Have you ever sat down to meditate and find it hard to find the best meditation positions to sit in?
You have good intentions and a visual image of what you think you should look like, yet hate to sit still and end up slouching and fidgeting and in pain.
Despite this, you still want to learn how to meditate and spend hours searching online for advice and practical tips on meditation positions for beginners to find a way to improve your meditation posture.
If this sounds like you, then don’t worry. You are not alone. Lots of people, myself and even my meditation teachers struggle and slouch when we first start to meditate to find a comfortable position.
So, the next series of blog post will explore the different meditation positions and postures you can try to find a way to sit for a longer period of time without stress or strain.
We will look at why you struggle to sit still and suggest ways in which you can improve your posture and feel comfortable when meditating.
Does this sound like you when you meditate?
Your back and shoulders ache.
Your knees look like upright bunny ears as they refuse to budge and lower to the ground.
Your butt feels sore.
And your hips and hamstrings are so tight they feel like they will “pop” when you try and sit down on the floor!
If this sounds like you, don’t worry. You are not alone.
Most people slouch, especially if you spend all day sitting down on a chair, multi-tasking and then when you decide to sit on the floor to meditate, slouch and struggle to sit still and upright.
In fact, a lot of my meditation clients say their hips, knees and back ache so much when they try to sit down on the floor to meditate, that they get disheartened and give up!
That makes me feel sad because the long term benefits of meditation are worth the extra effort required to find a comfortable seated position.
Let’s start with a brief overview of meditation and the role posture plays in your practice.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is the process where you learn to train your mind and focus your attention on a single point of concentration.
During meditation, your heart rate and respiratory rate slow down, as you gain control of your thoughts and allow your mind to settle on your point of concentration, with practice you experience a deep sense of calm and tranquillity.
The Importance Of Posture When You Meditate
From an energetic perspective, the way you sit influences the quality of your meditation practice.
Energy, that invisible force which surrounds you, travels in an upward direction from the base of the spine and upwards towards your crown.
The traditional image of meditation involves you sitting with a straight spine in the lotus position, like a Buddhist monk.
The easier it is for your energy to flow the easier it is for you to experience the physical, spiritual and emotional benefits of your practice.
Problems Associated With Sitting Erect
Years of poor posture, weak stomach and back muscles, sitting slouched on a settee watching TV or hunched over a computer at work, makes it harder for you to sit erect whilst meditating.
Stiff hips, lower back pain, creaky knees and tense shoulders are common posture problems when you meditate.
How To Sit Correctly When You Meditate
The key body parts to be aware of whilst meditating is the positioning of your:
- your knees,
- your back,
- arms and hands,
- your neck and head and,
- eyes and jaw.
The traditional meditation posture:
- is sitting cross-legged on the floor on a mat,
- hands resting gently on your knees or softly clasped together on your lap;
- your back is straight,
- and your head and neck in line with your back;
- if you have a habit of grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw, make sure your jaw is relaxed by allowing a slight space between your upper and lower lips; gently close your eyes or keep them open with a soft gaze.
Some people find it difficult to sit down on the floor when they meditate, in this case, it is perfectly acceptable to practice sitting on a chair or even do a walking meditation [See future blog posts for examples of walking meditations.]
When you meditate, it is important that you are comfortable.
Traditionally, sages sat on the floor in the lotus position and meditated.
However, if you are like most of the people I work with, you struggle to sit still long enough to meditate.
Your body isn’t used to sitting still, especially if you spend the lion’s share of your day sitting, on your mobile or perched on a chair crouched over a computer with little time to rest or stretch your body.
Over time, this leads to a build-up of tension and fatigue in your lower back and hips and makes it uncomfortable for you to sit comfortably with a straight back in a crossed-legged position.
Meditation Positions Solution: Find a position that is comfortable for you.
It is not essential that you sit on the floor in full lotus position!
Your main priority when you sit to meditate is to ensure you are comfortable, that your mind is at ease, and that your spine is straight as possible.
This allows energy to flow easily through your body.
For example, you can:
- Sit upright in a straight-backed chair
- Sit on the floor on a cushion with either your legs crossed or straight out in front of you
- Sit supported against a wall
- Lie down on the floor on your yoga mat/blanket or even lie on your back on your bed
(If you have lower back pain or feel uncomfortable lying on your back with your legs straight along the bed/mat, place your feet flat on the bed/mat, knees bent, and make sure your lower back is flat against the bed/mat.)
If you still struggle to sit still, another solution is to practice a more dynamic physical body-mind awareness meditation, such as walking meditation. And in the next blog post, I will share with you two walking meditations you can do to help calm your mind.
To recap, when you meditate it is important you find a comfortable position which you can sit in.
- The ideal meditative posture encourages you to sit on the floor, crossed-legged with an erect spine and relaxed body.
- A few simple yoga stretches before you practice helps to energise your body, and ease tension and stiffness from your body.
- If you have problems with lower back pain, sore knees or stiff hips, sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor, this position helps you to keep your back straight.
- Alternatively, you can sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you or rest your back against a wall can improve your posture.
Now that you know different ways to stop slouching when you meditate, you might also be interested in practising easy chair yoga stretches to help strengthen your back and release tension in your body which will improve your posture.
If so, check out my gift 7 Simple Stretches to Energise Your Body and start to feel comfortable and meditate with ease, today!