At the Buddhist Centre in Eccleston Square, London, most people gathering for the meditation sessions sit cross-legged on cushions; but for those who haven’t done yoga, or have some physical disability, there is a row of chairs.
Wherever one sits, it is important not to slouch. Correct posture while meditating is stressed in all traditions. Those who have had experience of the Alexander Technique will appreciate the instructions that one mentally gives one’s body: neck free, head forward and up, back lengthen and widen, knees forward, ankles in. It can also help before starting to circle one’s head several times to the left, and then to the right; then to rotate the shoulders. Gently relaxing the jaw also gets rid of a great deal of tension.
Meditating is more than listening with the ear, or the mind: it is listening with the whole body. And so, with feet firmly on the ground, knees slightly apart, hands resting on the knees, with spine and head calm and erect, we prepare ourselves to enter the sound of silence – like runners poised at the start of a race, or divers ascending the board before plunging into the pool below.