Mind-Body Practice / Movement 1 / Sit-ups


Sit-ups are a classic exercise, but again, forget your idea of sit-ups. We’re not here to crunch out six-pack abs, either in terms this course or in the larger sense of our lives and this world.

Because the task is somewhat simple, now is a great opportunity to put everything we’ve learned so far together and go deeper into it. The first step is reminding yourself of what we’ve covered in previous lessons and applying it to sit-ups.

Sitting up is not an exercise! It is not an artificial movement rooted in an idea. It is completely natural and is just something human bodies do when they’re able. Learn to sit up with relaxation, smoothness, and comfort. Sit up while breathing, and with a calm mind.


1. Lay on your back with legs relaxed and sit up using no arms and minimal tension. Try from different positions on the ground and to both sitting on your butt and sitting on the knees, if you can do it.

2. Experiment with legs and arms in space as counterbalances and to help assist sitting up.

3. Maintain continuous movement, from lying down to sitting and back to lying down.


a. Remember the progression from previous exercises. Check yourself in and between movements. Breath into tension and release any excess.

b. Take care not to grind your spine against the hard ground when you go down. Be mindful how you position your body, so softer areas can make contact first and ease your transition to lying down.

c. Study and develop different seated postures to expand the range of seated positions.


Although sitting up is completely natural, it profoundly changes our relationship to the ground. It changes our spinal axis from horizontal to vertical, fundamentally changing our orientation to space, gravity, the earth below and the heavens above.

Various kinds of sitting meditation are a backbone of spiritual traditions around the world. When considering the fundamental postures of lying down, sitting and standing, sitting is a kind of middle point — a position in which our top half is upright, while our bottom half is still firmly on the ground.

Sitting encourages a balance between relaxation and attention, between restfulness and activity. In this orientation, we are invited into deeper inquiry and an expanded dimension of our practice.

So for 10-45 minutes a day just sit in a meditative posture — cross-legged or in a chair, back straight, eyes soft, breathing through the nose. No need to do anything special — just sit there and see what happens when you do this consistently.


Every day for 1 week, warm up with some ground checks, turnovers, crawling, push-ups, and rolls; then spend 1, 2, or 4 minutes doing a variety of continuous sit-ups.


Make sitting up smooth and intuitive from any laying down position to any sitting up position.


preview | introduction | 1 ground checks | 2 turnovers | 3 crawling | 4 push-ups | 5 rolls | 6 sit-ups | 7 transitions | 8 squats | 9 jogging | 10 free move | 11 walking | 12 recovery | comprehensive practice