Pain in meditation? It’s not part of the practice,
it’s just tight hips
It’s important to allow yourself some time to sit before practicing. Even if you can only sit quietly for a few minutes, the rest of your practice will be more satisfying and helpful.
People who are trying to practice yoga or meditation often report they’re in pain sitting on the floor. In addition to certain health conditions, this discomfort can be caused by tight hips and ankles, or stiffness in the back. Because tightness and stiffness are things that we’re trying to heal, we can make the mistake of thinking that pain is part of the process of getting well. It isn’t.
Sit with your hips above your knees
If the way you sit causes physical pain, you won’t be able to engage in a rich practice. Trust me, once you’ve reduced the strain on your joints, learning to be with steadiness and ease has plenty of other discomfort that’s actually beneficial to stay with and observe!
Practice Tip It’s fine to sit in a chair for centering or meditating. If you do want to sit on your mat, try sitting on a cushion or a yoga block. Getting your hips a little elevated from the floor will take the strain out of your knees and ease your low back.
Text of the video If you find it painful to sit on the floor on your yoga mat, you can buy a special cushion called a zafu or just take some pillows off your couch. Start by sitting down in the middle of the stack, then sit cross legged and slide toward the front edge.
This cross legged position is called sukhasana. If you are working toward sitting in padmasana, you can help yourself in that direction by sitting in half lotus on your cushions.
Another option is sitting on a block. Place the black between your ankles and bring your knees together in front of it as you sit.
No matter which position you choose,let your shoulders be broad and drop them away from your ears. Lengthen the front of your spine without arching your back.
Close your eyes and explore pratyahara: turning your senses inward, relaxing and focusing on your breath.
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.