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Posture tips: sitting solidly & comfortably


The original meaning of asana is "seat." The postures of yoga are excellent ways to develop a healthy sitting posture, as well as in standing and walking.

This list can guide you in checking relevant aspects for a healthy, comfortable posture that enables deep, relaxed breathing & samadhi.

Foundational

* Sit with enough cushion that hips are level with or higher than the knees.

* Support knees if necessary.

* Relax buttocks, thighs, legs, & lower back into sit bones so they receive the body's weight.

* Area around sacrum is soft (neither pulled forward nor stuck behind).

* Roll shoulders back & expand outward. Keep soft.

* Energetic lift (not with muscles) up from hips along spine into neck & base of skull and up through the crown of the head.

* Gentle stretch along the back of neck so that there is a slight downward tilt to the face and chin is tucked (not jutting).

* Hands in comfortable, relaxed position that doesn't pull shoulders down or forward.

* Eyes gaze softly past the nose.

Refinements

* Pull up & relax kneecaps.

* Stretch out sit bones.

* Gently roll hips forward (slightly) without tightening sacrum.

* Separate femurs from hip joints

* Relax & soften temples inward.

* Relax inner ears towards each other and hollow downward into throat, chest, & belly.

* Relax jaw hinge below ears.

* Relax & soften tongue back into its base (so that isn't pressing teeth, though it may gently connect with palate).

* Relax soft palate upward.  

* Consciously take deep, full breaths for at least a few breaths and no more than a few minutes. These breaths shouldn't be forced; always work within the body's current limits.

* Gently encourage "four part breathing": first lower belly and lower back, then up into collar bones & upper back.

* Body becomes like a cylindrical bellows, hollowing inside outward in all directions. Breath drops into pelvic cavity and fills upward. This occurs receptively rather than forcefully.

* The "hollow" fills with pleasant, life giving energy that radiates throughout the body.