I was confronted with the challenge of how to sit for meditation in 2008 when I attended my first 10-day Vipassana meditation course.
It was torture for me.
I was yearning for low back pain relief.
For the first 3 days I was waiting/hoping for the pain/discomfort to eventually dissipate and, at the same time, contemplating leaving early because it was just too much.
Eventually, I realized that they offered back-supports.
A meditation bench would have been better.
For the remaining 7 days it was a relief for me to at least sit without pain. There was still discomfort but not reacting to sensations is one of the concepts encouraged with mindfulness.
When I attended my second Vipassana meditation course in 2010, I didn’t use any back-support yet it was still much more manageable.
I had done a little stretching since the first course.
But it still wasn’t enough.
I observed another practitioner who was boarding in the same room as me who seemed very comfortable sitting cross-legged. At the end of the 10 days we were chatting and he said that it was not like that on his previous course.
The difference was he had spent considerable time stretching.
Here is a free 15-minute follow-along stretching session for how to sit for meditation, which includes some great explanations from Kit about its application, drawing on his years of intensive experience.
And here is a free full 1-hour follow-along stretching session for how to sit for meditation.
These are invaluable resources of information.
Applying what he demonstrates in both of these videos is the difference between:
a) never really feeling comfortable sitting during meditation where you never access deeper experiences because you can’t get past superficial physical barriers;
b) finally being able to relax in the cross-legged position which can become a spring-board to explore your meditation practice in a much more profound way.
Or to get an ergonomic meditation bench.
As always, feeling your body should direct how you approach your meditation practice, without expectations of what you think you should be able to do, or what others might be doing.