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

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

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