Before getting into meditation, one has to learn to sit. And that’s why before meditation, asanas (poses) come into picture in Raja Yoga (8 steps Classical Yoga by Patanjali, also called Ashtanga Yoga).
According to Patanjali, Asana means – Sthiram Sukham Asanam – comfortable and steady pose. The purpose of doing various asanas is to have a body in which we can sit comfortably and steadily for a longer period without having any pain or distraction in the body and mind.
For advanced stages of meditation, the practitioner must be in one position for a longer period (sometimes for a few hours) without any kind of physical inconvenience or pain. Before trying to make ones mind steady and getting into deeper meditation, one has to make one’s body steady. And that’s why the practice of asanas is crucial before getting into the practice of meditation.
Also, there are specifically some meditation poses and which are designed by yogis to enable the practitioner to sit completely still for extended periods. These meditative poses keep the spinal column straight (a prerequisite for deep meditation, which makes the energy to flow from Suhshumna Nadi favourable) and also these meditative poses keep the body locked in a steady position without any extra conscious endeavour.
Simplified meditation asanas for beginners –
Some of the classical meditation poses are…
Those who are beginning their meditation practices, they can first sit in the Sukhasana (Easy Pose) and also those with very stiff legs or who are infirm from any debilitation disease can practise meditation sitting on a straight-backed chair or lying on a hard bed, if necessary. The beginners should slowly progress to the classical meditation poses such as Padmasana (Lotus Pose) and Siddhasana (Accomplished Pose).
While sitting in a posture, the practitioner needs to imagine oneself as firm as a rock. The more steady we become in asana (pose), the better our concentration will be and our mind will become more focused.
One should progressively prolong the duration of sitting by one minute daily. The ability to sit in padmasan does not only depend on the flexibility of the body, but also the state of mind. If the practitioner believes in his mind that he will eventually be able to sit in padmasan with perfect ease, the mind itself will help to prepare the body.
The classical asanas are generally practised in conduction with Chin or Jnana mudra (gestures).
We need to also take certain precautions while getting deeper into meditation poses. Do not on any account use undue force or strain to sit in a meditative pose. If you find severe pain the legs after some time in a meditation pose, slowly unlock the legs and massage them. The classical and simplified meditation poses should not be practised by persons suffering from sciatic or sacral infections. For such people only Vajrasana, Bhadrasana or Shavasana should be recommended.
Photo by Benjamin Child on Unsplash