Holding the Body
I wasn't sure what I'd write about this morning when I got out of bed. I thought about how easy it can be in many ways to slip back into practice after a long hiatus. Only my body seems to know it has been a while since I've been on the cushion.
I talked a bit earlier this week about warming up the body before sitting. This makes a huge difference for me... But I find myself needing a reminder on how to hold the body while sitting... what to pay attention to, what to correct.
So today I'm crossposting an entry from my blog... I originally posted this as the Daily Dharma entry on 20 September 2005.
The Six Points of Posture
Sitting meditation begins with good posture. Awareness of the six points of posture is a way to be really relaxed and settled in the body. Here are the instructions:
- Seat: Whether you're sitting on a cushion on th floor or in a chair, the seat should be flat, not tilting to the right or left, or to the back or front.
- Legs: The legs are crossed comfortably in front of you--or, if you're sitting in a chair, the feet are flat on the floor, with the knees a few inches apart.
- Torso: The torso (from the head to the seat) is upright, with a strong back and an open front. If sitting in a chair, it's best not to lean back. If you start to slouch, simply sit upright again.
- Hands: The hands are open, with palms down, resting on the thighs.
- Eyes: The eyes are open, indicating the attitude of remaining awake and relaxed with all that occurs. The eye gaze is slightly downward and directed about four to six feet in front of you.
- Mouth: The mouth is very slightly open so that the jaw is relaxed and air can move easily through both the mouth and nose. The tip of the tongue can be placed on the roof of the mouth.
Each time you sit down to meditate, check your posture by running through these six points. Anytime you feel distracted, bring your attention back to your body and these six points of posture.
[...from Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings by Pema Chödrön, pg. 15]
Today, I need the reminder... I hope you find it useful as well.