One of the first and most important step of meditation is finding a comfortable meditating position. Sitting uncomfortably can cause a distraction. You will be more focused on the discomfort than the meditation session itself. Although good posture is important for an effective meditation session, it doesn’t mean you have to sit in an uncomfortable, stereotypical pretzel position.
Sitting is considered the most optimal position for meditation because it provides balance of focus and relaxation. When you are upright, both the mind and body tend to be alert and attentive. Being seated gives us a degree of letting go and relaxing feelings take its place.
In a Chair
If you opt to use a chair or a couch, be sure to sit with your legs uncrossed and your feet flat on the floor. Your hands should be at your side or gently resting in your lap. If possible, try not to lean against the chair and sit in the middle. Use the back of the chair only if you need a rest from sitting upright.
If it helps, sit on a cushion of folded blanket to tilt your hips slightly forward. You can use a cushion or pillow behind your back to support your lower back to help keep your back naturally straight. The idea is to sit up so you’re alert, yet maintaining your posture feels effortless.
On the Floor
If you would like, you can sit on a blanket or mat on the floor. If it feels comfortable to you, you can cross your legs. For comfort, you can sit on a cushion, zafu, or folded blanket so that your knees are lower than your hips. You can also add a rug, cushion or blanket under your feet to relieve discomfort under your ankles.
You can lean against a sturdy surface, such as the wall for back support. Put a soft pillow or folded blanket behind your lower spine to ensure your spine is straight and in an upright position. If you opt to not sit cross-legged, stretch your legs hip length apart in front of you.
Whatever seated position you decide, the posture pointers are the same:
• Straight yet relaxed back
• Head and neck alignment with the spine
• Arms rested beside or on your legs
You can position your hands in which ever way is possible. You can rest them in your lap with your palms down, in your lap with your palms up, or your hands resting on one another. To further enhance your meditation, you can try a few mudra positions.
Lying Down Positions
Many times, sitting for some period of time can cause discomfort. We may even have certain illnesses that don’t allow us to sit upright. That doesn’t mean we can’t meditate. This is where lying down positions can come in handy.
You can lay in your bed or on the floor on a blanket. Your legs should be hip length apart and your toes should be relaxed. Your arms should be gently rested and extended along your body with your palms turned up. This pose is known as savasana or corpse pose in yoga practice.
You can place a thin pillow under your head for added support. You can also lace a pillow under your knees to elevate them to 90 degrees so that your feet are flat on the floor. This will protect your lower back and prevent any added strain.
If you are practicing sleep meditation then get comfortable in your bed, take a few breaths and close your eyes.
Most of us sit all day for work, hunched over a computer, so standing up may be a great alternative. Standing positions aren’t as traditional as we may think when we think of meditation, but it won’t hurt to give it a try.
To meditate while standing, stand comfortably with your feet hip to shoulder length apart. Your knees should be slightly bent and not locked. Ensure that your hips and spine are relaxed and in an up-right position. Relax your neck and shoulder and let your arm hang by your sides.
Imagine your head is being suspended by a piece of string. Breathe normally preferably through your nose. Encourage your body to soften without letting your posture collapse or become rigid and tense.
With every inhale, picture your breath rising from your feet, up through your body and out through the crown of your head. On exhale, feel our breath flow from the top of your head down through your body and out through your feet. You can picture your breath in any form you want whether as a stream of water or a ray of light.
As you imagine your breath flowing through your body, be aware of the feelings that arise along your spine. You can repeat this exercise as many times as you want for as long as your need to get clarity.
To begin, start with 2-3 minutes and gradually work your way up to 10 to 15 minutes a day.
Walking or Running Positions
As you may know, physical and mental health are tightly related. Physical activity can significantly reduce the mental symptoms of stress and anxiety. You may feel a significant positive change while walking or running. Viewing your surroundings mindfully also help take your mind off of your stress.
Mindfully walk using a meditative technique (with our eyes open of course) at a pace that is best suited for you. Be sure to pay attention of what is going on and the environment around you.
There are different types of approaches to walking meditation depending on your environment, but meditative walking is suited for anyone. As you start walking, notice how your body feels. Notice your pace and your posture and how you are carrying yourself.
You can listen to your favorite songs as you walk or listen to soothing music or nature sounds to help relieve your stress further.
Summing it Up
If you are new to meditating, try a few of these positions to find which on is best for you. We all have different comfort levels so there is no right or wrong way to meditate. The most important thing is to just start. Being comfortable is on of the most important things to be when meditating. If you aren’t comfortable, then your overall focus will be on the discomfort, and not the actual meditation.
The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. Self Verve is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. Be sure to contact your physician before trying any of the items stated in the above article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. Self Verve does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.
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