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Lions Roar : July 2008
63 SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2008 Yoga for Meditators Well-known yoga teacher Desirée Rumbaugh offers a short series of poses that will improve your sitting practice. IF YOUR SITTING PRACTICE is causing your feet to fall asleep, your knees to ache, or your lower back to feel sore, this short sequence of yoga postures may help you meditate more comfortably. These simple hip-opening stretches strengthen and tone the muscles in your inner thighs, outer hips, and lower back in a way that gradually softens the physical resistance your body may have to seated meditation. To go through these poses once requires about ten minutes, but they can be repeated for even bet- ter results. Initially, I recommend that you practice the sequence daily as a preparation to sitting. Then gradually, as your weaker muscles become stronger and your tighter muscles loosen, you will be able to reduce the amount of time you spend preparing to sit. You will discover that your entire body is adapting to your seated meditation posture with greater ease and comfort. Child’s Pose Kneel with your knees apart and your big toes together. Sit down slowly, scooping your tailbone to gently activate your abdominal muscles. Now, if possible, you are sitting with your buttocks resting on your heels. Take deep breaths and allow your hips to become heavy so that your muscles begin to re- lax. Gradually walk your fingers forward, keeping your abdominal muscles engaged and your buttocks grounded to your heels. Then, with your fingertips pressing into the floor, lift your arm bones and gently lower your head. If your forehead doesn’t reach the floor, place a blanket underneath it. Remain here for five slow breaths. If you are unable to sit firmly on your heels, it is OK to allow for a little space between them and your buttocks. Do the best you can. Over time, you will see some improvement. PHOTOS©JOHNHALL,2008 JULY 58-65.indd 63 JULY 58-65.indd 63 4/25/08 11:42:19 AM 4/25/08 11:42:19 AM