Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Coat Stand

When I'm preparing to sit zazen, I sit on the edge of the zafu and cross my legs so that I'm comfortable and stable. I relax my body to see if I start tilting one way or the other. If I do, I readjust my posture until I find stability and comfort.  Then I put my hands on my lap and form the mudra.

Once I've done that I push the crown of my head towards the ceiling to straighten my spine and imagine that my spine is like a coat stand, and the rest of my body is like fabric hanging from it. I focus my attention on the various parts of my body, releasing any tension I find. I start with my scalp, then my eye lids, cheeks, lips and chin. Then my neck, shoulders, arms and stomach. All of these things should hang like limp fabric from the coat stand that is my spine.

I like this little routine because it helps me to settle my mind as well by focusing on my body in a methodical way. As soon as I feel that it's time to start, I take a nice breath, adjust my vision so that I'm looking through the wall, not at it, and then I focus my mind on my breathing so as to let my thoughts waft away and peace enter.

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