Have you ever finished up a conversation and realized what you should have said three hours later? Or not shared an idea in a meeting because you weren’t sure how others would receive it?
I know I have – probably more than I’d care to remember.
This actually came up for me quite a bit during my yoga teacher training. I always had thoughts to my teacher’s questions, but I was often reluctant to share them. I wasn’t sure if my response would be “right” or if I really fit into the group (although everyone was very welcoming; it was just my baggage at the time).
One day during my teacher training, the discussion turned to finding your seat as a teacher.
This didn’t literally mean where you should set up your mat in the room (although maybe a little bit of that). Instead, it meant coming into your own, finding your voice. In other words, something we’re all playing with in one way or another much of the time.
Interestingly, in Sanskrit, the yoga poses are called asanas. And asana means seat. In other words, you can find a seat, a point of stability, a unique viewpoint in every pose.
And that’s just what yoga can be a tool for accessing: your authentic voice.
Let’s Find Your Seat
One way to connect with your inner wisdom, your steady center is to actually take a seat on the ground. Sounds too easy to be helpful, I know, but there is something powerful about rooting yourself in contact with the Earth. With an open and comfortable position, you can become receptive to that solid Earth energy. From there, your voice is often a bit more accessible.
In other words, you have to root down to rise up.
The pose we’re going to work with is called Sukhasana, and it’s sometimes referred to as “Easy Seat.” Depending on how tight your hips and lower back are, this name can be hilariously oxymoronic. But not to worry, there are ways we can make it easier, at least, for everyone.
So here we go.
If you have a blanket or meditation cushion, grab it. A pillow or couch cushion also works fine. It’s nice to sit up on something when possible because you want your knees to be lower than your hips in this pose, at least slightly. If you don’t have either of those but you do have a yoga mat, you could roll up your mat a few times and sit on the roll for a bit more support.
Sit down on your support with your legs extended in front of you.
From here, lean slightly to the left (L). Take your right (R) hand under your R hip/butt cheek and move the skin a bit out to the R. Sit back down fully and then do on the other side. This move helps you find an even seated position where you can feel your sit bones, or the bones you’re sitting on (gotta love it when anatomy is easy to understand!).
Next, you’re going to cross your legs. Begin by bending your L leg and tucking your L foot in toward your pelvis. Notice that I said toward here, not to. Just allow your foot to come wherever it comes; this will often change slightly from day-to-day, depending on your activities from the day before. For example, if you just went for a hike, your hip flexors could be a bit tight, making this position a smidge more difficult than a previous time you tried it.
Once your L leg is tucked in, take your R hand to your L inner thigh. Take your L hand to the back middle of your thigh. With your hands in this position, roll the skin of your thigh down and to the L. This is just a quick, one-time movement that allows the legs to rest more comfortably. Come back to your seated position.
We’ll now get the other leg involved. The R leg will bend and the R foot will come toward or underneath the L knee area. You’re coming fully into a seated, cross-legged position here. Roll the skin of your R thigh as above.
Now that you’ve established your seat, take a deep inhale and extend your spine, reaching the crown of your head toward the ceiling. Do a mental scan and invite any tension you’re holding to let go (good places to check in with are the jaw, shoulders, hips and thighs).
From here, you might like to take a few more deep breaths and then settle into a meditation.
Curvy Loving-Kindness Meditation
Metta, or loving-kindness meditation, is a beautiful practice. It invites you to extend loving-kindness to yourself, someone you love, someone you don’t know well, someone with whom you have a difficult relationship and then the whole world. To do this, begin with yourself (as shown below). You can then change the “I” in the phrases to a particular person’s name and then to “everyone” or “all beings everywhere.”
There are many different phrases used for this meditation. Here’s one that’s focused on body acceptance and love that you can use any day, especially days when this might feel a bit difficult.
May I greet my body with gentleness.
May I soften when life invites me to harden.
May I listen to my intuition with wisdom and trust it with ease.
May I appreciate my body a little more in this moment, just as it is.
You may like to begin by repeating these phrases one time for each of the four groups mentioned above. As you become more comfortable with this practice, you could increase the number as feels appropriate for you.
If you are looking to reconnect with your intuition, you may even like to repeat the phrases only for yourself. There is little that buoys your self-trust more than showing yourself some love and kindness.
First published in Wild Sister magazine, Issue 11 — reprinted with permission