We can meditate in various ways, thanks to the different techniques of meditation. Similarly, we can meditate in different positions too. Posture has an important place in meditation. Mastering it is crucial to progress on the path of meditation. In this article, we’ll discuss the best posture for meditation.
The best position to meditate is to sit cross-legged, following the seven points of meditation posture. Sitting cross-legged channelizes the 10 vital energies of our body and provides a stable base for meditation. It allows us to relax the body and stay alert and awake at the same time.
Read on to learn the seven points of meditation posture. We’ll also discuss four alternative positions for meditation, so you can switch between them if your body gets tired.
The best position to meditate
Having a rock-solid body posture calms the mind and reduces discursive thoughts. To do a little experiment, fix your gaze at a point and don’t move your eyeballs. Keep staring at that point, and your thoughts will cease. Everything will stand still, including your mind.
Just keeping your eyeballs fixed instantly affects the mind. Imagine what a completely still posture would do.
Sitting cross-legged also helps us control the Prana Vayu (vital energies) of the body. By sitting straight, we channelize the five primary energies, and the five secondary energies are controlled by having a still gaze.
Other than that, crossing our legs and sitting straight keeps us alert. It creates the perfect balance of relaxation and alertness. Although it takes time to get adjusted to the cross-legged posture, once we master it, we can meditate for longer periods.
The best way to sit in meditation
- Cross your legs and sit on the floor. Spread a mat or place a cushion to make it comfortable. There are several ways to cross your legs to meditate. These are known as Asanas, and I’ve discussed them in this article.
- Keep your back straight. Maintaining a straight back is crucial. It doesn’t mean that you have to be stiff though. Keep the spine straight and relaxed—no overarching or slouching.
- Relax your arms. Don’t stretch your arms. Keep your shoulders even and don’t slump forward or pull them backward. The elbows have a natural bend which should be maintained during meditation.
- Rest your hands in your lap. Put one hand on top of the other, palms facing upward. They should be a few inches below the navel. Ideally, the tips of your thumbs should join to form a circle or teardrop. Alternatively, you can simply cross your fingers and drop the hands in front of you.
- Keep your head and neck straight. Your head and neck should be in line with your spine. But don’t try to force your neck backward. There’s a natural hook in the neck that should be maintained.
- Close your eyes or keep them slightly open. I recommend you close your eyes asit’s easier to concentrate that way, but it can also lead to sleepiness if you’re not alert or drop your head forward. On the contrary, keeping your eyes slightly open allows you to stay alert, but you can get distracted by the sensory input. Keep your gaze fixed and don’t move your eyeballs.
- Relax your jaw and mouth. Keep your teeth slightly apart—don’t clench them. Keep the lips lightly joined–don’t close your mouth tightly. The tongue should rest lightly on the upper palate, with the tip lightly touching the back of your upper teeth.
Related article: 6 practical tips to sit longer in meditation
Four alternative meditation positions
Apart from sitting cross-legged on the ground, there are a few other positions you can meditate in. Here are four alternative meditation postures for you to try:
If the purpose of meditation posture is to keep the body relaxed and naturally aligned, lying down seems to fulfill the criteria. The problem here is that the mind tends to relax during meditation, and it’s easy to fall asleep if you’re lying down. You’ll find it harder to concentrate and stay alert. However, you can practice visualization techniques as they require you to play an active part, so you won’t fall asleep.
If you want to meditate lying down, choose a place that isn’t too soft, like the floor. Lie with your feet slightly apart. Your palms should face up, and arms should be by your side, not touching the body. If you place a cushion under your head, make sure it’s thin.
Since meditating while lying down makes you sleepy, you can use it to fall asleep more easily and quickly at night.
Kneeling is another position you can try. This posture is known as Vajrasana in the Yogic system and Seiza in Japan. It’s a popular Zen meditation posture that involves kneeling on a mat. Be warned though: it can be more difficult than even full lotus if your knees aren’t healthy.
To meditate in Seiza posture, kneel and make sure your feet are together, with toes touching each other. Place a cushion or cushions under your buttocks to reduce the pressure on your legs and make yourself comfortable. You can also use a meditation bench that supports your weight.
Sitting on a chair
If you cannot sit cross-legged because of a medical condition, sitting on a chair is the next best thing you can do.
If you’re meditating sitting on a chair, make sure it’s hard-backed. It should also be right for the height of your legs, which need to be straight below the knees, forming a 90° angle. Have an upright posture with a straight spine. Let your hands rest gently on your knees. You can also put them in your lap, one on top of the other, palms facing upward.
This isn’t exactly a posture, but I wanted to introduce you to walking meditation. If you get tired from sitting on a chair or the ground, walking meditation can be a wonderful way to maintain the serenity of your sitting meditation. If you can’t sit for an hour, for example, you can meditate for 30 minutes and take a break for 15 minutes to do walking meditation before getting back to your sitting session.
To meditate while walking, wear loose and comfortable clothes and shoes. Take one step at a time, slowly and mindfully. Notice your body’s weight shifting with each step. You can also sync your breath with your steps, breathing in for 2-3 steps, and breathing out for 4-6 steps.
Some people claim that mindfulness is all that matters, and posture isn’t too relevant. You can sit in any posture you want and meditate the same way. This may be true if you’re only ever going to meditate for 10-15 minutes a day.
The truth is that meditating cross-legged has more benefits over other postures. If you’re serious about progressing on the path of meditation, the importance of a solid posture cannot be stressed enough. Other than sitting cross-legged, you can meditate while lying down, kneeling, sitting on a chair, or walking.
Good luck and happy meditating.