Part I, by Ven, Mahasi Sayadaw
Sitting with ease and comfort means to obtain a comfortable way of sitting so that one can sit for a long time without interfering with his or her contemplation. To begin training, the best way is to sit erect cross-legged so as to become comfortable. There are three kinds of sitting postures. (1) The manner of sitting posture found in Buddha images or statues. This is not very easy for the Burmese people to imitate. (2) The way bhikkhunis or nuns used to sit without interlocking the legs, is not suitable. This position is generally adopted by many. It is to keep the legs parallel while sitting without pressing one against the other. It may be feasible since, the posture will not block the blood flow running through the veins. (3) The sitting posture adopted by bhikkhunis, which is best, i.e., the sitting posture with half the length of the legs crossed. Any one of these three types of sitting postures, best suited to you, may be chosen. Females also may sit as they please. The manner of taking a sitting posture as stated, is required only at the primary stage of meditation. Thereafter, sitting postures with knees up or with legs stretched, may be taken up according to circumstances.