Many students feel Rock Pose is more comfortable than Easy Pose during yoga class or meditation. Is it acceptable to use them interchangeably when the kriya calls for Easy Pose?
For many Westerners who are not trained to squat or sit on the ground, it is uncomfortable to sit cross-legged in Easy Pose, especially if one has back problems. It is in fact not “easy” at all. The most important thing is to have a straight spine, all locks applied appropriately, and an alert mind. Sitting on the heels in Rock Pose, using a small bench, sitting on firm meditation pillows, or sitting straight in a stable, firm chair can be a close substitute for Easy Pose.
In fact, full Lotus Pose provides the very best meditative advantage since it automatically locks the projection from the Navel Point, applies a light mulbandh (Root Lock), and balances the energy of the earth and ether through the upturned soles of the feet. Easy Pose does not lock the Navel Point and sacral motion as tightly, so it requires a gently applied mulbandh. Rock Pose requires the mulbandh and an additional focus on the spine to keep it straight and aligned. It lessens the lock on the sexual area, so it needs a slightly more conscious application of the Root Lock. Rock Pose does have the benefit of stimulating the digestive functions from the pressures in the buttocks and quadriceps.
So, the short answer is, choose which ever of these three postures you can do with the most integrity, and use them interchangeably in the kriya. Develop your “comfort zone” with your meditative pose so that your straight spine and bandhas become second nature, freeing your mind to focus on the meditation or the mantra. If you can lock-in the muscle-memory of a straight spine with shoulders back and chin tucked, you will carry this posture with you throughout the day – driving the car, sitting at your desk, and talking on the phone. A straight spine helps you stay present in your body, use your muscles properly, and reduce the prospect of injury. And, by the way, good body alignment looks beautiful, too.