This week we are taking a seated position. Easy Pose (aka: simple cross-legged pose) illustrates the powerful connection between mind and body. Don’t be fooled by the name. Many people find choosing stillness to be quite difficult. The accompanying mindfulness practice can help by teaching strategies that support focus and point attention to the present moment.
Note to teachers: This hip opening posture is often more challenging for adults than for children, as the cross-legged position is more natural and routine when we are young.
Benefits of Easy Pose:
- Strengthens back muscles
- Stretches knees and outer thighs
- Opens hips
- Engages spinal alignment
- Encourages mind-body awareness
- Invites calm
- Pairs well with a mindful breathing practice
Easy pose is a seated posture that promotes equanimity. The physical acts of alignment and grounding through the sit bones have been shown to reduce stress levels. Incorporating specific mindfulness practices to anchor attention empowers students with additional, readily available tools for self-regulation.
Suggested script for mindful awareness from the WTN Mindful Moments catalog: Drop Your Anchor
Imagine your thoughts are like a boat drifting on the water. What happens if you want to stay in one place and focus there for a while? Today, you will learn to use an anchor to pull your boat in when you feel your focus drifting away. Close your eyes if you can. If you don’t feel comfortable closing your eyes, lower your eyes to find a still spot on the floor and rest your gaze there. While we sit in easy pose, we will tie our attention to our breath as an anchor. There are many places to drop your anchor. We will try a few together, and you can decide which feels best for you.
The NOSE: Bring your attention to the tip of your nose where the air comes in and out of your nostrils. Focus your mind on the tiny spot where you feel the air moving in and out. Don’t try to change your breathing. Use this place and the feeling of your breath in your nose as an anchor for X seconds.
The BELLY: Now, bring your attention to your belly and notice how it moves as you breathe. Imagine your belly like a balloon filling and shrinking as the air moves in and out. Don’t try to change your breathing. Focus on the movement of your belly as an anchor for X seconds.
WORDS: Sometimes, anchors can be simple words that name what is happening with your body. Say these words in your mind to match your breath. Repeat “IN” when air comes into your body. Repeat “OUT” as air moves out of your body. Try using these words as your anchor for X seconds.
COUNTING: Counting breaths can also be an anchor. Count silently. Start with 1 when you breathe in, and 2 as you breathe out. Don’t get lost in the numbers. When you get to 10, start again at 1. Try counting breaths (repeating 1–10) as your anchor for the next X seconds.
Easy Pose Instructions:
- Bring your body into a seated, cross-legged position.
- Rock side-to-side on your sit bones and come to center, spreading your weight evenly through your bottom.
- Use your back and abdominal muscles to keep your upper body tall.
- Roll your shoulders backward and place your hands on your thighs.
- Keep your neck relaxed, ears over shoulders, and chin parallel to the ground/floor.
- Rest your hands on your knees with your palms up. (Optional: bring tips of your index finger and thumb together like making the “OK” sign.
- Take three deep breaths.
- Relax your breath and hold this position for X seconds. Close your eyes or use a focal point and repeat part or all of the following:
I AM AN EXPLORER, BECOMING MORE AWARE. SITTING TAKES EFFORT. YET, WITH PRACTICE, I’LL GET THERE.
–OR– Use a strategy from the WTN Mindfulness Practice: Drop Your Anchor. While you sit, anchor your attention on:
The Nose – Bring your attention to the tip of your nose where the air comes in and out. Use this place and the feeling of your breath in your nose as an anchor for X seconds.
The Belly – Bring your attention to your belly and notice how it moves as you breathe. Focus on the movement of your belly as an anchor for X seconds.
Words – Say these words in your mind to match your breath. Repeat “IN” when air comes into your body. Repeat “OUT” as air moves out of your body. Do this for X seconds.
Counting – Count silently. Start with 1 when you breathe in, and 2 as you breathe out. When you get to 10, start again at 1. Repeat this pattern until you hear the bell.
Sit on a pillow or a folded blanket/towel to raise the hips and make this position more accessible and comfortable given any physical tightness.
Use the button below to download the mini poster for Easy Pose.
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