In Part 1 of this blog article, I explored some of the basics of alignment, posture and sitting comfortably on the floor. Now lets take a closer look at some of the refinements to even bring about more ease when sitting.
Ideally we always want the knees lower than the hips when sitting in Easy Pose – Sukasana. So placing a blanket, block, zafu or zabuton will help elevate the hips into a neutral position, allow the hip flexors to relax and let the knees fall naturally towards the ground. Play around with the height – once you find what works best for you, you will find the body relaxing and the pose very comfortable.
Next we need to think about how our body is aligned vertically in space, or to put it another way, keep our body in the middle of centre. The tendency is to lean forwards (indicative of our forward, future thinking mindset) – but we want to be perpendicular to the floor, so neither too far forwards, nor too far back. You can rock your body forwards and backwards until you find your perfect center.
Then we want to get in contact with our sitz bones. Many of you have heard this term in a yoga class and this is the common name for the ischial tuberosity, the lowest of the three major bones that make up the pelvis . Your sitz bones are located under the flesh of your buttocks and to access them, we reach around and lift the flesh of the buttock away from the center and then repeat on the other side. You will feel yourself being propped up on those sitz bones. This allows for better spinal alignment and to become grounded in the posture.
Now allow the spine to gently elongate – imagine the breath starting at the tailbone and moving up along the length of the spine to the crown of the head. There should still be a natural curve in the spine, but you should feel like you are sitting straight. Gently engage your navel towards the base of the spine so you feel the pelvic floor lift slightly. And draw the inner edges of your shoulder blades into the heart feeling the collarbones broaden and the heart expand. Let the chin drop very slightly towards the heart so the back of the neck lengthens. Your hands can rest on your knees, in meditation of dhyana mudra (for women, left hand over right palms up with thumbs touching – for men switch the palms) or in any other comfortable position.
Keep the breath relaxed and find that perfect balance between effort and effortlessness. Hold for as long as is comfortable slowly increasing the time that you are able to stay in the posture.