaging and powerful voice that can propel you towards  SUCCESS, whether that means speaking on stage, on a telesummit, or interviewing on  a radio program:

1) RESONANT Your voice is sound and sound is vibration. The vibration of your voice  bounces off the bones of your body and it fills the room with your message.

2) EMBODIED Your voice comes from your entire body, not just your mouth. When you are connected to your whole body, your voice is amplified from your feet on the floor, to your legs, hips, belly, back, and head.

3) GROUNDED The body of a dynamic speaker is grounded which means that both feet are hips-width distance and planted on the floor. This will calm your nervous system and literally allow you to breathe with ease.

4) TENSION-FREE You don’t have to push your head forward and tighten your neck, shoulders, and abdominals to make sound. An attractive voice that gives you the chills pours out of a body that is released and open which allows for a flexible ribcage that moves with your breath.

5) ENERGIZED Without tension, you are calm and the energy of your message can flow out of your body and impact your audience. They will literally FEEL the energy radiating from your voice.

6) COLORFUL With the above 5 qualities, your body is free to move with your breath and voice. This gives you the ability to play with pitch and pace. You can speak in a low voice when you want your audience to taste your every word and with a quick and forceful voice when you call them to action!

 

Watch the video that describes The Voice that Fills the Room and Captures the Heart of Your Audience!

With these 6 qualities, capturing the hearts of your listeners is joyful and easy. They will feel your passion and joy and join your movement.

Want to discover your best voice and amazing posture?  Sign up for our next NO COST workshop on Tuesday, June 6 at 7pm in Laguna Canyon www.AlexanderTechniqueOC.com/intro

LIVE Talk Radio Mind, Body, & the Effects of Texting

Is texting hurting you and your relationships? Got text neck? Stephanie Michele, host of Relatable, with me and Matt Formica discussed texting norms and the hidden harms of texting too much. Setting guidelines to mindfully decrease texts exchanges were emphasized with a review of the No Text or Next pledge. Watch the interview HERE.

Doctors are now diagnosing patients with “texting neck.” Carrying your head forward of your spine to use your smart phone is causing pain, harming your posture, and interfering with your breathing. My best advice is to prioritize your body over your phone and watch the interview!

Walk Like You are Young Again

Recenlty, a study was published in The Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies that compared older Alexander Technique practitioners to other age-matched adults.

In summary,

“The Alexander Technique (AT) seeks to eliminate harmful patterns of tension that interfere with the control of posture and movement and in doing so, it may serve as a viable intervention method for increasing gait efficacy in older adults. The purpose of this study was to compare the comfortable pace gait kinematics of older AT practitioners with those of healthy, age-matched controls. Participants were six licensed AT practitioners and seven healthy age-matched controls between the ages of 63 and 75. During the stance phase, AT participants exhibited significantly greater ankle stance range of motion (ROM) and plantar flexion at toe off, as well as lower ROM of the trunk and head compared to controls. During the swing phase, the AT practitioners had significantly increased hip and knee flexion and a trend toward significantly increased dorsiflexion. The findings suggest that the older AT practitioners walked with gait patterns more similar to those found in the literature for younger adults. These promising results highlight the need for further research to assess the AT’s potential role as an intervention method for ameliorating the deleterious changes in gait that occur with aging.”

I have witnessed so many of my clients who older and wiser, completely change how they walk, sit, stand, and move through life. Before they took, Alexander Technique lessons, they walked with their head forward of their spine, their chest compressed, and their leg joints stiffened.

Alexander Technique lessons give you the “tools” to unravel old patterns of tension and movement that have you walk like you are much older. Aging does not have to be a sentence to hunching over and stiffening your body. My clients have freed up their breathing, relieved back pain, and opened up their posture. All of which has impacted their confidence.

Walking like a young person doesn’t require a fountain of youth. It requires mindfulness, awareness, and training.