Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What to do from the waist down

Just as a tree needs to set down deep roots so it won’t fall over as it grows, you need to find a comfortable position for the lower half of your body that you can sustain for 5, 10, or 15 minutes — or even longer, if you want. After several millennia of experimentation, the great meditators have come up with a handful of traditional postures that seem to work especially well. Different though they may appear from the outside, these postures have one thing in common: the pelvis tilts slightly forward, accentuating the natural curvature of the lower back.

The following poses are arranged more or less in order, from the easiest to the hardest to do, though ease all depends on your particular body and degree of flexibility. For example, some people take to the classical lotus position (whose name derives from its resemblance to the flower) like a duck to . . . well, to a lotus pond. Besides, the lotus, though difficult, has some definite advantages, and you can work up to it by stretching your hips using the yoga exercises described in the section “Preparing Your Body for Sitting,” later in this chapter. Above all, don’t worry about which looks the coolest; just experiment until you find the one that works best for you

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