How to Sit

The most common questions I get when I introduce meditation to anyone is, “does it matter how I sit?” and  “do I need to sit cross-legged like a pretzel on the floor to meditate?”. howtosit

My response is always the same – the key is to be comfortable. If you’re not comfortable, it may be easier for you to give up meditating altogether.

Unless we’re doing a body scan or chakra toning, it’s preferable not to lay down – because people have a tendency to fall back to sleep when they lay down, but other than that, sitting in a particular posture really isn’t that important to me.

There are many meditation disciplines that emphasize sitting ‘the right way’ quite a bit. If you were in class on Monday, you heard Betty giving direction on how to formally sit in the seven pointed posture – and it makes sense – certain seated positions not only open us up physically but also open us up emotionally. When our posture is open, when our spine is erect and our hands are not crossed in front of us, we feel more open and confident! In fact, if you sit straight up you get more oxygen to the brain making it easier to learn.

With all that said, what I’ve found over the years is that while the posture we use in a formal class is useful, what happens sometimes is we get so wrapped up on perfecting and maintaining that perfect posture that it becomes less open and more rigid.  We focus on how to make the perfect seat (adding blankets, blosters, etc) so my leg won’t fall asleep. We start to hyperfocus on perfecting ‘the one seat’.

For me, I never sit on the floor at home. In fact, much like this picture of my son meditating before school, I sit on a couch with with a blanket over me. I suggest the real reason that yogis sat on the floor thousands of years ago is… wait for it… because they didn’t have comfortable chairs!

What I try to do in my seat is cultivate an inner attitude for openness. What’s most important is that we approach meditation with the quality of being relaxed, open, and alert. Especially in the beginning. The last thing I want to be thinking about during my meditation is how much pain in my body is in – I really don’t need the extra distractions… I do fine all by myself . So, it’s all about our inner attitude.

A few questions for you to think about as you find YOUR seat – whether it’s slouchy or straight – Are you open or closed off? Do you sit with ease? Is your approach simple or rigid? Are you thinking too much about the body during the meditation?

Be comfortable.

I hope this helps!

-Andy

Connecting Beyond The Classroom

June, 2012 – Taken by my Special Photographer – Anika

I had the pleasure of seeing one of my students yesterday, Tiye, who is now up at the middle school.  She was picking up her younger sister from school and came right over to me with a big smile on her face.  She told me how she still remembers to use her breath to come back to the present moment when she’s feeling stressed.  Tiye holds the record for taking our Morning Mindfulness classes – four sessions in a row.

I’ve seen Tiye’s confidence grow over those two years and now it seems that she can jump hurdles that would stop most of us adults.  Just seeing her enthusiasm smile made me smile, proof that kindness is truly contagious.

Peace IN.

-Andy

 

 

Morning Mindfulness For Kids – Looks to the future, while staying in the present.

Today was the last Morning Mindfulness Workshop For Kids this year. I can’t tell you how much we’ve enjoyed these classes. It’s been deeply gratifying for both Catharine and me.  Over the past year, we’ve seen the general atmosphere in the classrooms become more balanced and some classes even slowed down. I wish I recorded the first meditation we ever did vs. the one we did yesterday – total stillness!  Today’s meditation was so still, so quiet. I was so proud of these kids. I attribute some of that improvement to the kids’ growing awareness of their breath, their five senses, and learning to block out the distractions around them.

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