What is Zazen?

In IZAUK groups, when we practice Zazen, we practice ‘Shikantaza’ or ‘just wholehearted, exact sitting’. This is silent, seated objectless meditation.
We sit still und upright, offering our complete attention to each moment. To practice zazen, sit cross-legged on a zafu. Tip the top of the pelvis slightly forwards. Knees connect firmly with the earth, and the spine naturally extends upward, lifting the crown of the head towards the sky. The chin is tucked gently in, stretching the back of the neck. The shoulders relax naturally back and down. The abdomen relaxes. The left hand is placed palm upward upon the palm of the right hand, middle fingers aligned. The tips of the thumbs touch very gently, forming an oval – the cosmic mundra. The little fingers touch the abdomen. Eyes are at about 45 degrees downwards, neither open nor closed, focussed on nothing.
Awareness rests on the body and breathing. Breathing is slow, powerful and natural. Letting go to a long exhale, fully relaxing the abdomen, and receiving the inhale when it naturally comes. Sitting with no purpose or desire for gain, allowing thoughts and emotions which arise to float past like clouds in the sky. Some days, the clouds are small. Other days they are mighty storms. But, by practicing in this way, we can experience that however they may be each day, they are simply fleeting appearances within vast emptiness.