How to Prevent Stiffness in the Lower Back during Sitting Meditation

Sitting is the best posture for experiencing the essence of meditation. A good sitting posture provides a strong physical frame in which a calm feeling of comfort rises. However, prolonged sitting causes discomfort. With the stiffness in the lower back, hips, or legs, it is hard to find the peace of the mind.

But you can prevent or reduce stiffness by loosening up your body before, during, and after meditation. Here are three exercises you can practice for less discomfort and more joy during sitting meditation.

For every exercise, don’t be in a hurry. Take all the time you need and feel the stretch. The moment you feel discomfort, release the stretch a bit and hold that position. Breathe freely if you have to. Feel free to modify the movements shown below to fit your conditions and needs.

Lift

Stiffness Ex_Lift

  1. Kneel and place your hands on the floor, with your hips resting on the back of your ankles and toes curled. Inhale.
  2. Exhaling, slowly raise your hips as high as you can with toes curled. At the maximum height, slowly lower your heels to the ground and stretch your legs. Gently push your hips backward for an extra stretch.

Expected effect:

  1. Release tension of the lower back and toes.
  2. Stretching the muscles in the calf and hamstrings.

Cross Twist

Stiffness Ex_Cross Twist

  1. Sit and cross your legs in front of you with both ankles on the ground (or modify in a way that’s comfortable). Hold the tops of the feet with your hands. Erect your torso and push the bottom of your hips slightly forward. This will provide support to your lower back and open up the air channels in the chest. Hold this posture for 10-15 seconds and breathe freely.
  2. Then, inhale deeply.
  3. Place your right arm against the left outer thigh and twist your torso to the left. Exhale. You may place your left hand on the left hip to augment the twist.
  4. Switch sides and repeat.

Expected effect:

  1. Awaken physical sensation in the lower back.
  2. Enhance breathing capacity.
  3. Loosen up the hip and lower back.
  4. Stretch the muscles in the pelvic floor.

Cross Pull

Stiffness Ex_Cross Pull

  1. Lie back on the floor with the right knee bent.
  2. Place the left ankle on the upper right knee.
  3. Rest in this position for 10 seconds. Breathe freely.
  4. Inhaling, insert your left arm between the legs, place your right arm behind the right thigh, and grab your right wrist with your left hand. Pull your legs toward the chest.
  5. Slowly exhale and pull further. You may rest your head on the floor.
  6. Relax and feel the sensations in the hips and lower back. Breathe freely as needed.
  7. Switch sides and repeat.

Expected effect:

  1. Release tension in the muscles in the lower back and pelvic floor.
  2. Release tension in the joints of the hips, knee, and lower back.
  3. Increased relaxation and soothing feelings.

Establish Your Posture

Stiffness Ex_sit
Now sit and allow those joints and muscles you have worked on to work together and support the body structure.

A proper sitting posture builds a house for the mind to dwell.

Soon calmness will rise.

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