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Those whose goal is to develop mindfulness, should do so with a regimen of regular sitting practise.
Full lotus is done by placing one foot on the thigh of the other leg and then the other foot is also placed on the thigh of the other leg. Virtually any type of clothing is acceptable, but most prefer flexible clothing for the cross-legged positions.
David sitting in a Burmese style, with feet placed on the floor, inline with each other and the tailbone. Imagine the top of your head being pulled upward towards the ceiling, which straightens your spine, then just let the muscles go soft and relax.
If you sit more than 30 minutes a day, I recommend that you alternate which leg goes in front. The most stable of all the positions is the full lotus, where each foot is placed up on the opposite thigh.
You can sit kneeling using a seiza bench, which keeps the weight off your feet and helps keep your spine straight.
It’s easier to stay upright and alert on a chair if you sit closer to the front edge and hold your own spine up instead of leaning against the chair back.
The hands can be kept on the thighs, or folded on the lap, or on top of a cushion on the lap.
The tendency to fall asleep is more of an issue, but there are ways of encouraging alertness when lying down. Another choice is keeping one of your forearms perpendicular to the floor, with your elbow and upper arm resting on the floor. We recommend any position where the arms and hands can be relaxed, often palms up or down on your thighs or folded on your lap. Another common position (a similar one used in zen) involves having the dominant hand held palm up holding the other hand, also palm up, so that the knuckles of both hands overlap. In our tradition we recommend to keep our eyes closed, but it’s perfectly okay to meditate with your eyes open.


It’s helpful to not give in to every urge to move, but to sit with the discomfort for a while, and then slowly and mindfully make a minor adjustment to make the body more comfortable. Zabuton: a square or rectangular padded mat that can sit under the zafu or bench to cushion the knees and ankles. Seiza Bench: a wooden bench used in the kneeling posture, raising the buttocks up so as not to compress the legs. The Buddhist scriptures frequently speak of four postures – walking (gacchanta), standing (thita), sitting (nisinna) and lying down (sayana, M.I,57). However, after their mindfulness has been strengthened, it is necessary to then try to broaden it by becoming mindful during all activities, i.e. These instructions focus on the sitting position, the most common position for formal practice, as it’s conducive to staying alert and relaxed. Depending on your flexibility, it may take a bit of practice for the muscles to stretch and the knees to begin to drop. This position is slightly asymmetrical and sometimes the upper body needs to compensate in order to keep itself absolutely straight. If you sit with your pelvis against the back of the chair, you can use a cushion behind you to help keep your back straight. This can work as a feedback device: when you are beginning to lose consciousness and drift off, the thumbs will pull apart and that will wake you up to bring you back to your meditation.
If there is neck, mid-back or shoulder strain, a small cushion can be placed under the folded hands.
Usually you do so with the eyes kept lowered, with your gaze resting on the ground about two or three feet in front of you. As we get used to sitting, our circulation can improve so it takes longer for them to fall asleep.
Choosing a method that looks good, but is a significant struggle defeats the purpose of meditation. We can use a zafu (a small pillow) to raise the buttocks just a little, so that the knees can touch the ground.


If you sit more than 30 minutes a day, I recommend that you alternate which leg goes on top. Material should not gather behind the knees when you cross the legs, inhibiting circulation.
For some people different cushions, such as crescent shaped, can take the pressure off, and let us sit comfortably longer.
During the preliminary stages of meditation the Buddha recommended (M.I,56) that one sit (nisidati), with the legs crossed (pallankam) and the back straight (uju kayam). The Buddha said: "A monk has full awareness while coming and going, while reaching out his hands or drawing them back, while putting on his robes and carrying his bowl, while eating and drinking, chewing and tasting, even while defecating and urinating. What is most important is what you do with your mind, not what you do with your feet or legs.
With your bottom on the pillow and two knees touching the ground, you form a stable tripod base. Most people find it helpful to put a pillow under their buttocks, place their hands either in their lap or on their knees and close their eyes. He has full awareness while walking, standing and sitting, while falling to sleep and waking up, while talking and remaining silent" (M.I,57).
If you are on a hard floor, placing your cushion on a zabuton (a square padded mat) or blankets is recommended.
Some meditators might find it suits them better to sit on a chair rather than on the floor. The Visuddhimagga makes the helpful suggestion that meditators should try different postures for three days each and then decide on the one that is most comfortable for them (Vis.128).
The two most important aspects of good meditation posture are (1) that the back be straight without being rigid so as to facilitate clear breathing, and (2) that the body be relaxed and comfortable so that discomfort does not become a distraction (S.V,156).



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