Chairsitting posture

Because cultural habits inspire most Westerners to sit in a chair when they meditate, floor sitting is usually something folks have to work up to with practice. Over time, your asana practice can help you build comfort with sitting on the floor for exercises. As Figure 6-1 shows, your ear, shoulder, and hip are in alignment, as viewed from the side. The following steps walk you through the chair-sitting posture:

1. Use a sturdy armless chair and sit near the front edge of the seat without leaning against the chair back.

Make sure that your feet are flat on the floor. If they don't quite reach, support them with a block, folded blanket, or phone book.

2. Rest your hands on your knees with your palms down and then close your eyes.

3. Rock your spine a few times, alternately slumping forward and arching back to explore its full range of motion.

Settle into a comfortable upright position midway between the two extremes.

4. Lift your chest, without exaggerating the gentle inward curve in your lower back, and balance your head over your torso.

According to Yoga master Patanjali, posture should be "steady" (sthira) and "easeful" (sukha). The basic Yoga sitting position is called, appropriately,

Figure 6-1:

The chair-sitting posture.

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