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Friday, February 22, 2008

Meditation - Meditation Poses

Meditation is one of the five principles of yoga. It an important tool to achieve mental clarity and health. An overview of the different beginner and advanced meditation techniques will aid in choosing the right meditation exercise for you.

A sitting posture is better for meditation than lying down. This is because lying down is the normal sleep position and meditation lying down could easily lead to sleep. If you are not a person who easily goes to sleep during the day, you may like to meditate in a semi-reclining position on a sofa or large armchair with the back of your head supported. In traditional meditation postures, however, the back is normally kept erect, though not rigidly upright. This is called poised posture. The right attitude for meditation may itself be described as poised: alert yet also relaxed. Poised posture promotes the right state of attention-awareness for successful meditation.

In the East, the cross-legged postures, with head and back in vertical line, are considered ideal for meditation. In classic Lotus posture, the legs are crossed with feet on thighs, and imparts the right feeling of poised sitting for meditation. These postures are difficult and even painful at first for those who are not familiar with them. We will describe two traditional oriental postures, half lotus and lotus posture and an easier posture called Burmese posture. For those who prefer to do the meditation sitting on a chair, we will describe a posture called Egyptian posture.

1. Full Lotus Posture (Padmasana)

The Lotus Pose (if you can do it comfortably) is such a perfect meditation posture. It's a position in which you can sit perfectly straight and be absolutely still, relaxed, comfortable, and alert.

1. Sit on the floor in an easy crossed- leg pose.

2. Clasp hold of your left foot with both hands and bring it high onto the right thigh, up into the groin. Bring the right leg over the left and place the right foot in the left groin. This is the full Lotus Pose.
The Lotus Pose (Padmasana)

2. Half Lotus Pose (Ardha Padmasana)

With the Half Lotus Pose only one leg is placed under the opposite thigh. Generally this pose is used as a warm-up to the full Lotus Pose.
The Half Lotus Pose

3. Burmese Pose

This is a simpler posture to master. Here, the legs are not crossed but the knees are spread and stay down, and the legs are folded and the feet pulled back in front of the pelvis with one foot in front of the other. The 'cupped' hands rest at the tops of the thighs or on the heels. It is essential to have a firm cushion to sit on and a folded rug or blanket below that to prevent pain in the feet and ankles. The buttocks should be pushed out a little to bring the back into easy uprightness.

4. Egyptian Pose

You can also practice meditation sitting on a chair. Find a chair that will allow you to sit upright and have the back of your head supported. Placing a cushion against your back can ensure poised posture in sitting upright in some chairs in which otherwise poised sitting would be difficult. You can meditate, however, on a simple straight-backed chair by sitting in poised posture. With hands on thighs, this may be called Egyptian posture. A good placing of the hands for meditation is to 'cup' them limply in your lap, with thumbs touching, with your wrists at the tops of your thighs.

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