Meditation is a powerful tool for mindfulness.
How we position our bodies during this practice can support our intentions and help us be present.
If we don’t hold our bodies in an aligned way, it can be challenging to stay focused and meditate with intention.
The proper pose gives us the foundation to still the body so the mind can follow.
Read on to learn about the different positions you can use to support your meditation practice.
- Things to Consider When Choosing a Meditation Pose
- Proper Meditation Posture
- 7 Of The Best Meditation Positions to Try
Things to Consider When Choosing a Meditation Pose
No matter what type of meditation poses you choose for your practice, there are some foundational considerations to keep in mind.
Being mindful of certain factors before you begin will help ensure that you can meditate with ease and without pain.
There are a few things to consider when choosing the right meditation pose for you:
- Accommodate sensitive areas of your body. If you have any injuries or chronic pain, choose a position that doesn’t aggravate those areas.
- Some positions are more restful than others. If you’re feeling fatigued, pick a pose that will be easy to hold.
- Props can help keep the body comfortable and supported. They can stop your leg from falling asleep or take pressure off of a weak spot in your body.
- Different environments will call for different poses. You don’t want to be distracted by noises, swatting away bugs, or getting too hot or cold. Picking the proper meditation pose for you will depend on where you decide to practice your meditation.
- Comfort isn’t the only thing to consider when choosing a meditation pose. If you’re too comfortable, you may fall asleep or struggle with focus. Try to find a balance where you are calm yet alert.
- Find a position you can hold for extended periods. You don’t want to have to readjust your position every few minutes.
- Make sure your pose is correct for the type of meditation you’re practicing. For example, if you’re doing a walking meditation, you’ll want to be standing.
Proper Meditation Posture
Posture is the foundation of a positive meditation practice. How we hold our bodies can affect the quality of our meditation and how long we can sustain it.
Correct meditation stances are as important (if not more) than the mental preparation of setting an intention and choosing a focus.
Meditators have aligned themselves for good meditation posture for hundreds of years by using the 7-point posture of Vairocana.
This postural method applies to many different meditation poses but is specifically used for the “lotus position,” and it’s one of the most popular sitting meditation postures.
1. Use Correct Leg Posture
The first step is to sit with both legs crossed in front of the body. The most popular way to do this is by sitting in the “lotus position,” but there are variations for people with different levels of flexibility.
Drop any tension you’re holding in your legs and let them fall naturally into the position.
2. Rest Your Arms and Place Your Hands Intentionally
Once your legs are in position, bring your arms down to your sides and let them fall naturally into place.
Again, drop any tension you’re holding in your shoulders. You can place your hands palm up on your thighs or your lap, with the right hand slightly resting on top of the left.
3. Lengthen Your Spine
Sit up tall and lengthen your spine. Imagine a string attached to the top of your head, gently pulling you upward.
It will help you avoid rounding your back, leading to lower back and shoulder pain.
4. Gently Gaze Ahead or Close Your Eyes
You can either close your eyes or gaze ahead. If you choose to close your eyes, let your eyelids gently close and rest your mind’s gaze on the space between your eyebrows.
If you gaze ahead, find a spot on the ground about four or five feet in front of you and rest your gaze there.
Just leave your eyes slightly open if you choose the gaze. This will eliminate distractions while keeping you awake for your meditation sitting positions.
5. Soften Your Jaw
We often unconsciously clench our jaws, and it’s essential to avoid this during your practice. Keep your teeth slightly separated, and ensure the lips are only lightly pressing together.
6. Position Your Tongue
Place your tongue right behind your two front teeth, which will help calm the urge to swallow or excessively salivate during your meditation.
7. Align Your Head with Your Spine
Make sure your head is aligned with your spine and ever so slightly tilted forward. Make sure the lift in your neck is spacious so that the head sits on top of the spine effortlessly.
7 Of The Best Meditation Positions to Try
Now that you know the proper posture for meditation, you can begin to explore different positions and find what works best for you.
Different poses will be more or less appropriate for various purposes, so it’s essential to experiment and find what helps you achieve your desired results.
Here are seven of the best meditation positions to try:
1. The Lotus Position
This position is the most popular meditation posture, and it’s often used in Buddhist practices. To do this, sit with both feet perched on each thigh and your hands resting palms upward on your thighs or lap. Lengthen your back while letting your hips drop toward the ground.
Many practitioners use a wedge or a meditation pillow to prop up their hips and keep their back straight. This can help with discomfort in the lower back and legs.
2. The Quarter Lotus
This alternative to the Lotus position is more commonly known as sitting cross-legged. Both of your ankles rest on the floor rather than your thighs in this position.
Your hands can rest on your knees, the side of your body, or gently touch between your inner thighs.
3. The Kneeling Position
The kneeling pose, known as Seiza, is popular in Japan and other East Asian countries. To do this, sit on your heels with your big toes touching or close behind you.
Once you’re in position, place both palms facing upwards on the tops of your thighs.
If you find sitting on your heels uncomfortable, try placing a meditation cushion or a rolled-up blanket between your calves and hamstrings for additional support.
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4. The Chair Pose
This is a great option for people with trouble sitting on the floor or limited mobility. Simply sit in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the ground and your hands resting in your lap.
Be sure to sit up straight and avoid slouching in the chair. Place your buttocks on the edge of the chair to help keep your spine straight.
You can also place a small blanket or towel under your feet if they don’t reach the ground.
Rest your hands on your thighs or lap, or place them palms up in your lap. You can also let your arms and hands hang off the side of the chair.
5. The Burmese Position
The Burmese position may be a good option for those who want a sitting meditation when they aren’t comfortable with crossing their legs. Try this pose by sitting with both legs bent in front of you without folding one leg on top of the other.
This angle ensures your legs don’t fall asleep, especially for longer meditation sessions.
6. The Standing Pose
The standing pose will help prevent falling asleep since you need to hold your body up. It is a great position for people who are new to meditation or have trouble sitting still.
It can also be easier on the joints and the spine since we naturally hold our backs straight when standing.
To do this, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides. Lengthen your spine and slightly tilt your chin downwards before you begin your meditation.
7. The Corpse Pose
The corpse pose, also known as savasana, is the final pose in yoga practice. It’s also an excellent position for meditation since it allows your whole body to relax.
To do this, lie down on your back with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your sides. Close your eyes and focus on relaxing each muscle group in your body, starting from your toes and working your way down.
If you feel you will fall asleep in this pose, you can slightly activate it by lifting your legs and knees and placing your feet firmly on the floor.
Finding the right posture that allows you to be comfortable and focus on your meditation is essential to receive the benefits of meditation. Your body is quite literally the path to your success.
There is no “right” way to meditate, but there are many ways to position your body to allow yourself to be comfortable and achieve the best results.
Try out a few of these positions and see which works best on your journey to enlightenment.