Posture has traditionally been considered an important foundation of meditation practice. One classic saying is, “A settled body helps create a settled mind”. Positioning ourselves in a relatively symmetrical, open, and balanced way that allows us to sit comfortably and with ease can assist with our process of developing mental openness and clarity.
A common teaching in meditation training is that a straight, extended spine is most important part of a meditation posture. Extending the back of the torso helps with extension of the front of the torso, which allows for full, relaxed, deep, and natural breathing after we uncompress and relax our belly. Many people find that sitting with the knees lower than the hips helps angle the pelvis slightly down, which is often a perfect foundation from which to extend the lower back and then the upper back.
A common issue people face while meditating is pain at the base of the back of the neck and in the surrounding trapezius muscles. The cause of such pain is usually that the back is slumped, and so the head is leaning forward, so the shoulders and neck need to use effort to hold the head up. Relief from this comes from balancing the head evenly on the neck by bringing the ears back in line with the shoulders. In fact, having the ears, shoulders, and the hips also stacked vertically on top of each other helps the whole body to relax and settle, allowing the muscles and ligaments to hang limp, loose, and relaxed off the extended spine as it lifts strong and upright like the trunk of a tree.