Sitting for Meditation

It can be very useful in establishing a regular meditation practice at home to set up the physical conditions.  These don’t have to be ‘perfect,’ just good enough to allow us to sit in meditation: if you can have a positive association with them so much the better.  A place needs to be relatively quiet (the sounds of others going about their business is just ‘life’ so let’s not be too fussy), of reasonable temperature and with air that is fresh enough to promote an alert state of mind.

One aspect of these physical conditions is the support on which we sit.  This could be a chair, so it may be  making the most suitable chair available for meditation. It may even mean adapting a chair (for example by sloping the chair forwards) or even purchasing a new  chair.

Many people like to use cushions.  Ordinary domestic cushions are often too soft so they may need re-stuffing or simple cylindrical cushions can be made fairly easily.  A huge variety of meditation cushion are available for sale: as a quick Internet search will show.  The bookshop at the London Buddhist Centre sells cushions. The burgundy cushions used at the class are made by Alpha CushionsBlue Banyan are another reputable supplier.  Yoga blocks are another cheap alternative – Yoga Mad are good suppliers for these as well as other useful items. Quiet Mind Meditation sells meditation stools. I’ve also know people improvise using old sofa cushions, telephone directories or even over-stuffed pillow cases.

Another alternative is to use a kneeling stool.  These can be bought from the suppliers suggested above or can be homemade.  The advantage to the homemade variety is you can tailor it to fit your own body.

Whether homemade or bought it can be a useful aid and a psychological commitment to the practice of meditation. Don’t forget the mat the cushion, chair or stool will be resting on, it can make a contribution to our comfort or otherwise as well.  A throw to wrap round the body may also help.

However you sit a firm base that allows the body to be relaxed but alert is what is needed.  Try different approaches and see what works for you, if you find something that works please share it with others.

Nandaketu