You will be wondering why we are discussing such trivial things here. These are not trivial things. We need a strong foundation for a huge building. To understand and implement all these basics is surely a tough job. Once we start following these basics we can put further steps with ease and confidence. Let us not proceed further without practicing these initial steps. Let us now look into some ordinary postures. Advanced postures should be practiced only with the able guidance of an experienced teacher. Whenever we sit, let it be on the floor or on a chair, the position of our spinal cord should always be erect. The neck should be slightly tilted backwards, so that the back head chakra falls in line with the spinal cord. Concentrate on the tip of the nose. Two interpretations are given for the tip of the nose. One is the tip of the nose just above the mouth and another is the point between the eyes, a little below the third eye chakra. Here tip of the nose means, above the mouth. Lift the shoulders slightly and pull back a little. Shoulders should not droop under any circumstances. If you allow the shoulders to droop, you will develop stiff shoulder joints.

In the same way, you should not apply pressure to the eyes. Do not lift up your eye balls. Such wrong doings will adversely affect the retinal nerves. Both your hands should be placed one above the other, in a convenient place near your naval. The palms should be rested on your lap. There should be no stiffness at all any where in your arms. If you feel discomfort in placing your arms like this, you can place them in such a position so that no inconvenience is caused. The only thing to be followed is that your upper arms should not touch your trunk. If you do not maintain a distance between your trunk and upper arms, that will lead to stiff shoulders. It is not important that both your palms should be placed together. What is important is that your upper arms should not touch your trunk. This is the basic posture one has to adapt for a proper meditation. Keep your eyes open for the present, and ensure that you look at the tip of your nose. Do not apply pressure to the eyes.

Breathing should be normal and through the nose. Ensure that you have no nasal blocks. Keep some drinking water by your side, as you may feel dryness in the mouth. Inhale slowly and when you inhale your abdomen should bloat. Bloating of abdomen does not mean that the air you inhale enters your abdomen. When you make your stomach bloat, your lungs expand and more air enters your lungs. Now exhale slowly and when you exhale, pull your abdomen inside. Pulling the abdomen helps the lungs to constrict considerably, so that all the air inside the lungs is exhaled out. Pushing and pulling the abdomen in and out should be practiced very slowly and carefully. This should be practiced regularly, so that when you inhale normally, your abdomen automatically pushes out and when you exhale abdomen is automatically pulled towards you. The above breathing exercise should be practiced in an empty stomach. Even consuming too much of water is also not advisable. If the stomach is full, this exercise may affect your digestive organs and cause vomiting sensation. Practice this regularly. We will discuss simple yogasans and concentration exercises in the next postings.

Further Readings:

Basic Breathing Techniques

Importance of Breathing - Svara Yoga 

Stretching Exercise

Kapalabhati Pranayama