Asanas: Meditative Asanas

The important feature of any meditative asana is that it should allow the practitioner to sit undisturbed in one position for extended periods of time without discomfort. Meditational practices aim to direct awareness inside the mind and this is totally impossible if the awareness is engrossed and entangled with external events, including the physical body. Introspection is impossible if one continually fidgets, scratches or experiences physical pain. Therefore the aim is to sit in a sufficiently comfortable position that allows the physical body to be forgotten.

Most asanas are not suitable for meditational practices because they require some muscular effort or sense of balance in order to maintain diem. For example, bhujangasana, sarpasana and mem vakrasana are excellent asanas for inducing physical and mental health and harmony, but because they require some physical effort they are not suitable asanas for meditational practice.

One might assume that relaxation asanas, such as shavasana would therefore be the most ideal for they require absolutely no effort2. In fact, they can be used for meditational practices but we don’t recommend them because it is so easy to relax to such a degree that one falls asleep. And sleep is as far away from meditation as tension. What is required is a high state of relaxation combined with intensified wakefulness. The sages in the past found, from experience, that there are specific asanas most suitable in this respect. There are six of these, known as the classical meditational asanas:

1. Padmasana (lotus pose)

2. Siddhasana (accomplished pose for men)

3. Siddha yoni asana (accomplished pose for women)

4. Swastikasana (auspicious pose)

5. Ardha padmasana (half lotus pose)

6. Vajrasana (the thunderbolt pose)

 

The first three asanas 1, 2 and 3 are traditionally accepted as the best meditative asanas.

One should aim to sit in any one of these positions if possible. The second three asanas 4, 5 and 6 are also excellent meditative asanas, which are far easier to perform while being nearly as good as the first three.

Many people will find all six of these classical asanas too difficult and uncomfortable. Under these circumstances either of the following two simpler meditative asanas are suitable:

1. Veerasana (hero’s pose)

2. Sukhasana (easy pose)

We would like to point out that we don’t expect you to practise all these meditative asanas. We are describing them here in order to keep them together as a specific group, as it is useful for reference purposes. Devote your attention to mastering one or two of them at the present time. You can try others in the group later when you have spare time.

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