How Can I Keep My Spine Straight for Meditation?

Question

I’m having a hard time keeping my back straight during meditation, due to bad posture habits for many years. Also working on a computer many hours doesn’t help either. I recently got a posture corrector from Amazon and am wondering if it is ok to use it during meditation.

—Alex, Costa Rica

Answer

Dear Alex,

Your trouble with keeping the spine straight in meditation is common. Often the problem is weak back muscles due to poor posture and too much sitting, just as you say. Postural supports of various types can help, and it is fine to use them in meditation. Hatha Yoga postures also can be a great help to strengthen muscles, increase flexibility, decrease tension, and improve posture. The original purpose of the postures is to prepare the body for meditation although these days they are often treated as a form of exercise without associating them with their spiritual purpose. You might look into yoga classes in your area. There are many styles of Hatha Yoga ranging from quite gentle to very vigorous. Some have a more spiritual focus. Ananda Yoga which is taught by Ananda certified instructors is of this type. Look for a style that seems a best fit for your needs. There are some guided Ananda Yoga sessions on YouTube. Here is an introductory 10-minute class: Introduction to Ananda Yoga.

You might also take a look at your meditation seat. At Ananda we encourage people to sit on a chair or to use a meditation pillow or meditation bench–whatever is most comfortable and allows you to be relaxed and have as straight a spine as is possible for your body (while preserving the natural spinal curves–lumbar, thoracic, cervical). Often a small pillow or blanket under the hips to tilt the pelvis a little bit forward helps with posture. It is worth taking the time to explore the best meditation seat for you. Our free Learn to Meditate Mini-Course has a section about how to sit properly.

Many blessings to you,
Nayaswami Mukti