Some people believe that there’s a strict sitting position when meditating like doing the lotus position perfectly. The truth is that you can sit however you want, whether you’re sitting on the floor, on a cushion, or on a chair, as long as your spine is upright and you’re comfortable.
There are 8 sitting positions for meditation. You can sit on a chair, kneeling with support between your knees, against a wall, Burmese position, easy pose, full lotus pose, half lotus pose, and quarter lotus pose.
Make sure that your spine is straight because it allows your body and mind to stay alert during meditation.
In this article, we will tackle the different ways on how to sit for meditation. We will also discuss why proper positioning is important, the relationship between meditation and posture, the seven points to consider for meditation posture, and things to keep in mind while meditating.
Why Positioning Matters in Meditating
Meditating with your back slouching is not recommended because it will make you feel tired and it’s a lot harder to maintain. As gravity pulls your body down, it will cause pain in your neck and back which can distract you from the ultimate goal of meditation.
If you feel uncomfortable or pain when your back is upright, you can lean against an object or a wall for support. Encouraging your vertebrae to be stacked properly is important to ensure that your back can sustain the weight of sitting for a long time.
If you feel tightness in your hips or your knees start aching, you can opt to meditate while sitting on a chair. Look for a chair where you can feel comfortable meditating for a long time and doesn’t invite you to slouch.
Once sitting on a chair seems too repetitive for you, you can start sitting on the floor or a cushion. You may want to explore new positions as you evolve through meditation.
If for some medical reason, you feel uncomfortable sitting down for a long time and you feel any pain while meditating, you can choose to lie down. Doing the body scan meditation method is perfect for people who choose to meditate while lying down.
Proper positioning is important when meditating because it instructs your body of the intention of meditation. Once you practice a specific posture when meditating, your body will start reading the cues and adapt to when it’s time to meditate.
How to Properly Sit When Meditating
With all the different ways of sitting while meditating, there are certain guidelines that you should follow to ensure that you can be comfortable and focus on what you’re doing.
When meditating and to achieve proper upright position, your head should directly be over your heart and your heart should directly be over your hips.
You can sit on a cushion, pillow, or rolled-up blanket to achieve proper alignment and support so that your hips are slightly higher than your knees and your pelvis is tilted slightly forward for better comfort.
Making sure that you follow this guide will not only show your natural curvature but will also stabilize your lumbar spine while sitting for a long time.
8 Ways to Sit for Meditation
If you’re still unsure of what kind of sitting position you would do, here are the eight different ways to sit when meditating. Find the position where you feel most comfortable or where you can focus on your body and mind.
We’ve listed the positions from easiest to gradually getting difficult.
1. In a Chair
Most people prefer to sit in a chair when meditating because it allows them to sit for a longer time. You won’t be having trouble with your knees compared to doing floor-bound postures.
When sitting in a chair, your feet must be firmly planted on the floor. If your feet can’t reach the floor, you can put items or blankets under your feet so that you will still feel supported.
You can also put a pillow or cushion under you to provide more comfort and this can bring your hips and pelvis slightly forward and well-stacked.
You can choose to sit with your back against the chair or sit toward the edge just make sure that you’re sitting upright and your spine is correctly aligned. In some cases, chairs do not have good back support and it would be best to sit on the edge of the chair.
2. Against a Wall or a Sturdy Furniture
When sitting against a wall or a piece of sturdy furniture, you can choose to extend or cross your legs, whichever makes you feel more comfortable. Putting a blanket or cushion under you is still a good choice to better improve the comfort, stability, and support of your back.
3. Kneeling with Support Between Your Knees
If you prefer to meditate while kneeling, putting a yoga block, cushion, pillow, or blanket under your buttocks and between your knees can remove the pressure off your ankles and knees. This will make you feel more comfortable and you will be able to last longer with your sessions.
4. Easy Pose
Doing the easy pose is best for short meditation sessions because you may feel your feet get tired faster with this position. With an easy pose, all you have to do is cross your legs with your feet below the opposing knees.
When doing this sitting position, make sure that you put a cushion or blanket under you to elevate your hips and provide better stability.
5. Burmese Position
The Burmese position is a good starting pose for beginners because it’s comfortable and easy to do. Sit on the half portion of the pillow or cushion under you and cross your legs with your right heel touching your inner left thigh and your left heel on top of your right ankle, calf, or foot.
Make sure that your knees are slightly rotated inwards. The sides of your knees may be touching the ground, or if not, you can put a cushion or blanket under your knees to provide the support.
Take note that the following sitting positions are different variations of the cross-legged pose. They will differ depending on the position of your feet.
6. Quarter Lotus Pose
Like the Burmese position, sit on the half side of a pillow or cushion with your legs crossed and your hips open. Touch your left foot with your right foot touching the floor and your right foot resting on your left foot’s calf. You will notice that one of your feet is facing upward while the other foot is inside.
7. Half Lotus Pose
Do the same position as the quarter lotus, but instead place your right foot on top of your left calf. You will notice that your right foot is now closer to your body.
8. Full Lotus Pose
The full lotus pose is considered the most symmetrical and stable meditation posture because it allows you to better stabilize yourself. Do the same pose as the quarter and half lotus pose, but place your left foot on top of your right thigh and your right foot on top of your left thigh.
You can do this a lot easier if you’re a flexible type of person and if it’s more comfortable for you. Take note that if you’re forcing yourself to do this pose, you may end up injuring your knees.
When doing the full or half lotus pose, you must take note of your back positioning. Make sure that your back is straight. If you’re a beginner and you feel uncomfortable sitting on the floor, it may be best to start with a chair since it allows you to extend your legs.
You can modify the sitting position that you do later on when you’re more flexible and evolve into your meditation sessions.
The instructions provided above regarding which foot should be on top can be changed depending on whether you’re comfortable with it. Remember that the main goal of meditating is to be comfortable with your body and mind.
Seven-Point Meditation Posture
Sitting for meditation is not only about sitting how you want to sir, but there are guidelines that you should follow to ensure that you’re doing it properly and that you can get the fullest effect. Here are seven guidelines to think about when meditating:
Like what we’ve mentioned earlier, you have eight choices to meditate while sitting. Remember to use cushions, pillows, or blankets for better comfort and stability. Choose a pose that makes you feel the most comfortable and allows you to focus.
Once you feel any pain or discomfort, immediately stop what you’re doing, recollect yourself, and try another pose that you can do.
As we’ve mentioned a couple of times above, sitting upright with your spine correctly stacked is important for you to avoid feeling any pain and discomfort when you meditate for a long time. Slouching while meditating is a big no-no because it encourages the feeling of tiredness.
With each inhale, lengthen your spine and lift your body. With each exhale, feel the air coming out of your body. Feel the air go through your body while keeping your back straight.
Hand positioning can make a difference in the energy that you want to do. Facing them down on top of your knees helps you to be more grounded and relaxes the flow of your energy. Facing upward can generate more energy and heat in your body.
Even though you’re sitting upright, make sure that your shoulders are comfortable and relaxed which helps you keep your back strong and center your heart.
Try to check your posture from time to time while you’re meditating. Body check is important because it allows you to correct your body posture, especially your spine.
Drop your shoulder away from your ears. From time to time, you may feel your one shoulder is slightly higher than the other. When this happens, quickly correct your posture and meditate again.
Make sure that your chin is slightly tucked in while your nape is maintaining its length. Having your chin correctly positioned allows you to maintain your posture, keeping your face relaxed. If you feel any tension in your face, slightly face up and turn your head to the corner.
There are certain instances when you feel that your jaw is tightened with tension. When you notice this, quickly release the tightness by pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth and slightly opening your jaw.
This also helps slow down your swallowing process and clear your breathing.
Doing exaggerated jaws before your meditation session also helps release the tension on the jaw and stretches it.
Most people meditate with their eyes closed because it helps them be focused and avoid any unnecessary distractions. Softly close your eyes and avoid squeezing them shut. This helps you relax your eyelids, eyes, face, and eyebrows.
Some people prefer to meditate with their eyes open. Make sure that you maintain an unfazed gaze ahead of you. Others also light a candle for them to easily focus on the light. Avoid squinting and keep your face relaxed.
Things to Keep in Mind
Meditation is a long process and you won’t be able to perfect it with a couple of sessions. Here are some practices that you can do that you may find beneficial:
- Feel your body sitting on the chair or floor. Feel your clothes touching your skin.
- Always start with short sessions and gradually increase the time as you go further.
- One by one, be aware of the sounds around you.
- Focus on the air that you breathe that’s going in and out of your body. Flowing through you.
- Be conscious of your stillness and the silence around you.
- Keep your breath smooth, slow, and steady.
- Notice every time your thoughts wander and gently refocus yourself to the present without judging yourself.
- Observe all your sensations, thoughts, and feelings as they arise and pass.
- Remember that all your thoughts can make you feel neutral, positive, or negative. Notice these feelings and refocus your thoughts.
There are different ways for you to meditate while sitting down. When choosing a pose, make sure that you’re comfortable doing it for a short or long time. You can change your sitting position over time while you continuously evolve with your meditation practices.
The most important thing to remember is to always straighten your spine, relax your face, relax your shoulders, feel the air that you breathe, and focus on your mind and body.