This is Why You Should Use a Yoga Block for Seated Meditation
It’s well known that yoga is an ancient practice with roots in modern day India.
But the yoga practiced in the time of the Vedas (the ancient texts of the Hindu religion which contain some of the earliest known references to the yoga practice), looked very different from the yoga we think of today.
There was very little emphasis on the physical part of the practice at all. In fact, the primary objective of the yoga practice was not movement, but stillness.
Seated meditation has been practiced by yogis and spiritual gurus of various lineages for thousands of years.
As you might have noticed, seated meditation is often practiced in a specific position. But did you know there is a particular reason behind this pose?
In this article, we’ll dive into the spiritual, energetic, and physiological significance of this pose, and how using a block can help you access it better in your meditation practice.
Meditation and Lotus Pose
Padmasana or Lotus Pose is a seated posture with crossed legs, where each foot is placed on the opposite thigh.
“Padma” means lotus and “Asana” means pose.
This pose derives from the lotus flower, a type of aquatic flower that grows in shallow waters. Its roots, to which it remains firmly attached even as the water flows, are planted in the mud. From these murky waters, the lotus flower blossoms beautifully and symmetrically on the surface.
The spiritual significance of Padmasana
The lotus is considered a symbol of purity, rebirth, and transcendence.
In Padmasana, we personify this pose, grounding down through the base of the spine and growing vertically through the crown of the head.
As the lotus searches for the surface amidst the flowing water, the mind also searches for stillness and equanimity amidst our flowing thoughts. In reaching for this elevated state, we find expansion, beauty, and purity; we transcend into our highest selves.
The energetic significance of Padmasana
With a straight, vertical spine, this pose creates a clear channel for energy (prana) to flow.
The root chakra (Muladhara) is situated at the perineum, and comes into contact with the earth in this pose. This chakra is associated with sensations of grounding, security, and safety.
Meanwhile, crown chakra (Sahasrara), is extending upward. Located in the energetic field just above the top of the head, this chakra connects our physical selves with the greater universe. It is associated with divine connection and transcendence.
As the energy is unobstructed in its journey upwards, we too can journey to an elevated state of consciousness.
The physiological benefits of Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
Source: Banda Yoga
Full lotus pose has many great physiological benefits, including:
- Hip opening
- Calm the brain
- Keeps the spine straight
- Awareness and focus
- Helps develop good posture
And so many more!
Why should I use a yoga block?
Why use a yoga block? In short, using a block makes this pose more accessible.
While Padmasana may look simple, it’s actually very challenging and demanding on the joints of the lower body. If you’ve ever experienced a knee injury, this pose might be down-right impossible, not to mention potentially dangerous.
Now you are very flexible in your hips and knees, you may be able to reach the full expression of this pose without any modifications.
But as seated meditation requires that this posture be sustained for a prolonged amount of time, it can be difficult to maintain the proper alignment. Furthermore, meditation should be done in a comfortable position, so the mind is not preoccupied with the condition of the body.
This is where the block comes in.
As in any yoga pose, alignment is more important than reaching the most “challenging” or “advanced” expression of a post. There are many different variations, including half lotus (Ardha Padmasana) that still allow you to get the full benefits from this pose.
And using a block can help us get there.
How to Use a Yoga Block in Seated Meditation
To find a supported Padmasana, simply place the block laying flat directly underneath your sit bones.
Be sure to keep your knees lower than your hips and your hips tilted slightly forward. This will ensure that you can maintain a good posture that allows you to meditate for a considerably long time.
Elevating your hips not only helps with posture but also makes sure that proper blood flow and energy is running through all your limbs evenly. While meditation is far from being a injurious practice, sitting in the wrong position for long periods of time can be harmful to your body.
This subtle change in the height of your hips will totally change the way you meditate, and allow you to feel comfortable and more aligned.
Remember: meditation is an out of body experience. For that, the pose you select for your meditation practices should feel comfortable for you to be capable of inducing a heightened state of awareness.
Did monks do this back then?
Many monks still follow the same practices today as they did during ancient times.
So, is using a seated support part of the original practice?
The short answer is, yes!
As you probably assumed, yoga blocks didn’t exist at the time. Instead they would use hand-woven mats made of dried grass to lift the hips and support the lumbar spine’s natural curvature.
But sitting on the ground is a very common practice in Eastern cultures. In fact, many people in India grow up learning meditation, and the practice may be just as common as any other part of a daily hygiene routine!
These factors help people from these regions develop the natural flexibility to access this pose without the need of the block- especially monks, who sit in meditation for countless hours a week.
Long story short, using a yoga block on your meditation will support you in alleviating the stress in your body; specially helpful if you are a beginner; enhances your practice keeping the body comfortable and improves concentration!
There are numerous types of pillows, mats, and cushions available to support you in your meditation practice.
Cork yoga blocks are just one more sustainable and affordable option to support you in so many different practices such as, not only meditation, but also yoga, pilates and for a good old stretch!
With the growing variety of accessories to support your practices, remember to choose the one that best fits your practice and your body. It all comes to listening to your body in the end. Different bodies, different necessities.
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