Most ancient meditation traditions put special emphasis on body posture, as if spiritual growth depends on it. But is it really so? How important is the way your body moves or does not move for your meditation practice?
If you are familiar with Osho and his teachings, you might know that he never gave any particular rule regarding body posture during meditation. The vast majority of his meditation techniques are active meditations, meaning they involve body movement and are performed predominantly in a standing position. Only at the very end, once the energy has been mobilised and withdrawn from the mind, you are invited to either sit in a comfortable way or lie down on the floor for the final relaxation.
So why Osho is not rigid when it comes to body posture during meditation? The straight answer is that Osho is only concerned with awareness. Meditation is witnessing, watchfulness, what Buddhists call mindfulness. And this quality of mindfulness can be practised in any moment regardless of the body posture.
However, Osho says that the classic “Lotus Posture” is the best when it comes to going deep into meditation. It is not a necessity but it helps to develop watchfulness. Why is that? Because whilst sitting in the lotus posture, the spine has to be straight. In this position the gravitational pull has less effect. And this is crucial as meditation involves moving the energy upwards, against the law of gravity. Moreover, in this particular position less blood reaches the mind, meaning a less active mind which helps to remain watchful and not disturbed by restless thoughts. And finally the Lotus Posture is economical in terms of energy expenditure. The energy in the body moves in circle, so by sitting crossed legs and with hands resting into each other, the Lotus Posture favours the development of a closed circle of bio-electricity.
The reality is that for most people in the western world, sitting crossed legged is unnatural, simply because people are used to sit on chairs. But no worries at all if you find the Lotus Posture uncomfortable; according to Osho there is no need to force your body in an unnatural position. Osho says that the most important thing in meditation is being relaxed. So if your body is restless and tense, it will disturb your meditation by drawing your attention to its discomfort.
To me this makes perfect sense and in fact, the whole discipline of Yoga, in its original form, is to prepare the body to sit still to support the moment of pure meditation. Yoga is basically preparing the body for undisturbed meditation, so that you can forget about your body and divert all the energy into practising watchfulness.
So if you can sit in the Lotus Posture, enjoy it. If not, and you are interested in meditation, perhaps Osho Active Meditation is what you need.
Swaram has practised meditation for over 20 years and is a certified Osho Active Meditation facilitator. He holds a MA in Philosophy, and he teaches Osho Active Meditation in London. His website is www.loveosho.co.uk.