Have you experienced sitting down to meditate, but feeling that your body is anxious and you cannot take the most comfortable sitting posture? Naturally, we want our meditation to be enjoyable. Relaxation, peace of mind, release of tension, deeper understanding of ourselves and acceptance; we want to experience these benefits that meditation can give us. They all are possible, yet we first need to learn how to still the body and find the proper way to sit.
Keeping your back straight
First of all, sitting is recommended over lying down because the position of the spine is crucial. It is best to sit with a straight back so that the vertebrae join together naturally. Sitting straight-backed allows for optimal flow of the breath. This is important for meditation in the long run. Then, place the open hands folded in your lap, with the index finger of your right hand touching the thumb of your left hand. It opens the chest, opens and frees the breath and creates balance in the shoulders and the whole upper body.
According to your preference and flexibility you can sit in a chair or on the floor. Either way, remember to keep your back straight and try not to lean against anything.
Let’s have a look at what experience in practice has proven to work nicely:
1. The Quarter Lotus
You can sit on the floor or on your meditation cushion with your legs crossed and both feet resting below the opposite thigh or knee.
2. The Half Lotus
Your legs are crossed with one foot resting on the opposite thigh. The other foot can fold underneath the top leg and rest below the knee or thigh.
3.The Full Lotus
Your legs are crossed with both feet resting on top of your opposite thighs in Padmasana (Lotus Pose).
4.The Burmese Position
If you cannot sit with your legs crossed, here’s the solution: sit with both feet laying on the floor in a relaxed position: Sukhasana (Easy Pose).
You place a cushion or a yoga mat between your legs. This traditional meditation posture is the Virasana (Hero Pose).
Some people prefer to sit in a chair and meditate, especially when at work or travelling. Sitting on the floor might not feel right for you and that is OK. Just remember to keep your back straight and the bottom of your feet flat on the floor.
Remember, it is ok to move gently, shift your body weight during meditation as long as you do it gently so that it does not interrupt your concentration.
Image source: formfitness@unsplash
Now that you have a clear picture of how to sit you can close your eyes and give meditation a try.