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If you sit with poor posture, toughing it out doesn't work. The more you persist the better you get at poor sitting.
"The pocket" of easy balance is where you really begin to improve. And you can find it in no time at all.
If you think about it, infants learned to sit through not-sitting: crawling, rolling, reaching, looking, until sitting naturally emerged. Finding these movements—and then the movement within stillness—is the key to sitting as easily as a child.
Follow this guided movement meditation to re-connect your knees, lower-back, arms, head and gaze.
Odds are, you've been practicing poor sitting for decades. Years of school chairs, sofas, and airplane seats take their toll. And yet, to find your way back to effortless sitting is easier than you might imagine. When, that is, it's approached systematically and playfully.
Enroll in our online course in effortlessly poised sitting...
Chris Moffett, Ph.D., Founder, Poised Meditation
It was my Tai Chi instructor's idea, and since Tai Chi already seemed a kind of moving meditation, I thought it would be relatively seamless. So I added a daily 30 minute meditation to my practice. It quickly became the least favorite part of my day...
Within five minutes my legs would start going numb. Another few minutes and my right shoulder would start aching. A few minutes more and it would become an excruciating pain right in the middle of my neck. I would strain to relax, meanwhile fidgeting and watching the clock.
In hindsight I realize this is not such an uncommon story. But I dreaded it. And eventually, without really admitting it to myself, I gave up, and moved on to other things. I dare say, it's pretty much par for the course for someone who didn't grow up sitting on the floor. What started as a very simple, everyday way of resting and balancing, has become for our Western Culture an exotic limit, almost as unattainable as enlightenment itself!
It took me many years to come full circle. (A story for another time.) But in the meantime I had learned a thing or two about posture and how we learn; things I wish I had known back then.
And one of the most important things I learned is that pushing through rarely pays off in the long run. Instead what I discovered is that the path to effortless balance and sitting is itself effortless. Being upright and at ease is part of our biological birthright, and if we take the time, we can find it for ourselves. More importantly, I discovered that how we sit doesn't have to be detached from how we meditate. Instead they can work together.
These forms are not a means of obtaining the right state of mind. To take this posture itself is the purpose of our practice. When you have this posture, you have the right state of mind.
—Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
I'm still learning something new every time I sit, which is part of the joy of it now. But these days—whether sitting for 20 minutes or an hour—I stand up simply and easily afterward, more coordinated and comfortable than when I sat down.
I wish I could have told my younger self what I now know about how to find poise in sitting. So, for all the people like me, with the best of intentions, struggling to sit comfortably...
This site is for you. And for the beautiful and sustainable meditation practices we can all have, and the ripple effects they can create in our lives and in the world.
Here's a good place to start: