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Mindful : June 2018
BENCHES are the firmest of all seat options (aside from hard chairs). Some types of bench allow you to meditate kneeling. Physical therapist and meditation teacher Elizabeth Deboo notes that this bench tilts the pelvis for ward to uphold your spine’s natural curve, making this no-give seat more easeful than you might expect. You may want a bolster under the knees or ankles. Other benches come with cushions, and some sit higher off the ground to accommodate longer or bigger legs. You can sit cross-legged on these, as on a gomden. BOLSTERS AND SUPPORT CUSHIONS may not be the main attraction, but they still can be a big help. Yoga and meditation supply businesses sell specifically designed bolsters, but any small pillow around your house may work just as well. The largest is the zabuton (or flat mat), which is placed under a zafu (or gomden, or chair...) to cushion the lower body. Smaller bolsters and cushions can be used with any other seat: adding height to your zafu or gently tilting the pelvis forward in a chair. You can even put a pillow on your lap to rest your arms on, taking pressure off your shoulders. CHAIRS make for excellent meditation seats, particularly for meditators who are stiffer or have pain or injuries in the back, hips, or knees. And fortunately, almost any chair you have can be adapted to suit your body. A firm back and seat is good—you can add a pillow or blanket for comfort, but nothing so squishy that it’s hard to sit up straight. If you notice any strain on the shoulders or lower back, either armrests or a bolster will help by supporting your arms. Finally, make sure the chair’s height is right for you. Deboo says she checks three things: “Are the feet flat on the floor? Are the hips and torso forming a 90-degree angle? Are the feet and ankles forming a 90-degree angle? That foun- dation makes for a really nice stack of the spine.” meditation