Meditation is the process of transforming the mind to focus on a specific activity, thought or object. The key goal of meditation is to help the practitioner with a mentally and emotionally clear mind. The advantages of practising meditation in one’s daily life cannot be undermined. Some of them enhance the well-being, perception and peace of an individual. Meditation has also proved to have the powers to alleviate pain, stress, depression, and anxiety of the person.
The most common posture followed to practise meditation is to sit upright with a straight back, hands stretched in front with the palms outward and the tips of the index finger and thumb touching each other. The legs are usually kept in a cross-legged position. However, there are several other postures that are accepted as well.
Read on to know some postures that you can adopt when you meditate if you are not comfortable with the standard position.
Seiza or Kneel Down Posture
The back and hands essentially the same as in the traditional cross-legged posture. However, you have to kneel down with a rolled yoga mat or cushion between your lower leg limbs and thighs at the back. The back is held erect.
This position is considered to be an extension of the vajrasana (thunderbolt pose) or the virasana (hero pose).
There are three types of lotus postures that you can choose from, based on what works best for you. They are the quarter lotus posture, the half lotus posture, and the full lotus posture.
In the quarter lotus posture, you sit on the floor with an upright back and the legs crossed loosely. The leg of one foot rests under the knee or thigh of the other leg. The hands can be in the standard position or brought together such that both palms touch each other like when you say a prayer. Some people prefer resting the inner palms of their hands on their knees.
You can also seat yourself on a cushion if the floor is not comfortable. However, your hips must be higher than the knees.
In the half lotus posture, you sit with the left foot as near as possible to your pelvis and the right foot closer to your trunk. In other words, one foot is crossed rests on the thigh of the other leg. The other foot is folded under the raised leg below the thigh or knee. Remember to sit with a straight back and knees as near as possible to the floor.
In the full lotus position, you adopt the padmasana pose. Both legs are crossed with one foot atop the thigh of the other leg. Like the half lotus posture, it is important to have your knees close to the floor and a straight back.
This is a slight modification of the usual cross-legged posture but the body is a bit more relaxed. You can just sit with a straight back and legs on the floor in sukahasana or easy pose. In this posture, you cross your legs in a way that your right heel touches above your left foot and is a little in front of you. At the same time, you must direct your right thigh to the outside of your left heel.
If you are just getting started with meditation and plan to use this posture, you can use a meditation pillow or cushion to help out. Sit on the pillow on its front half with your knees bent in front of you and facing each other. Rotate them outward slowly to come to the cross-legged style.
Sitting on a Chair
This posture is typically intended for beginners. Sit with a straight back on any chair that keeps you comfortable. However, keep in mind that you should sit to the front such that your back does not rest on the chair back. You can use a cushion or a rolled up sheet to separate your back from the chair back. Keep your feet firmly rested on the floor under your knees. This will raise your chest naturally and keep your back straight. Position your hands over your legs on your lap or by the side.
Lying Down Posture
This posture is recommended if you have problems like a cast in your foot or a backache. This posture is called shavasana or corpse pose in yoga. However, you should ensure that you do not drift off to sleep in this position. If you think that this might happen, you can consider lying on the floor with your legs raised up and resting on a chair. Keep your toes stretched and relaxed to the outside with your arms stretched out on either side of your body and palms facing upwards.
You can choose a different meditation posture each time you meditate. The key focus is to ensure that you are comfortable so that the remaining part of your body does not get stressed or tensed. Irrespective of the posture, your back should be relaxed and straight with the neck and head aligned above the spine. The hands can be placed over the legs or on your lap with one hand on top of the other. The palms can face either upward or downward. Also, remember that it is not a good idea to shift from one position to another in between your meditation.