4 Pre-Meditation Yoga Poses to Prepare You to Sit
How many times have you tried meditation, but given up after 30 seconds because it’s just so uncomfortable? Why would anyone put themselves through the torture of sitting still! Maybe the thoughts in your head go something like this: Ah, I’m relaxing. Breathe in peace, breathe out compassion. Breathe in peace … ouch! My knee hurts so much I should really go to acupuncture later or ask a doctor if all that softball in college really ruined me … oh right, I’m breathing in peace … dangit, now my shoulders feel heavy … I’m just gonna go make dinner.
But you have probably heard how good meditating is for you: it reduces stress and anxiety, deepens creativity, aids in anger management, increases the ability to “sit with” emotions rather than react quickly, and on and on. Often these mental/emotional/spiritual benefits may elude you due to the fact that seated meditation can be, quite literally, a pain in the butt. If your low back is screaming at you, your hips are feeling pinched, or your knees are tingling, you won’t be interested in sitting long enough to tap into all the juicy benefits of meditation.
It’s true that sometimes those initial discomforts go away after a few minutes of stillness. But sometimes they don’t. And sometimes the many sensations in your body can be the point of focus for a sense-based meditation or body scan. But sometimes they’re so distracting that the pain of trying to sit turns you off to meditation for good.
There’s hope yet! The good news is that there is not one correct way to sit for meditation. The hope is that with practice (and it is a practice), you’ll find a mostly comfortable way to sit or be for meditation that works for you. Everybody is different, so it’s worth experimenting to find the best pose, cushion, timer, or teacher to guide you on your meditation journey.
Enjoy the following poses to prepare for meditation. Try them as a sequence or pick one or two before your sit.
Standing Hip Circles
These get the blood circulating in your lower limbs and help release tension in the low back. When you’re ready to sit, your legs won’t feel stiff.
- Stand with your feet wider than your hips.
- Bring your hands to your waist.
- Bend your knees slightly and begin to circle your hips and knees in one direction five to 10 times. Wind down and repeat in the other direction.
- Try a figure-eight shape for a deeper sense of freedom.
Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasa)
This is a low back and spine release, as well as a hamstring stretch. When you’re ready to sit, your low back won’t be talking to you as loudly, and your legs will feel longer.