04 Jan Posture in Meditation
Posture in meditation has a direct impact on channelizing the vital energies in your body. Mastering correct posture is one of the most difficult aspects of meditation. There is absolutely no shortcut in meditation. If you want to meditate for a few minutes, just to feel good and relaxed, then you can do it without posture. You could go for Observant meditation, Witness meditation, Mindful meditation or even Contemplative meditation. But if you want to experience that yogic Samadhi, the supreme union, then having the correct posture is mandatory and this is the only way. I very rarely use the word ‘only’ as there are many ways that lead to the same truth. There is a region of consciousness you have to enter, to experience what meditation really is.
There are ten vital energies in the body: Apana, Udana, Samana, Vyana, Prana, Dhananjaya, Nagarjuna, Krkara, Kurma, and Devadatta. These vital energies control all voluntary and involuntary physical actions, reactions and habits.
The first five are the primary energies: Descending energy (Apana), Ascending Energy (Udana), Diffusive Energy (Samana), Effusive Energy (Vyana) and Life Force (Prana).
The remaining five are secondary energies, which control sneezing, coughing, blinking, twitching, hiccups and similar functions like these.
Correct body posture is paramount to allow the free flow of these energies. When you sit in the correct posture – cross legged, with your back straight, neck straight and your head slightly hooked – that is when you control the descending energy, Apana vayu.
No matter how deep you breathe, you cannot go below the diaphragm. When you sit with your back straight, a bridge of energy is built between the descending energy (Apana vayu) and life force (Prana vayu). That bridge of energy is Samana vayu. This bridge then connects with the Vyana vayu (which usually produces sound and travels to Sushumna – the energy channel which runs along the spinal cord.) When this connection is made, all your channels open up. That is when energy actually travels and you experience bliss.
Patanjali says, until you have perfected your posture, don’t even bother with Pranayama. That is why we have a series of restraints called Yama and its complement Niyama.
Note: Yamas represent a certain discipline and moral restraint, and Niyamas represent observances for maintaining forbearance.
Only then, will you get to asana. Asana is not stretching your limbs like an acrobat; it is perfecting a posture – One single posture where you can sit still for as long as you want. So, until you acquire extraordinary stillness of the posture, do not bother with meditation. If you are not committed, do not bother either, because honestly, then it is a sheer waste of time. Unless, of course, you just want to feel relaxed, you want to sit still and smile, enjoy the sunlight and the chirping of birds etc. If you enjoy that, then it’s fine and not a problem.
But if you want to understand, experience and meditate in the truest possible sense, there is only one way: Persist, Practice, Review. Keep improving, keep improving, keep improving, until the diamond cannot be polished anymore. Keep digging, Keep digging, keep digging, until you find that reservoir of water.
This post is transcribed from the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPgLY6YSp8Q