For thousands of years, the primary posture for meditation has been the lotus or half lotus position. One could wonder if that is simply because people sat on the ground Indian-style for the most part. But, in fact, there are many good and even important reasons to use the classic meditation posture if one can, and if not, then, to use good erect sitting posture.
- The mountain of stability: Sitting lotus forms a mountain-like shape or pyramid of our body. Just as a mountain is immovable, lotus posture helps our dense and subtle anatomy align and coordinate so as to provide tangible stability to our meditation session. Also, just as a pyramid magically attracts and distributes refined energies, sitting lotus attracts the energies of the higher states of Being. Then, lotus asana helps the bio-energy fields distribute those refined and higher energies through the cells, blood, heart, brain, and mind, as well as the chakra system then outward to the environment and others. While meditating, we are like a pyramid with its capacities for energy reception and distribution. Of course, this capacity needs to have been cultivated through skill in meditation, but that’s attended through consistency with one’s practice.
- Confidence: We feel taller and more confident when we stand up straight. An erect and coordinated sitting posture brings a similar feeling. We feel more confident in our practice and in our ability to use what we have learned or are learning.
- Alignment: Sitting erect aligns the parts of our body. Sitting properly can be done in lotus asana or upright in a chair.
- The sit-bones serve as a bowl in which the whole Being rests. This lowest part of the torso serves as a foundation and it gives the feeling of ground. This area of the body is related to the first chakra.
- The area of the second chakra (from the hips bones up to the just below the navel) drives most of our attachments and desires. When this area is tucked in consciously in meditation, this action facilitates alignment to the core of Being. This can generate experiences of inner presence, contentment, and ease. These temporarily negate attachments and desires. With the repetition of a daily meditation practice, one’s desire nature becomes less needy and less clingy.
- The area of the third chakra is from the navel up to and inclusive of the diaphragm. This area is the psychic center of our “me-ness.” Tucking in the tummy muscles and lifting the chest away from the diaphragm brings detachment and a feeling of perspective or relativity to the self-absorbed third chakra. The lifting of the chest occurs naturally as we tuck in the muscles below it. The body must expand and free its parts, one from another, as the contracted and protecting small self lifts and opens to expansive Being. Lotus asana provides the experience of how contracted our sense of self is as the natural domino effect of alignment takes place.
- The area of the heart chakra (fourth) is in the center of the chest and extends slightly toward the throat. The heart needs room; and as we sit in proper asana, our chest lifts, expands, and the shoulders naturally back and down. The heart can be more prominent energetically as a result. This effects the meditation session in many ways including an increase in the feelings of peace or calm or composure. This brings supports stability and spaciousness in the mind and its thoughts. Also, the heart is designed to be the largest oscillator within the body and within the spiritual life. When we align, the heart can take on that function. One result is to experience a variety of qualities or attributes of our higher nature. Lastly, the heart is non-personal and other-focused; and being available and present to others genuinely can increase over time as one includes lotus asana and meditation in one’s life.
- The area of the throat and neck relate to the fifth chakra. Good asana can help relieve shoulder, neck, and lower skull-area tension. In alignment, the throat and neck area correspond to the base of a pyramid’s apex. In that way, it is a second ground, a second platform of stability. When meditation practice includes the use of chant, Oming, or mantra, alignment facilitates resonance. It also supports the invocation of energies that mantra and chant intend.
- The area of the brow is related to the sixth chakra. The brow center is called ajna. During meditation, this location is usually where people experience light, brightness, or transparency as well as the expansive, spacious, or sky-like nature of mind. It is at ajna that we also cultivate focus and concentration. One learns to let thoughts be, to no longer chase them, brush them away, or try to repress them. With practice and patience, one day the experience of the luminous quality of mind free of chatter and flighty thoughts is realized as present – and that it always was. Sitting in good asana brings the ajna into its proper position as the monitor of all that IS.
- From the crest of the skull to the top center of the head is the area of the crown chakra. Sitting in lotus asana or erect in a chair aligns the crown center with the spine and the 1st chakra at its base. One can imagine a perfect line of light going down the spine as a result; and within the subtle anatomy, the central channel is this and serves this function. Ultimately, good asana and alignment provide that higher will and purpose will flow through our core. As a result, we might experience ourselves sitting buddha-like, in perfect and composed awareness.
More can be said about good asana in meditation, but these points report some reasons why it is important.