Do you experience discomfort in cross-legged meditation?
I started examining this question in my last post. I promised to explore this a bit further by giving you two questions to help you find your most comfortable cross-legged sitting position. The more comfortable you are, the more physically relaxed and focused your meditation will be.
1. How high is your pelvis?
Your pelvis connects your legs to your back and bears the brunt of your weight when you’re sitting in cross-legged meditation. For both these reasons, it’s the most important part of the body to get right if you want to be comfortable.
Sit down with your legs crossed as you would in meditation. What’s happening to your legs? Do your knees pull up towards the ceiling or down towards the floor? If your knees aren’t orienting towards the floor, you need more height under your pelvis.
Chip foam blocks are excellent elevators. So are blankets. Chip foam blocks give your pelvis a generous boost while blankets provide more subtle elevation.
You may find that you need a combination of the two. You can use the chip foam blocks to get you in the right ball park, and add a folded blanket or two to fine tune your set up until you hit that sweet spot.
The sweet spot is where your knees are falling towards the floor, your pelvis feels stable and you can give your spine a tall, straight quality without strain anywhere in the back. This will probably start to happen somewhere around the point when your knees are at or just below your waist.
2. Is your pelvis stable?
Now that you’ve found the right elevation for your pelvis, examine how it sits on your height. Place your hands along your waist, arms akimbo, with your index fingers wrapping forward and your thumbs wrapping back towards your sacrum.
This is the top of your pelvis. If you imagine your pelvis is a cup of water, your hands are now forming the rim. Is that rim level? Or is the water pouring out the front, the back or one of the two sides?
If you can adjust your sitting position so that your pelvis is relatively level – not pouring out in any direction – you’ll distribute your body weight more evenly through the pelvis and into your sitting bones where they connect with your set up.
You’ll also be distributing the weight off your sacrum and isolated parts of your spine, creating a more even and comfortable sitting posture that you can hold for longer. With your pelvis in the right position, it’s time to do a bit of troubleshooting for your back. We’ll cover that in the next post.
Che Nolan is a propologist with a major in bolsterology and an Iyengar yoga practitioner with a daily meditation practice. He is also a writer and a regular Halfmoon contributor.