I recently discovered the countless benefits of meditation—including the ability to focus, reduce stress, breathe calmly and learn mindfulness. To my delight, (as someone who gets bored easily), it was mentally much easier than I anticipated, but I was not prepared for the physical challenge!
It was painful to sit up straight after only a minute or two. Yes, just a couple of minutes - how sad is that? My posture, likely a result of WAY too many hours sitting hunched over in front of a laptop or TV, was going to be the biggest (and most unexpected) barrier to being able to mediate. I decided immediately that I needed to prioritize improving my posture.
I started with the 5-minute meditations on the Peloton app, which initially felt like forever for my back. As I built my strength, I transitioned from 5 minutes to 10, and then to 15. In a few weeks I was sitting through 20-minute sessions! It took about two weeks of daily mediations at each time interval before I was ready to progress to longer time intervals. I found some days to be more difficult than others, and that it was less strenuous on my back to mediate in the morning.
After a couple of months, I am proud to say that while my posture is nowhere near perfect, I am able to sit up a lot straighter than I used to and am able to focus on the mental aspect of meditation. Oh, and bonus I look more official when I mediate 😉
If you would like to work on your posture, here is some encouraging news:
Your back muscles are slower to fatigue and are meant to sustain you for long periods of time—it may take less time that you think to strengthen them.
In addition to strengthening your back muscles, you can work to open up your chest muscles (they are likely tight). Check out some stretches here.
Your skeletal bones (including back bones) go through a ‘remodeling’ process, meaning that newer bone tissue replaces older bone tissue over time - so yes, you can actually improve your posture!
Give it a try . . . you got this!