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Meditation Warning #2: Read This Before Sitting Cross-Legged by Kevin Schoeninger

This article follows up on last month’s “Meditation Warning #1” in which we explored the reasons for unsupported, upright, seated posture for meditation. In that article, we discussed how this posture aligns, strengthens, and releases tension along your spine. It also empowers you mentally and emotionally, in addition to the physical benefits of enhanced energy flow and improved nerve conduction to all your internal organs.

If you’d like to review that article, you can return to it through this link:


We received several great comments on that article.  Some people wanted to know more about the specific posture cues that I suggest.  So, to begin this month’s article, I’ll give you my detailed posture instructions for seated meditation. After these cues, we’ll talk about why I recommend this posture and warn against sitting cross-legged on a cushion or the floor.

Here are the posture cues from my program “Raise Your Vibration: A Guide to Core Energy Meditation” (p.38)

“Sit forward on the front edge of a chair, couch, or bed. Sit far enough forward so that you feel some weight in your feet. Place your feet flat on the floor, approximately hip wide and parallel.

Allow your hands to rest in your lap, palms up, one resting in the other, with thumbs touching lightly. Soften your hands so they relax completely.

Imagine a heavy weight attached to your tailbone anchoring you into your seat. Imagine a string attached to the top of your head, pulling your spine gently upright.

Allow your shoulders to relax down easily. Tuck your chin slightly, lengthening the back of your neck. Roll the tip of your tongue up to touch the roof of your mouth. Allow the muscles of your face and forehead to soften and relax completely. Soften your gaze so that you take in the whole space around you. Lightly close your eyes.”

Now, many of you may have been taught to sit cross-legged when you meditate. This posture is recommended in many meditative systems. Why do I warn against the cross-legged posture, when it has been used for hundreds, if not thousands, of years?

Let’s start with the more esoteric reasons and move to the physical.

First, when the soles of your feet are flat on the ground, you are energetically “grounded” in the present moment. You are ready to “take your stand” in the here and now. The energetic points on the bottoms of your feet are activated and the meridians running from the soles of your feet up through your legs are encouraged to be open so that energy can flow smoothly and freely. The physical vitality centered in your lower abdomen, called the “lower dantian” in Chinese systems, is grounded and “fed” by connection with the earth through legs and soles of your feet.

Second, this posture encourages blood circulation through your feet and legs. In cross-legged sitting, many people find their legs “falling asleep.” Sitting cross-legged cuts off feeling and circulation in your lower body. Many people struggle with circulation in their legs already; there is no need for meditation to exacerbate this problem

Third, having your feet aligned with your knees and hips is biomechanically healthier for your muscles and joints. Your feet, ankles, knees, hips, and lower back will thank you. As a case in point, many years ago, I had a client who was a well-known Yoga guru who suffered lower back and joint pain in the hips and knees because of prolonged sitting in the cross-legged seated position.

Cross-legged sitting over-stretches the muscles on your inner thighs and over-tightens the muscles on the outside of your hips. This leads to chronic misalignment, tension, and pain. I have converted many of my clients with similar issues to sitting in a chair with positive results. Sitting in a chair with your feet, knees, and hips in alignment encourages good biomechanics and minimizes muscle and joint pain.

Your body is the vessel for your life journey. Contrary to the thought in some spiritual traditions, it is not a hindrance to be avoided or escaped. Instead, your body is a sensitive instrument through which you realize your full physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual potential.

Enlightenment is a whole-body experience. Through attention to your posture and inner body awareness, you gain insight, discernment, and concrete feedback that inform your spiritual growth. Take care of your body and enhance your evolution by tending to upright, relaxed, and aligned posture in meditation and in life activities.

You can learn how to release any negative feeling from your body with my free 7 minute release technique:

Core Energy Meditation

Copyright Kevin Schoeninger


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5 Responses to “Meditation Warning #2: Read This Before Sitting Cross-Legged by Kevin Schoeninger”

  1. Valencia says:


    I like the article and it is very informative. But I am deaf and I can’t understand the Core Energy Meditation audio, do you have it transcribed? I would like to read it and practice that meditation.


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  2. Hi Valencia,
    I’m glad that you enjoyed the article. In the program, “Raise Your Vibration: A Guide To Core Energy Meditation”, the meditation is transcribed in written form, word for word, and there is extensive introductory written material and an illustration.


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  3. Shankar says:

    “do not sit cross-legged.”
    I beg to differ. Meditation was being taught in India even before the western world came into existence! We have two methods of learning spirituality – the oriental and the occidental. Our physical bodies come with their own spiritual bodies, which we all know. For us in the East, sitting cross-legged is okay. Even the Buddha attained enlightenment, sitting cross-legged.

    Shankar, India

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  4. Leila says:

    Hi Kevin, having had some leg problems it’s interesting to hear your take on a meditation posture. I don’t sit cross-legged for the reasons you mention. You somehow don’t imagine yogis to have those problems with hips and legs. Thanks.

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  5. The great Indian Saint, Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Science, in sufficient detail, prescribes that the POSTURE must be comfortable and firm.In Sanskrit, he calls it as SUKHAM,STHIRAM,ASANAM (COMFORTABLE, FIRM,POSTURE).
    Whether you sit cross legged, or with legs stretched, or sitting in a chair with legs on the ground – what matters is you must be in that posture comfortably and firmly for a long time, say, at least half an hour. The back and the neck must be erect and relaxed.
    Having undergone yoga trainings, some very advanced ones also, under many of the renowned Indian Gurus, I can say that most people prefer cross-legged posture, but when starting, it does not matter. what matters is, the posture us comfortable and firm and should support us for at least half an hour(even if you meditate only for 15 minutes!).

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