Sitting Meditation for beginners may be very challenging. Not only does the mind wander but sitting in one posture for an extended amount of time can become grueling. Sitting still and upright tends to highlight our areas of tightness and tension. However, sitting meditation has many benefits and tends to bring greater composure to our emotional state and lessens feelings of depression.
In order to ease the physical difficultly you may encounter when starting your sitting meditation practice, start with some gently yin yoga to open up and prepare your body. Yin yoga is a type of yoga where we stay in each posture for an extended amount of time (1-5 minutes) and allow connective tissue the opportunity to lengthen and create more space. Opening the hips is the simplest way of creating a more comfortable meditation practice. Here is how to open the hips with a couple simple yin yoga poses:
- Place a yoga mat or blanket below you to create padding.
- Come into child’s pose: Bring the toes to touch and let the knees splay out until you feel a little bit of stretch and resistance in the hips and groin arean. Then lower your torso toward/onto the ground with your arms splayed forward and palms face down. Let your forehead rest on the ground or on a cushion. You may feel this posture stretching the groin, hip and lower back. Send each slow, steady inhale into sensation, and use each long, complete exhale to let go of muscular engagement and tension. Stay here for 2-5 minutes.
- From Childs pose come into floor frog: press the palms down into the ground and come up onto the forearms or palms. Bring the feet/ankles parallel with the knees. You may feel this pose in the groin, hips and or lower back. Feel free to place a bolster, pillow or support beneath your torso for extra support. You may also like to place a pillow beneath your forehead.
- If you feel overwhelmed or experience pain, back out of the posture and consider using some additional support to enable greater relaxation into the pose (pillows, blankets, cushions, blocks etc.)
- After you have completed these poses, lie on your back and allow your arms and legs to splay out as you completely relax in savasana (corpse pose) for a couple of minutes to allow your body to integrate the opening.
- With slightly more open hips, sitting meditation for beginners will be a more accessible, sustainable practice
Remember, when you get started on your meditation practice, it doesn’t have to be for hours on end! Start small and build up slowly. Developing a consistent practice has so many benefits and in society where we tend toward being constantly busy, meditation is one of the best natural remedies for anxiety.