The benefits of meditation are well known by many. Meditation is one of the best natural remedies for anxiety, among other things. However, meditation for beginners can be very challenging because we may find that sitting in one posture for an extended amount of time becomes uncomfortable pretty quickly. Some gentle yin yoga before beginning a practice can greatly mitigate the discomfort that we feel and as a result allow us to go much deeper into our meditation practice. Before beginning to sit for meditation, a nice hip opener can bring much more ease to the practice.
- There are lots of options for how one might sit during meditation. You may choose to sit on a commonly used zafu (meditation cushion) with crossed legs. Knees should fall slightly below hips.
- If your hips are very tight, sitting on a chair with you feet planted is perfectly fine. Here, knees also sit slightly below hips
- In either case, opening up the hips will assuage some of the discomfort that tends to be associated with meditation. A supported Figure 4 is a great posture for opening up the hips:
- Place your left foot on the ground with your knee bent, close enough that you can graze your heal with your fingertips. Head rests gently on the ground. Cross your right ankle over your left knee and then place your palms behind your left thigh or over your left knee. Gently pull your left thigh toward your chest until you feel a deep stretching sensation in the right hip. Hold for 2-5 mins while taking slow deep breaths and allow yourself to experience the sensation patiently. The switch to the other side.
i. If this is overwhelming or painful, you may place your left leg up a wall and the cross your right ankle across. To come into the stretch begin to bend your left knee until you feel an opening. Hold for 2-5 mins. Then switch.
Originally, the practice of yoga was specifically for preparing the body for meditation. By opening our bodies, we allow there to be more ease and space in the body, which enables us to have greater chances for a more consistent, easeful meditation practice.