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Difficulty meditating while sitting up


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16 hours ago, elisanns said:

Does anyone else find it much harder to breathe deeply while sitting up? I try to keep my back straight and breathe into my stomach the way every video/podcast/etc suggests, and yet somehow it never feels right. I almost always have to do it lying down....where I run the risk of falling asleep! Am I missing anything?

 

Yeah, sometimes trying to breath deeply feels wrong and weirdly restricted. I choose to breathe naturally and not force anything while meditating. The breath will change itself as you relax and focus. Mine tends to become slower, but not deeper.

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On 11/19/2021 at 8:05 AM, Harriet said:

The breath will change itself as you relax and focus.

 

...whereas if you try too hard to force it, your entire body will actually tense up, in an gradual and hard-to-notice way, that makes it a lot more difficult to take those long breaths. 

 

I also agree with Tank that it could be posture. Try sitting up, and then deliberately slouch over as deep as you can go, and then try to take a deep breath, and the importance of posture will become obvious.

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I agree with Tank and Scaly Freak, your position makes a huge difference in how you can breathe.

 

Try sitting on a cushion so that your hips are raised a bit above the level of your knees. That should let you sit up straight with your back mostly relaxed.

 

Check the position of your pelvis. If it is tilted too far forward or back, that will limit how deeply you can breathe. Tucking your tailbone just a little should give a good position.

 

You may have to try out different seating methods (chair, cross-legged, kneeling with a cushion for support) to find the best position for you.

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The most common posture problem is called "too much time sitting at a desk". The desk hunch feels like sitting straight to a lot of us and compresses your diaphragm and stuff.

 

The easiest fix for desk hunch is twofold:

  1. First, roll your shoulders back a few times to get a feel for the range of motion, and leave them in the lowest possible position. That's gonna get the shoulders aligned better.
  2. Second, rock forwards and back a little before settling into your posture to get a a sense of how many positions your spine feels stable in. Odds are, you're going to find a few that you thought would feel like leaning back, but turn out to feel very stable, like you've just stacked your spine straight above your hips. Try to use the furthest back position that feels stable; that's probably closer to straight than the others.

Keep checking yourself occasionally, you'll likely find you hunched slightly without realizing it. (You can even try sitting against a wall. I think it'll be surprising how far back that feels like you're leaning, when you know it's  straight.) With the back aligned further back, and the shoulders wide and low, your ribcage should expand more and stop crushing your lungs and diaphragm.

 

If it helps, think of yourself as a big samurai who needs a lot of room for the giant shoulders he got from swordfighting. It's the Zen version of manspreading, only less antisocial.

 

akira kurosawa toshirô mifune GIF by Maudit

 

Bonus benefit: you are practicing mindfulness of your body and physical sensations, which is actually a big type of meditation.

 

It's possible that if your core is weak, your muscles are working a bit harder to stabilise your posture, and that may be constricting your ribcage as they work overtime to hold everything steady. In that case, I'd try the wall, so you're straight and not supporting all your own weight.

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On 11/24/2021 at 10:04 PM, sarakingdom said:

The most common posture problem is called "too much time sitting at a desk". The desk hunch feels like sitting straight to a lot of us and compresses your diaphragm and stuff.

 

The easiest fix for desk hunch is twofold:

  1. First, roll your shoulders back a few times to get a feel for the range of motion, and leave them in the lowest possible position. That's gonna get the shoulders aligned better.
  2. Second, rock forwards and back a little before settling into your posture to get a a sense of how many positions your spine feels stable in. Odds are, you're going to find a few that you thought would feel like leaning back, but turn out to feel very stable, like you've just stacked your spine straight above your hips. Try to use the furthest back position that feels stable; that's probably closer to straight than the others.

Keep checking yourself occasionally, you'll likely find you hunched slightly without realizing it. (You can even try sitting against a wall. I think it'll be surprising how far back that feels like you're leaning, when you know it's  straight.) With the back aligned further back, and the shoulders wide and low, your ribcage should expand more and stop crushing your lungs and diaphragm.

 

If it helps, think of yourself as a big samurai who needs a lot of room for the giant shoulders he got from swordfighting. It's the Zen version of manspreading, only less antisocial.

 

akira kurosawa toshirô mifune GIF by Maudit

 

Bonus benefit: you are practicing mindfulness of your body and physical sensations, which is actually a big type of meditation.

 

It's possible that if your core is weak, your muscles are working a bit harder to stabilise your posture, and that may be constricting your ribcage as they work overtime to hold everything steady. In that case, I'd try the wall, so you're straight and not supporting all your own weight.

 

Thank you so much for the posture advice. I'll definitely try using the wall tomorrow and see if that makes a difference! :)

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