Mailbag: Posture and Energy Poses for a Straight Spine

Masoom wrote:

How important is posture in meditation? I try to keep my back straight during meditation, but it sometimes hurts to do so. I inevitably go back to slouching a little. So every time that happens, I have to pull my back straight again. However, this distracts me from my meditation and also I should not have any body movement while meditating. What should I do about this?

Please perform this exercise immediately before meditation (taken from my reply to a question about a related issue):

  • Stand up, legs straight, arms by sides.
  • Tilt head right back.
  • Make a “kiss” face — pout the lips and hold it. The circle formed by the lips should be aligned as directly as possible over the top of the spine.
  • Breathe out slowly through your nose. This will cause the eyes to enter REM and you should let them do that and generally relax.
  • It is the action of breathing out which causes relaxation — do a continuous exhalation through the nose until the lungs are empty, then breathe and repeat.

Repeat this many times for several minutes. It will cause a lot of unwinding, most of it on a micro level. It will also most likely dramatically improve your posture.

Posture is extremely important in meditation, as one of meditation’s main goals is to get energy flowing up the spine uninterrupted. However, the meditation technique itself should encourage a straight spine by causing energy to flow up towards the head, which is one reason I give the nose bridge as a point of attention as it is quite good for that. The third eye is another excellent area to look at for a straight spine.

To get this working really well we will borrow techniques from kriya yoga (a.k.a. kundalini yoga).

I recommend you place your hands on your knees, hands open, palms pointing upwards. Let your jaw be loose and mouth open just a crack, and your tongue soft with the tip very gently placed behind the front two teeth.

Finally, keep your eyes looking towards your third eye area for the entire duration of the meditation – but let your eyes be very loose and able to flicker as they wish. At some point, hopefully, your eyes will enter ultrafine bursts of REM (though you should not be overly conscious of this; it is very natural). These REM bursts allow blissful feelings to arise very easily, and are extremely important for relaxation and general health. I will be writing more about this shortly.

Your pose should look like this:

(Courtesy of Sadhguru’s excellent Isha Kriya meditation, which I will be reviewing soon.)

You can sit on a chair with feet planted on the floor if you lack the flexibility to sit cross-legged.

These poses encourage energy to flow up the spine and should end your posture problems. With attention directed in this way, the spine should stay straight by itself, just resting gently against its own upward energy flow, without requiring any more of your attention, leaving you free to meditate.

Hope this helps!

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21 Responses

  1. Vick says:

    This helps A LOT, anyone experiencing energy related pains should definitely do it.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Thanks Vick! We’re slowly tying up all the loose ends when it comes to meditation, which is what I wanted to achieve for the last few years.

      Good to have you back. How’s the meditation going?

      • Vick says:

        Finally stopped the rotating shifts and have a somewhat regular sleep schedule so I’m recovering the progress I made before.
        I can maintain attention on the breath for minutes at a time and usually just get gross distractions for short periods.

        I’m already dealing with the physical symptoms from TMI ie face flinching and almost vibrating, left arm violently flinching every few minutes, head rocking etc, this tech reduces the intensity of those quit a bit and I can get better energy flow to the head which leads to more clarity.
        Ill probably get a month or two off work soon so I’m planning to meditate for several hours a day, so I hopefully get a break through.

        I was actually thinking about emailing you about Timothy’s leary manual on enlightenment using lsd and the Tibetan book of the dead. I finished reading it and it looks promising, I go with it when I’m able to enter jhana.
        Have you heard about it?

  2. Buddha says:

    I dont know if u remeber me but i made a post in the tone post. I drank some green tea then i started meditating i was focusing on the bridge of the nose again and then i kept focusing on it again n again bringing my attention to that one point. N i cud feel something building the more i did it then booom light from the side came n covered my vision. It was white but as soon as that happened i lost the momentum n cudnt find the point i was concentrating on. Eventually i did find it. It felt good concentrating on that point then i had a ephiphany that this good feeling i was getting i was creating by myself a word popped in my head “Devas Delighting in Creation (nimmanarati deva)”- These devas delight in the sense objects of their own creation.I realized thats exactly what i was doing creating a point then driving pleasure from it. After this my body starting rockin back n forth i started doin sum retarted yoga poses cuz thier was energy in the middle of spine that was makin me? Anyways after that i checked my timer……..only 25 minutes god damm. Still no jhana tho πŸ™

    • Illuminatus says:

      All you have to do to get jhana now is as follows. The white light is the nimitta. Keep finding the concentration point and stay with it. The white light grows, as you noticed. Stay with the point and let the white light grow. Yes, the energy may become too strong and you may be forced away from it like you just said. Just take a few moments, breathe, and back off from the concentration. Then, go back to the point. The white light will grow brighter this time and your tolerance to the energy will increase each time you back away then return to it. You are training the pathway to receive more energy. Eventually the light will become so bright that you will begin to absorb into the light itself, along with the breath at the concentration point. You will pass the tipping point into jhana and absorb completely into the light and the breath. It will be the most bliss you have ever felt.

      Well done, you have the natural talent for it. Now keep going.

  3. pawel says:

    How important it is to have a straight spine in meditation? Some teachers say it’s very important, others don’t. What’s your opinion on that?

  4. daniel says:

    How do you deal with skepticism about fascia ?

    The above is TLDR unless you have an hour or so , so i’ll summarize: it’s written from the
    perspective of pain-releif and massage therapy (as opposed to meditation/kundalini etc. ) . The basic
    point is that according to the science that’s been done, fascia is physcially too rigid and
    hard to manipulate with any kind of excercise or massage treatments. In particular the idea
    of ‘fascia release’ or ‘unwinding’ comes in for debunking.

    I’ve tried your ‘yawn’ excercise, to releive neck tension, and it does do something for
    about 15 min or so.. I suppose it may be muscular, or it could have something to do with teh nerves/brain
    and their relation to the fascia, rather than the fascia itself.

    Thought this might be useful if you are still working on your fascia book, to answer some
    of the skeptical arguments about fascia therapy.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Fascia has many modes (I have around a dozen listed in my notes) affecting its pliancy. Emotional, physical, and even cognitive conditions can change that mode. E.g. “tough and rubbery” mode seems to engage during gym workout. “Liquid flow” mode during some stages of REM. Obviously this is just my speculation and subjective perception. But how would they determine that fascia is “too rigid or hard”? If they used corpses then that’s a non-starter because the dead system is nothing like the living system. If they used live subjects then the experiment itself could have changed the subject to the “hard” mode, the same way people will tense up under examination. Seriously, how could they prove this?

      It seems to me that this guy is out to prove fascia theories wrong. It’s a hit piece. For the last few decades it has seemed like science has taken over the role religion used to play of putting the brakes on progress. I don’t believe anything they say any more.

    • Illuminatus says:

      “Another similar thought experiment: if sustained pressures or sheering could significantly change connective tissue, then working a chair all day long β€” or any long-duration posture β€” would also deform your fascia.”

      That’s exactly what it does. The guy’s an idiot. He just doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He just doesn’t know!

    • Illuminatus says:

      One thing he is right about is the current status of myofascial release therapies — they are Stone Age, and are based on sloppy models IMO. Bad practices however isn’t the same as “fascia doesn’t matter”. Professional MFR I have had has all been garbage but my own techniques have had an effect. Also, meditation can release fascia, and I have a model on how that works. Basically, this is a new area and no one knows much about it — neither practitioners nor scientists.

      Sorry I’m reading this and replying as I go along; there may be other replies.

    • Illuminatus says:

      My model also operates based on an electrical field (meaning that nerve A can connect electrostatically to nerve B if both are activated simultaneously) provided there is an uninterrupted sheet of fascia between them. I didn’t know this model already existed called piezoelectricity (I really started again with the whole thing) but looking at that description that seems to be the same idea I’m working with.

      And this guy just says: “These ideas have never been more than speculation. The first is possible but unproven.” That’s not saying much, is it? How would you even prove that? If you cut into the system you immediately irrevocably alter it meaning it cannot be proven. Measuring such charges in the living body is nigh on impossible because they are super-subtle and will change due to emotional response (in my model).

      He is focused on the gross physical properties of fascia (its “toughness”) — in other words, what he can see with his own eyes — and basing his hit piece on currently unprovability of subtle effects. He’s saying, “La-la-la, I can’t hear you!” when faced with new ideas. This is what modern science has become. They just don’t want to look into effects not conceived of in their existing Stone Age “gross” physical machine models. As Trump would say, bad people.

    • Illuminatus says:

      To quickly outline my model and practice: the “release” in my model is not gross physical, e.g. something sliding off of something. Instead it is the release of electrical bonds from point A to point B which are established through the fascia. A main purpose of REM for example is to release those bonds, hence its property of “wiping” the day’s emotional imprints (and this wiping process is interpreted as a dream as those bonds are broken). Again, all my own speculation. Meditation is one of the best tools for this release as it induces REM (and third eye meditations induce the very helpful “ultrafine” bursts).

      I believe there is something profound here that current science hasn’t a hope of commenting on. They are really downwind and doomed in a lot of areas, now, due largely to their reliance on mechanical models (which remove the effect of consciousness on systems, for example).

    • Illuminatus says:

      The main problem with “myofascial release therapies” is that fascial adhesions occur in spiral formations due to the rotational nature of the joints. E.g. lying on your side with leg drawn up will create a “fold” in the fascia joining all the way to the crown of the head. This “fold” gets snagged on bony regions like the clavicle and hip, and also wraps around nerves along the length of the fold. The purpose of a yawn is to stimulate those nerves (which releases the fascial bond) while also moving the body through enough positions that the fold is stretched away from the bony regions. If you fail to do this then the impression of the fold is left in the fascia. Over time these will accrue in a spiral formation. There is NO WAY hand manipulation can release these. That’s why current techniques are so shit. You MUST activate the body’s own methods for releasing these, of which REM sleep and proper yawning are the two main ones. BTW the real purpose of the “jaw opening” part of a yawn is to release fascia from the trigeminal nerve. There is SO MUCH current science just doesn’t understand about this, but which I do — you’ll have to take my word for it for now till I write it up and give the exercises. I’m smarter than these people because I can join up dots which they don’t seem to be able to do very well.

      I recommend you ignore any techniques I’ve written up in the past as they’re mostly bullshit (I didn’t know what I know now). In the meantime manage problems with Kiss, Smile, Breathe, Repeat and also by spending time lying on a hard surface and letting the body enter automatic movements/tremors:

  5. Rigz says:

    I have started having spontaneous, small movements of muscle/fascia in meditation. These are distinct from what I considered “unwinding” before because they are totally autonomous, they’re obviously not being created by my awareness. When I innervate a small area, the feeling in that area becomes deeper, and a small point of feeling will then begin to “circle” around, or back to front. If I focus on the feeling of that and feel it deeper, the point disappears, bringing with it a feeling of release, before my awareness brings another point of movement into my awareness. Is this micro-unwinding?

    Also my field of vision has begun to change at times. When my eyes are closed I typically have a mess of swirling colours, but usually it seems very close to me, if not within my eyes. Recently I have begun to get “further” away from it, so I see a purple circle as my entire field of vision, whereas before I was too close to the noise to see anything. What is happening here and is this worth focusing on, or should I just ignore it? Thanks

    • Illuminatus says:

      Could be fascial unwinding/release, could be some neuron event, could be nothing. Most likely micro-release caused by REM, which is a complex process that I understand somewhat well but is too complex to write up here. My advice is to completely ignore it, anyway — ignore anything to do with body functions during meditation. Instead cultivate relaxation and joy via concentration on your object. Let the body relax/unwind autonomically. I’ll be writing a couple of posts the next few days — the first on current fascia tech (mainly cultivating simple habits whereby the body unwinds autonomically) and the second on developing awareness simultaneously with attention on your object during concentration, which will be an expansion upon what I’ve written here:

      As for your second question, it sounds like a perception of space is developing within your closed-eyes field of awareness, which is a normal occurrence in early meditation. The colours and visuals are, at this point, not that important (though purple is a fairly common colour occurring at the third eye, if you are placing awareness there such as in Sadhguru’s kriya, above). In concentration and energy work the sign that means most is a spontaneously developing bright light which starts to fill the entire visual field and become brighter and brighter. This is the nimitta, and it usually correlates with increasing rapture/pleasure/joy. Eventually it will become so bright that you will absorb into the nimitta itself and jhana will arise. The nimitta grows alongside your concentration on your object, so while it is a very useful sign of progress you should not switch to placing attention upon it but rather stay with your primary object, until the nimitta grows so intense it pulls you into it.

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