Mailbag: Posture and Energy Poses for a Straight Spine
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!