To sit or not to sit? That is meditation position question.
It is easy to get in the trap of “am I sitting the right way”. I can tell you that you don’t want to be experiencing any strain while trying to meditate. So while a person in lotus position, with each foot on the opposite knee, is a common symbol of deep meditation, it is only a symbol – Not a requirement!
You might find a meditation position that you use every day for the next 30 years. Or you might switch it up as your body changes over time.
I have found that meditation position is one ingredient in the overall recipe of meditation. Like an experienced cook, you need to adapt your position for that day’s practice. Listening to your body is critical to choosing the best meditation position for your practice of that meditation technique at that moment.
Looking at the length of this lesson text, you might be thinking “Umm, great, just tell me how to sit already”! If this describes you, then I recommend sitting on the floor indian style if you are less than 100% alert, and lying down if feeling tired. Keep reading for other elements of considering your meditation position of the day.
Here are some factors to consider in meditation position selection:
- Your level of alertness – If you are getting ready to meditate, and you feel tired and groggy, avoid meditation while lying down. You will either fall asleep or “click out”, which means large patches of your meditation session will seem to be lost to you (probably because you fell asleep in this instance).
- Your level of alertness, part 2 – If you are excited, over-stimulated, or on a lot of coffee this particular day, you want to relax before meditating. I like to lie down and put on an eye mask. Other people report great success using a gravity chair.
- The general condition of your body – If you have been sitting in front of a computer all day, your meditation will be a lot more effective if you are not sitting in a chair. Restless legs after sitting all day are not going to be cooperative if you make the decision to sit in the same position and try to still your mind! Consider a moving meditation, or at least sit on the floor to mix up all that sitting you are already doing.
- The meditation technique goal – There are certain practices that make it very important that you sit with a stiff upright back. The reasons have to do with energy flow along the spine. When you are following a technique that makes strong emphasis on an upright sitting on the floor position, then that is what you should be doing.
- Combining a yoga practice with meditation – I read that yoga was created to prepare the mind for meditation. I have no way of knowing if that was the original intention. But it definitely works. Laying down on a yoga mat in corpse pose to meditate, after a yoga practice, is a great way to get a deep meditation in a comfortable position. It blows my mind when people rush out of a yoga class before the meditation!
- Moving meditation – We’ll cover this in a later lesson with the 5 Tibetan Rites moving meditation.
Given all these factors, I find that if I am doing a meditation that involves listening to a mp3, I prefer to lie down, with the lights out, and noise cancelling headphones or ear buds. However, if I am doing a meditation without listening to guidance, I prefer to sit up on the floor.
For some pictures of various meditation positions, click here -> Meditation positions.
Your Assignment: Listen to the 10 Minutes Within meditation mp3 in different meditation positions to see what effect it has on the quality of that day’s meditation practice. Try 10 minutes lying down and then listen to the same meditation for 10 minutes sitting on the floor while upright.
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