A good sitting posture in meditation is very important. A wrong sitting posture can lead to physical complaints. Often in the back, but possibly also in the ankle, knee or hip joints.
Inconveniences and / or pains can not be prevented
Mind you, it is not that a good sitting posture can completely prevent pain. On the contrary, even very experienced yogis sometimes experience sensations in the legs, lower back and / or upper back. From the meditation point of view, these ‘aches’ are used as practice objects. In meditation practice we try to be ‘with what is there’. Kriebel I often use as an example. If there is a tickle then try to be there without intervening. So do not scratch. You will see that it automatically disappears into the background again. In life we also encounter suffering and inconveniences. Pain during meditation gives insight into how we relate to this and at the same time we can also use it to practice with this.
Injury pain or growing pain?
I often make a distinction between green pain and red pain. Or also injury pain or growing pain. With injury pain I mean pains caused by a wrong (sitting) posture that lead to an injury or long lasting pain. With growth pain I mean pains that you can learn from, as described above. Growth pain goes away quickly or immediately as soon as you get up. A sleeping leg is often a form of growing pain. An inconvenience in which we usually do not have to change our position.
Sit relaxed. A while without real pains
Many people have the assumption that you have to be in a lotus posture when you start meditating. If you can do this easily than I recommend this, but for most Western people this is not easy to do.
As a rule, I often use that you have to be in a certain position for at least 15 minutes before there really is a need to change. Prefer 20 minutes. If you are just starting to meditate, this can obviously be a shorter time. It is not that you should not see any inconveniences, but it should not be that you have to move after 7 minutes, because otherwise you experience too many aches and pains.
Therefore, examine what is the right posture for you, an attitude in which you can stay in the legs, lower back or upper back for a longer period of time without pain. This can also mean for many people that they can sit better on a chair and some people can even better lie down (possibly alternate between them).
What to look out for in the sitting position?
It is important that you can sit relaxed, and yet in a dignified position. Upright.
Your spine must take a nice S shape. Many people who sit wrong use a C form.
You get an S shape by tilting your pelvis a little bit forward while fully stretching yourself. Your crown rises to the ceiling or the sky. Check whether your body is not holding unnecessary stresses. Your legs, shoulders, jaws and forehead are important areas of attention. You can lift your shoulders once and then lower them backwards so that your chest area opens up further and the shoulder blades come closer to each other. I advise you to put your palms upwards because this subtle level also opens your chest a bit further.
Provide a good meditation cushion
If you choose to sit in a cross-legged or a lotus position, make sure your pillow is high enough. In general, people who are agile need a low meditation cushion (and sometimes even no pillow) and people who are less agile have a high meditation cushion (or a chair). Make sure you sit a bit on the tip of the pillow, causing your pelvis to tilt a bit further forward (see paragraph above).
To get the right height you can also get some buckwheat from the meditation cushion.
There should be no more tension in the legs. In many people, the lower legs and knees are not on the ground. Because they have no support, they still retain tensions in the legs. Then provide a cushion for under the legs. You can also opt for a blanket or a decorative pillow that you still have at home. If it is soft and ensures that your legs stay up.
You can also opt for a meditation bench or a chair. You have meditation benches where the legs and knees come to lie on the side of the legs, and also meditation benches where they lie between the legs of the bench. Both are fine, see what feels most comfortable for you.
Provide a soft surface
Do not just sit on the floor, but provide a soft surface. This can be, for example, a folded bath towel or a yoga mat. Personally, however, I always recommend using a meditation mat.