Today's Daily Tip
Sthira Sukham Asanam (Seated posture should be steady and comfortable.)
The Perfect Seat
But getting down on the floor to sit doesn't mean forcing yourself into Padmasana if your body doesn't belong there. Even seasoned asana practitioners who can get into Lotus without a problem may not find it comfortable for long sits. Luckily other seated meditation poses exist and can provide many of the same benefits. If you can't do full Lotus, try Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose). Siddhasana (Adept's Pose) is another sitting pose that comes with sterling historical credentials: The Gheranda Samhita lists Siddhasana as a legitimate meditation posture, and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika even promises that it will lead the practitioner to Samadhi if practiced consistently for 12 years. For very many practitioners, Siddhasana puts less strain than Padmasana on the ankles, knees, and hips. Sukhasana (Easy Pose)—sitting upright with legs crossed at the shins and your feet under your knees or thighs—also allows many people to sit upright without experiencing strain in the leg joints. For would-be meditators who cannot conceive of ever sitting in any cross-legged position for more than a just a few labored breaths, Virasana (Hero Pose) also gives a firm foundation; in this pose, you kneel and then sit back onto the floor or a yoga block placed between your feet.
These poses all work well for meditation because they share certain essential qualities. Physically, a good meditation pose should be one you can hold for an extended period, quietly, without fidgeting or fussing. It should provide a solid foundation, a base on which you feel secure and stable. You should experience a balance between release and effort, surrender and exertion, and grounding and lifting. Energetically, you should feel firmly connected to the earth and yet light as a feather. Finally, a good seated pose should bring a sense of clarity and alertness.