Welcome! I want to share a fabulous way to start your practice or your day. Easy Sitting Pose or cross-legged position centers mind and body and helps bring awareness to an internal spaciousness that allows us to connect with our deepest, most heartfelt intentions. Bonus: It's also a great hip-opener!
To comfortably practice this simple pose, find a clear and (ideally) soothing space in which to sit. If you're new to the pose, prop yourself on one or two folded blankets to lift your hips higher than your knees. This will encourage your hips to release and take pressure off your knees. Once you are seated, bring one heel in line with the center seam of your pants and place the other heel either in front of or stacked on top of the first. (You might find that you need to prop your knees with blocks or rolled towels if your hips are tight.) Rest your hands, palms up, on your knees. Feel your "sit bones," the bony protruberances that connect with your seat. Rock forward and back & side to side over your sit bones to settle in the exact center. Inhale and lengthen your spine, as though you are drawing your breath through a straw, up your spine, to the top of your head. Keeping the spine long, exhale and release your shoulder blades downward, like waterfalls streaming effortlessly over a mountainside. Allow your head to balance atop your relaxed neck. Close your eyes and bring attention to your breath. Notice that your inhalation is an expanding breath that promotes more length in the spine and greater spaciousness in the rib-cage. Realize that your exhalation is a condensing breath that invites your abdominal muscles to gently move back to support and "kiss the spine."
Do you feel lighter and more buoyant as you inhale? Do you feel grounded as you exhale? These are two of the benefits of the pose. Feeling lighter and more grounded, your mind can find peace. Your consciousness can turn to your heart center where you can tune into what matters most to you. Embracing what you find in your heart, you are in a perfect state of mind to create an intention for your practice or for your day. For example, you might decide to treat yourself kindly and respect your limitations through your practice or throughout your day. How would this shift things for you?
Maintain Easy Sitting Pose anywhere from 3 to 30 minutes, depending on your needs. Your hips and knees will benefit from the passive stretch. Your spine will become stronger in proper alignment and you will strengthen your core. Your neck and shoulders will learn to release. Your nervous system will shift into parasympathetic (rest & digest) mode and your mind will enjoy a quiet spaciousness that promotes clear thinking. You will come to know your deepest heartfelt desires and you will garner the strength to pursue them. Not a bad result of "easy sitting," right?
Helpful Hint: If sitting cross-legged simply won't work for you, sit upright in a firm, high-back chair with feet flat on the floor, hands resting on thighs, palms up. Follow the rest of the instructions above. The benefits will be the same with the exception of hip-opening (which you can do in other ways ... stay tuned for tips on hips!)
Thank you for your interest. I'd love to hear from you, answer questions, respond to comments. Please post your comments below and check back frequently for replies.
PS: Thank you for the above photo, Alex Stavistsky-Zeineddin, fellow yogini, friend and colleague.