Contrary to what many may think, meditation is not about posture, chanting OM or specific breathing techniques. Don’t get me wrong, these things are great in their own ways and the lotus position is an attractive yogic invention but they are not essential to meditation. What’s most often needed for meditation is comfort for the body so that other layers of consciousness become more immediate. Now the way this comfort is achieved isn’t all that important when we get right down to it. In other words, you can and should be meditating in whatever position that is conducive to helping you achieving the meditative state.
Having said that, there are a couple of helpful things to keep in mind when wanting to find an optimal position to sit in, both in regards to comfort and to duration i.e. how long you can meditate.
- First and foremost is to find a way to keep the back and spine straight for as long as possible without exerting too much effort doing so. This is mainly done by sitting on an elevated position that also tilts your pelvis forward. A meditation cushion or bench or floor chair are designed for doing this specific task.
- Wear comfortable clothes and consider getting a meditation shawl to wrap around yourself, especially if meditating in a cool or cold room.
- For most people new to meditation the full-lotus seated position is too challenging and demanding to do, instead I recommend sitting crosslegged or even better in the half-lotus position for most people.
- Try alternating between the half-lotus position to sitting in a comfy single sofa chair to sitting in the kneeling (seiza) position.
- Find the balance between keeping your spine straight and to not thinking about keeping your spine straight.
- Your head should be slightly tucked in when sitting in meditation, this straightens your spine even further up to your neck.
- For a more fulfilling meditation practice, try to create a room or space in your home where meditation is one of the main activites.
If you find longer meditation session while sitting too hard, remember that you can meditate with your back against a wall, sitting on a traditional chair or even while lying down. There are few to no rules when it comes to meditation. Having said that, sitting meditation is a great way to take your practice to the next level.
Daniel Seeker is a wandering dervish and lifelong student of the past, present and future. He realized deep relaxations of the psyche when meditating in his hermit cave on the island of Gotland. His writings are mostly a reflection of that realizaton. Daniel currently studies history and philosophy at Uppsala Universitet, as he is currently writing his B.A. thesis in history which explores how Buddhist, Yogic and Hindu texts were first properly translated and introduced to the western world in the late 18th and 19th century.