In This Chapter
^ Discovering the traditional purpose and benefits of postures ^ Starting out slow and safe with easier postures a ulture greatly influences the way humans sit. People in the Eastern hemisphere favor squatting on their haunches or sitting cross-legged on the floor, but most Westerners are only comfortable sitting on chairs — as you're probably doing right now as you read this book. Actually, your everyday sitting preferences have a decided effect on your capacity to feel steady and comfortable in the Yoga postures, whether standing or sitting.
If you're new to Yoga and its sitting postures, you'll soon discover that a lifetime of chair-sitting exacts a stiff price. Your work with the postures in this book can help you gradually improve your floor sitting, but until you're ready to make the transition to the floor, use a chair when you sit for formal practice. After all, two of the larger Yoga organizations in the world, The Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) and Transcendental Meditation (TM), encourage their Western practitioners to use a chair for meditation and breathing exercises.
In this chapter, we describe the following sitting postures that you can use for relaxation, meditation, breath control, various cleansing practices, or as a starting point for other postures:
✓ Chair-sitting posture
✓ Thunderbolt posture
✓ Auspicious posture
✓ Perfect posture
Many other sitting postures exist in Yoga; you can gradually add to your basic repertoire as your joints become more flexible and your back muscles gain strength.
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