When we think of meditation, we often think of someone sitting peacefully, with their eyes closed, a blissful smile, and their legs twisted into a pretzel. While the full lotus pose certainly has its advantages, the most important part of a meditation position is that it provides stability and a solid foundation for your practice – a quality that is not necessarily inherent in a picture-perfect posture. Meditation is about the mind, not the body. So, if discomfort is holding you back from starting (or beginning) a meditation practice, there are six main options that you can explore in order to find a comfortable position.
Benefits of Comfortable Posture During Meditation
Regardless of the type of meditation you choose to practice, you will not maximize the mental and health benefits of meditation if you are not comfortably seated. A comfortable, correct posture eliminates or relieves pain during meditation. A posture with a long and upright spine promotes openness and balance in your chakras or energy centers. It is especially helpful when your heart center is open to encourage a compassionate and loving flow of energy in your chest. Additionally, if you maintain proper alignment of your entire body, you will feel more energetic, focused, and relaxed.
The 3 best meditation positions while sitting
Cross-legged position: Cross-legged meditation is an excellent option for people with open hips and no joint problems. Sitting with your legs crossed is symmetrical, safe, feels grounding, and allows unrestricted flow of prana through the body. There are several variations of cross-legged positions to suit different body types. For additional lower back support, lean against a wall or pillow, or stretch your legs forward. While this may be viewed as disrespectful to a teacher or deity in some cultures, it is perfectly acceptable in your own practice.
Kneeling position: If you prefer to sit on the floor but crossed legs are causing discomfort, kneeling in the hero pose is another option for a grounding meditation seat that elongates the spine. Either sit back on your heels or add pillows under your sit bones to relieve strain on your lower body. You can also find a kneeling position with a yoga block, bolster, meditation cushion, or meditation bench.
- Chair position: Many people find it most convenient to meditate in a chair. A chair should allow stability and an upright torso, so don't run to the comfy sofa or your favorite armchair, although it is tempting. Sit as close to the edge of the chair as possible with your spine straight, shoulders relaxed, hands in your lap and feet flat on the floor. If your feet don't hit the ground, find a pillow or support to ground them. Lean gently against a pillow for extra lower back support.
The 3 best non-seated meditation positions
Standing position: Although it does not agree with our idea of meditation postures, it is also possible to meditate while standing (and this is common in Qi Gong, various martial arts, and Korean Zen exercises). For a basic, stable stance, ground yourself with your legs about hip-width apart and your feet pointing forward or slightly outward. Relax your upper body, find a slight bend in your knees, and gently rest your hands on your stomach. Those used to sitting meditation may find that standing during a meditation session feels powerful and that it is easier to keep the mind alert and focused, but active standing is more physically demanding than you might think . Begin your exercise in moderation, standing for a few minutes, and increasing the time as you feel more confident with your posture.
Lying position: I was taught that lying down is an advanced meditation position; This is because your body expects to sleep in the supine position! However, if you keep an alert mind and overcome the urge to drift, lying on the floor, either flat on your back or with supports under your head and knees, can be a fantastic way to calm your mind, relieve stress, and keep your body at bay Meditation, concentration or visualization exercises.
Walking position: Walking meditation is just as common in many Buddhist traditions as sitting meditation. As with the other categories listed, there are many different variations of walking (and other movement-based) meditation practices. By focusing your attention on the sensations under your feet, the earth in front of you, your breath, or anything else that manifests as you slowly move your body through space, walking meditation can easily lead us to transfer this awareness to other parts apply our life.
Finding the best posture during meditation
If you are struggling to find comfort on your meditation cushion, it is best to experiment and try all of the common meditation postures that we discussed. Consistent meditation practice is essential to refining your posture and figuring out which standing or sitting position will best support you throughout your meditation session. Find something you enjoy about the process and trust that while we may not always see results in a single session, "progress" is something we can see in our approach to our daily lives.
Do you have an ideal position to meditate? Please don't hesitate to share your wisdom in the comment section below.