We’re not all able or interested in sitting cross-legged during meditation, so it’s valuable to consider some options for supporting your body as you practice. One of the main things in finding a self-compassionate meditation posture is to identify what is supportive and comfortable. Here are some suggestions:
You can lay down on the floor in “corpse pose” with a cushion under your head, lower back and/or knees. Your arms are at a relaxed distance from your body, resting on the floor. Hands can be palms down or palms up, whichever feels more comfortable for you. Allow your feet to drop apart so that you’re not straining to use your leg muscles.
Sitting on a chair
Sitting on a chair is a great way to meditate (and you can do it in public where no-one even knows you’re meditating!). Choose a chair that has a long enough seat that your buttocks, legs and back are well supported. You’ll want to have your buttocks up against the back of the chair and your back reasonably upright. You can put a cushion behind your back if you need more support. Your hips can be slightly above your knees if you want to offer relief for your psoas muscle (the muscle that attaches your lower back to your legs). If your feet don’t reach the ground, put a cushion or small stool under them to rest them on. Rest your hands on your thighs or together in your lap. Shoulders rested, chin in, torso slightly elongated upward (but not in a way that feels straining).
You might like to stand in “gun-slinger” pose – feet shoulder-width apart, knees soft, pelvis slightly tilted under, shoulders relaxed, chin in.
You can do nearly any meditation walking. It might be helpful to choose a path of 10-12 paces to walk back and forth rather than having to navigate your way around the space. But if wandering mindfully around your space feels good, go for it! Sometimes mindful wandering can be a lovely way to listen to the intuition of your body.
You can lay on your back on the ground with your hips and knees at 90 degrees, and your calves and feet resting on a chair. This pose can be good if you have lower back pain, problems with circulation in your legs, or if you’re suffering from menstrual cramps.
Legs Up The Wall
This is similar to Astronaut Pose, with your hips at 90 degrees but your legs straight. You use a wall to support your legs in an upright position as you lay on the ground. Just like the Astronaut Pose, this one can be good for lower back problems, leg circulation problems, and menstrual cramps. If you’d like to relax more in this pose you can place a yoga block or cushion between your ankles and use a yoga strap to hold your legs against that block or cushion.
This yoga pose can be very relaxing, and can also help you nurture and soothe yourself. With your legs together and your shins in the ground, you rest your buttocks on your heels and your torso on your thighs. You rest your head on the ground, and your arms beside your legs on the ground with palms up. Keep your meditation in this pose simple – the power in this pose in its simplicity and nurturing qualities.
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- Podcast Episode 9: Compassion in a T-Shirt: In Session with Kristy Arbon - June 13, 2021
- Somatic Self-Compassion Tree of Practices and Neurochemicals - May 2, 2021