The Power of Posture
“When you sit, sit in such a way that you feel you have already arrived. To sit doesn’t mean to struggle. When you sit, sit so that sitting becomes an arrival into the present moment. Enjoy your arrival. How wonderful to feel that you are home, that your true home is in the here and the now. Sitting like that, joy and peace become a reality.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Sit (a super sweet little book about meditation).
Some of the most fruitful, yet often overlooked, moments in meditation occur right when we take our seat. Those first few moments when we settle into our posture are fertile ground for observation, self-care, attention and grounding in the body.
We have choices about how we sit. Making these choices with intentionality and awareness can bring benefits before we’ve even begun the formal practice we’ve chosen.
For example, we can begin by asking ourself if there is a certain position that is called for. Does the back need support today and might a pillow behind us in our chair be of help; would kneeling over a cushion be kinder to the knees than sitting cross-legged upon it; if we’re feeling sluggish, might standing or walking be more supportive of our practice?
Paying careful attention and consciously choosing the position of our hands can help bring attention down into the body and offer a sense of commitment to the practice. If we choose to place our hands in a way that reflects a certain spiritual tradition, acknowledging that can be a strong reminder of the motivation we may have for meditating, which can help when there is temptation to stop meditating.
There are also other opportunities to use our physical posture to signal the spirit with which we meditate: with the sternum raised we have a sense of dignity, signaling that what we are doing has value. Allowing the jaw to relax and the teeth to separate can signal an openness and vulnerability, a willingness to be present for the moment-to-moment experience. Tilting the chin down slightly is a gentle act of self-care that reduces pressure on the neck - starting off our meditation with a sense of caring for ourself can help us let go of the striving that gets in our way sometimes in meditation.
We invite you to join us this week as we place our awareness on our breath…. after we make some conscious decisions about the shape we’ll place our body in.
May all beings everywhere find opportunities for growth in every moment of their practice.
Your friends at CMP
And if you’re interested in a book specifically on meditation posture, see The Posture of Meditation by Will Johnson.
Spring Silent Retreat! Saturday May 4th First Congregational Church of Stamford, 1 Walton Place, Stamford.
First-Monday-of-the-Month Fairfield session May 6th 7 PM First Church Congregational of Fairfield, 148 Beach Road, Fairfield.
Community Sessions This Week:
We hope you can join us at one of our community sessions this week. All sessions are free and open to the public, suitable for new meditators and people with an established practice. There is no need to bring or wear anything special, and all sessions offered in libraries are done in chairs unless you prefer to bring your own yoga mat or meditation cushion.
Monday 7:30 PM - Sama Yoga, 45 Grove Street, New Canaan
Tuesday 1:00 PM - Ferguson Library, 1 Public Library Plaza, Stamford
Wednesday 12:00 PM - New Canaan Library, 151 Main Street, New Canaan
Thursday 7:00 PM - Darien Library 1441 Post Road, Darien
Friday 11:30 AM - Grace Farms, New Canaan- location available upon request. Please email email@example.com.