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Lions Roar : September 2010
53 SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2010 and knees are far from the floor, roll up two blankets and place one under each thigh so that your legs are fully sup- ported. This will allow you to relax your groins and lower abdominals. over time your hips will become more open but without this support they will continue to grip and you could develop an injury. if this were your yoga partner, you would happily place a rolled up blanket under their thighs for them, so no need to resist doing it for yourself, right? Place your palms on your thighs. align your upper arm bones with the side of your body, so that your chest is open and your back is upright. if your hands slide past your knees it will tend to close your chest, inhibiting your breathing and creating upper back stress. if your arms are a tad short, then place a small cushion or folded up blanket on each thigh so your forearms can rest on a higher plane. This should feel pretty good! in fact, it might not feel like anything and that is also good. This preparation might seem cumbersome, but if we can take the time to create the conditions for a supported meditation position, that will support a focused and restful mind. When one body part starts screaming, it pulls the mind there and discomfort be- comes the object of meditation, rather than the breath. sakyong Mipham rinpoche says meditation is simply placing the mind, and therefore we are actually meditat- ing all the time. But formal meditation practice is mak- ing a choice about how and where we place our mind. This requires working with the body in a careful way so that physical discomfort does not overtake the mind. Make a commitment to being honest about what you are really feeling. Not what you want to feel or not feel. The goal is not to have perfect meditation posture but to step onto the path toward a healthy sitting position. Even though you might have felt nicely balanced and comfortable two min- utes ago, something may have shifted and now you don’t feel comfortable. That’s okay. reorganize if you need to. if you don’t need to, don’t. Be clear about it. Move if you are getting hurt. Don’t move if you are getting bored. you will find yourself slouching. No problem. refresh your posture. This will happen again and again, just as your mind strays off into thoughts. When you notice it, wake up, sit up, and come back to your object of meditation, usu- ally the breath. in this way you are strengthening your mind muscle and your body muscles at the same time. if you can be kind to yourself and interested in what your experience is, and if you can commit to being friendly to your own body by creating the conditions for proper physical support, then meditation becomes a truly integrated mind–body–heart activity. ♦