As part of my intention of “not working so hard” at my yoga, I’ve been practicing more seated poses, usually cross-legged Easy Pose (Sukhasana). In the evenings, I get up from my computer and take a seat on a zafu cushion in the middle of my study. I’ll listen to some music, read or simply rest my attention on my body. I don’t necessarily intend to meditate, but it often moves in that direction. Sometimes, I will transition into yoga nidra or a restorative pose as a release from being seated more than 15-20 minutes.
I notice that it takes a while to sink into the seated posture. It feels different after 10 minutes, and not just because my legs are losing sensation. I start working through my musculature, which is pretty substantial, lots of thick muscles working all day to keep me upright and moving. It takes time to get through the resistance and “touch bottom.” By the end, I feel that I’m resting more on my sit bones than on the muscles. I also notice a change in my breathing as my upper torso (rib cage, diaphragm, solar plexus, thoracic spine) gains freedom from the lower half.
Obviously, if I lived in a non-Western culture, I would be spending a lot more time seated on the floor and the uniqueness of what I experience on the zafu would be routine.
One benefit I find so far is that it makes for much sounder sleep. Because I am really working my core in seated Easy Pose, my torso and thighs are really grateful for the relief of lying doing. I’ve exerted a lot of effort holding the upright position without really working up a sweat or increased aerobic activity. I sense that it bleeds off a lot of the nervous energy that builds up during the day.