Getting your posture right so as not to damage your knees, ankles, hips or back, is essential if we are to practice meditation for long periods of time, but even if our goal is meditating for simply five minutes, getting our posture right can make the difference between a pleasant meditation or an unpleasant meditation.
There are generally four main Positions we Meditate in and they are Sitting Meditation, Standing Meditation, Walking Meditation or Lying Meditation, each position has different postures we may want to use, these are explained below.
Sitting Meditation doesn’t have to involved bending your legs into those funny positions you see in the photos, it can easily be done from a straight back chair or even a meditation stool. The most important factor to consider will be first and foremost your own comfort.
Sitting Crossed Legged
If you do sitting meditation on the floor, it is recommended to use either the full lotus or the half lotus position, this however can be a little tricky for some to manage, so if you are struggling with this, you could use the method I use to sit, which is called the Thailand/Burmese cross legged style.To do this method, as you sit cross legged normally, the way you did at school, but instead of putting your legs on top of each other, all kind of crumpled under you, try to sit with both of your legs on the floor.
Start by placing your bottom on a Meditation Cushion, now start with your left leg first, place it in a crossed legged position, and then move the right leg into position but not on top of your left leg, just in front of it. Placing a Meditation Cushion under our bottoms allows our bodies to become slightly raised, creating a natural arch in our lower backs and allows our knees to touch the floor becoming anchor points which will create stability while we meditate.
This also has the added advantage of helping to eliminate the pressure to the knees and ankles that sitting with your legs on top of each other can create.
Meditating in a Chair
If this all sounds a bit hard for you then meditating in a straight back chair is an excellent alternative. If possible try to find a chair that your legs bend at the knees, at a nice 90 degree angle, and your feet rest flat on the floor. As you take your position keep a straight spine, not pulled too tight, but relaxed and upright. Gently relax your shoulders and relax your arms.
Using a Meditation Stool
A Meditation Stool is also another excellent alternative. Usually made from wood you use them like you would a Meditation Cushion, only with your legs in a kneeling position.
While your kneeling on the floor with your legs straight out behind you, gently lower your bottom towards the floor, place the stool under your bottom and over you legs. All the weight and pressure is taken off the knees, allowing for a more relaxed meditation. The other advantage of a meditation stool is the angle of the seat, this is angled just so as to keep your spine naturally straight.
Other Meditation Positions
Walking Meditation is one of the nicest ways to meditate, and for me personally I find it the most relaxing. First we need to find an area where you are safe to walk with no obstacles in your way or sharpe stones to hurt your feet, and a place you feel safe to do walking meditation. Somewhere like your own home, maybe the forest, somewhere where you will feel you won’t be disturbed.
We can practice Walking Meditation bare foot, so as to feel reconnected to the earth, but equally we can also use sandals or shoes. With your back straight and your shoulders relaxed, keep your head and eyes looking forward but slightly down, about 6-10ft in front of you will do nicely. Take a few deep breaths and feel yourself calming.
Now walk as slowly as you can, but to always be moving. Try to really feel the movements of each muscle as you inch forward. If you have the space try to walk for 20 paces, then slowly turn yourself around to face where you came. Now pause, take a few deep breaths and start to walk back again.
Try walking slower than you think possible, but always moving very slowly, try walking slower than a snail, it’s most enjoyable. If
Standing Meditation is exactly as it sounds, we stand and meditate, the most important factor with Standing Meditation is to keep your eyes open. Shutting our eyes causes us to loose our balance and fall.
With our eyes open we have an opportunity to focus our attention on something, a burning candle, a statue or painting of the Buddha, a vase of flowers, or maybe incense burning. The choice is yours, so long as the feeling you get from looking at your object, is a natural one and in no way bringing emotions out of you.
Now With your back straight and your feet firmly placed on the floor, relax your shoulders and have your arms loosely hanging by your side. Keep your head and eyes looking forward and slightly down, and focusing on your chosen object of meditation.
Lying Meditation is one of the easiest ways to fall asleep and isn’t really recommended for beginners. The correct way to meditate while lying is to do it on your right shoulder, using your hand as a pillow, resting under your head and slightly bending the legs.
The above method is recommended if we are trying to meditate for longer periods, because this way we are more likely to stay alert, than if you were to meditate flat on your back.
If we are using Lying Meditation as a way to relax and unwind after a busy and stressful day, or indeed to aid falling asleep, then try lying comfortably on your back, on the floor or a bed, with your legs out in front with a small pillow under your knees to allow your back to rest flat. Begin with Breathing or Samadhi Meditation for a deep relaxation.
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We hope you have found this to be of real benefit and now you have that energy and determination to start meditating for the first time or even on a regular basis. I can highly recommend it and the benefits that come from a sustained practice.
If there is anything we hear at 4enlightenment can help you with regarding meditation questions The please Contact Us and will respond with a personal email. If you would like to know our linage Of Meditation, length of time spent meditating, or any thing else then have a look at the About Us page.
Wishing you every success in your meditation practice.