About Posture and The Importance Of Proper Posture

On this page I'll first address the anatomy of your body. By knowing anatomy, you'll be able to understand more about proper sitting posture. I'll conclude with the benefits of proper posture during your sitting.

The Anatomy Of The Human Body

There are 206 bones in the human body. Your bones support the weight of your body. Without bones, you'd just be a lump of jelly; like a jellyfish. Bones hold your body up.

Ligaments and Joints
Ligaments hold two bones together. When two bones touch, this is called a joint. Joints are where movement occurs. There are 230 joints in the human body. That's a lot of places where your body can move! That's 230 places where you can be aligned correctly or incorrectly. Luckily you do not have to make sure that each of your 230 joints are all properly aligned to have proper sitting posture during meditation. When the five points of the posture lesson are properly aligned, then all of the 230 joints of your body will be in proper alignment during your sitting. When these five points are proper, then your posture will be correct.

Muscles move your bones by contracting/shortening/tightening. When a muscle contracts to a strong degree, your body moves. When a muscles contracts less than this amount, you have tension without movement. When sitting during meditation it's these areas of excessive tension without movement that become painful. If this excessive tension increases, then your body can be pulled away from its correct alignment/correct posture.

There is a good type of muscle tension. I call that muscle tension postural muscle tension. To read about postural tenstion and the different types of muscle tension (helpful and detrimental) during your sitting, click here. Postural muscle tension keeps your body upright during your sitting. Without postural tension you'd fall over like a sack of potatoes. When you fall asleep during meditation, you experience this loss of postural tension. First it can be just your head nodding forward. If you fall more deeply asleep during your sitting, then your entire upper body will start falling over like a sack of potatoes.

There are approximately 640 muscles in the human body. That's a lot of muscles that can either have a proper and healthy amount of tension or have an excessive and improper amount of tension.

An excessive amount of tension in your muscles always interferes with your sitting posture. An excessive amount of tension never helps your body to be comfortable. An excessive tension is always needed to help your spine stay erect when your body is not properly aligned. Excessive tension often leads to discomfort, pain, and a loss of your erect spine. Excessive tension (which is distorting and disturbing tension) is always an interference to proper posture, and it's never a help.

The Relationship Between Proper Alignment and Muscle Tension
Your bones are designed to support the weight of your body. When your bones are properly aligned your muscles are in their least state of work; as relaxed as they can be. When your bones/posture is improperly aligned, your muscles will have to tighten for your body to remain in that position. The more that you're not in proper posture, the more your muscles will have to tighten. The more your muscles tighten, the harder it is to be in proper posture. Also the more your muscles tighten, the quicker and more you'll have pain during your sitting.

Think about it for a moment. What hurts during your sitting? Do your bones hurt? No, though it may feel like it. Do your organs hurt? Hopefully not. Do your nerves hurt? Yes, if your alignment is bad enough for this to occur. Your muscles are what hurts during your sitting.

How do you get your muscles to not hurt? Don't have them do more work than postural tension. (If you haven't read about postural tension, distorting tension, and disturbing tension, click here).

Postural tension is the only tension that is good to have during your sitting. How do you have your muscles have only postural tension? You have your bones properly aligned; you have proper posture. Then the bones can do their job as much as possible can to support the weight of your body. It's only when your bones are doing their best job to support the weight of your body that you can have only postural tension. Otherwise you'll need to have distorting and within the time of your sitting, you'll also develop disturbing/painful tension. The only time that your bones can do their best in supporting the weight of your body is when your body is in proper aligment/proper posture.

The pain in your body during your sitting is primarily pain in your muscles. The more proper your alignment is, the less your muscles will have to overwork to the point of becoming painful.

How do you solve the problems of pain and the loss of an erect spine during your sitting? You have proper alignment. How do you have proper alignment? By having five parts of your body be in proper alignment. These five points determine the position of your 230 joints and they also determine how comfortable your 640 muscles are.

A Little Bit Off Over Time Leads To A Very Different Result
Why are long meditation physically uncomfortable for a lot of people? Because they are improperly aligned in usually more than one of these five points. A little bit off over a period of time produces a very different result than if you're not a little bit off. I'll use an accurate analogy of the very different results that can happen when something is a little bit off over a period of time.

The Airplane Story
There are 360 degrees in a circle. Three degrees of the circle is .83% of the degrees in a circle. This means that three degrees is less than 1% of the degrees in a circle. Five degrees is 1.4% of the degrees in a circle. These are very small amounts of the degrees in a circle.

Let's take this same three degrees and five degrees and apply them to an airplane flying from Los Angeles to New York City. If the plane leaves Los Angeles and it's off three degrees to the south, then it will land in Baltimore, Maryland; which is 170 miles away. If the plane is off five degrees to the south, it will land in Richmond, Virginia; which is 288 miles away. These both are very different destinations that New York City.

This accurate story applies to the position of the five points during a longer sitting. The more each of these points are off, the more you'll not have a comfortable body with an erect spine.

Being .83% incorrect (three degrees) or 1.4% incorrect (five degrees) is so very, very small in being incorrect. Yet, over time, the results can be much different than what you'd want to have.

Many meditators are incorrect/off course 10%, 15%, or more in more than one of these five points. I've worked with many meditators that have regularly meditated for decades and they're still incorrect by 20% or more in more than one of these five points. No wonder that long meditations are a problem for them or are impossible for them!

Your body is giving you pain or your spine is not staying upright for very good reasons. It's your job to answer your body's call of trouble with the correct response. It's my job in the three and a half hour posture lesson to give you all of the tools that you'll need in finding the true solution to your body's pain or for the inability of your spine to stay erect. It takes three and a half hours to give you this training. Instead of thinking of the three and half hours as a long period of time, you may now view three and a half hours as a short period of time to know the solutions for all of the problems that arise in your body during your sitting.

At The End Of The Lesson
In the last part of the lesson you'll be able to just sit. In this time you'll test what you've learned. By this time you'll have experimented many times with different positions of the five points of the posture lesson. You'll know the best position for you for each of these points. We'll be able to address any tension, pain, or loss of upright posture that you experience. This time is for you to develop that finer relationship to your body that is needed. Each person will speak out when some discomfort comes up, when their body begins to tighten, or when they lose an erect spine. There also will be times of silence as we sit without talking.

It's important to know that this time is not a time for you to go deep in meditation. This time is for you to gain a more intimate relationship with your body; and to find the reason and the correct solution for any trouble or discomfort that arises.

Proper Posture Is Easy To Learn
There are only five points that need to be properly aligned for your entire body to be aligned during your sitting. When you're properly taught about these five points, proper posture can be attained. Over time, as your body becomes more and more accustomed to proper posture you can develop perfect meditation posture for your body.

Why settle for less than perfect/optimal meditation posture? Learn to properly apply the five points and begin having improved meditation posture instantly. This instant improvement is just the beginning of your journey to the perfect meditation posture for your body.

The Benefits Of Proper Posture During Your Sitting
The more proper you have each of the five points during your sitting, the more your body will be comfortable with an erect spine. The less you have each of the five points correct, the less comfortable you'll be and the less your spine will be able to stay erect during your sitting.

With proper posture, your body is at its most still place. Your muscles are in their most relaxed state. Your pain level is at its lowest level. With proper posture, your body is at its least point of distraction. This stillness of your body from pain and from excessive sensory impulses gives you a greater opportunity to go more deeply inward during your sitting.

Click here to go back to the main page for the posture lesson for sitting meditation.