Whether you are advanced in your meditation practice or just starting out, go back to basics with these important pointers on how to relieve the symptoms of your anxiety disorder.
Comfort of mind and relief of your anxiety disorder cannot be achieved without first achieving physical comfort. Step one is to simply sit down. Consider if a seated cross-legged posture is right for you. If you have knee issues, or find that there is physical strain that keeps you from being able to focus your mind, you might benefit from the use of props.
A block or bolster under your seat or knee, or cushioning yourself under a meditation pillow is not cheating. If this still doesn’t allow for comfort and the inability to fidget, consider extending the legs long in front of you while seated on the floor, or simply sitting in a chair.
Once a firm foundation is established, the next step is elongating the spine. Rooting down through the Sitz bones, imagine lifting each vertebrae starting with the sacrum and lumbar spine, and creating space through each vertebra through the cervical spine, stacking each one on top of the other.
There are many ways to position your hands. The most simple is to place your hands in your lap, palms facing up, like you are about to receive a gift. It is thought that this creates more heat and energy in the body, which can be useful if you are feeling sleepy.
The left hand signifies wisdom, and the right hand compassion. In this gesture you are bringing the two together and finding your inner peace to let go of your anxiety disorder symptoms.
You may also place your hands in a Vishnu Mudra, with the thumb and index finger touching. The thumb slightly covers the tip of the index finger, signifying the higher power (thumb) taking priority of the self or ego (index finger, “I”).
We have a tendency to roll the shoulders forward, creating a roundness to the upper back and neck. Driving, sitting at a desk, and typing on a computer contribute to this.
While seated, let the muscles in your shoulders and back relax. Round your shoulders down and back, opening your chest with a slight tuck under with the chin to lengthen the back of your neck. There is a touch of vulnerability in this point of posture as we expose our tender heart.
Clenching the jaw is a sign of stress. Relax the muscles of the jaw, creating space between the teeth. You will feel your face release as well. Allow the tongue to fall away from the roof of the mouth.
Focus your drishti, or soft gaze, about a foot in front of you. Pick a spot on the floor that will not change or move, and rest your eyes there. If maintaining a fixed gaze makes it possible for you to focus your mind, then keep them open for meditation. You are also less likely to fall asleep with your eyes open. However, closing the eyes may be more comfortable, but make that decision before beginning your meditation practice.