Choosing the right meditation posture when you’re just starting out can make or break your meditation practice. What you usually see in images with people sitting in a lotus pose is not how you want to start meditating. That pose requires a great deal of flexibility and training to execute correctly. If misused it can significantly hinder your progress and potentially turn you off from sitting meditation altogether. It is essential to feel comfortable and relaxed when attempting to do meditation for the first time. You need to start with a familiar posture that can be maintained for 10 or 20 minutes, especially if you’re not sure how long to meditate. In this post, I’ll describe 3 meditation postures you can try and experiment with as you choose the most convenient one that works for you.
Meditation Posture #1 – Sitting on a Chair
The key to getting most out of this simple posture is to make sure that when you sit your hips are slightly higher than your knees. This ensures that your pelvis is tilted forward to support a natural curvature of your spine that will help you sit straight and unsupported. Do not lean against the backrest and sit closer to the edge of your seat. If necessary, use a cushion or a pillow to bring your hips over the knees to prevent slouching. Throughout sitting meditation, you should maintain a straight back and keep your head in line with your spine. Place your feet flat on the floor and hands on the thighs, palms down or up. Alternatively, you can fold your arms on your lap.
Meditation Posture #2 – Kneeling
If you don’t like sitting on a chair then kneeling with support might be a better option. Kneeling posture has the advantage of the stability of the floor and the tilt of the pelvis which helps you keep your back straight. There are two ways you can sit in this pose: without support on your heels or with a kneeling bench or a pillow. For starters, I recommend placing a pillow or two between your legs and sit down. Don’t put too much pressure on your knees. If it starts to hurt, choose another posture.
Meditation Posture #3 – Lying Down
Finally, if none of the sitting postures work for you, then you can meditate lying down. Just lie down on a firm, soft surface with your arms at your sides and palms facing upwards. Your feet should be placed apart on the floor with the knees up and not touching each other. One drawback to this posture is that you can easily fall asleep if you try to use it in the evening. Because of this, it’s best to use it in the mornings when you’re still full of energy.
Ultimately, there is not one right way to do it. You can practice sitting meditation in any posture that you feel most comfortable for you. I suggest experimenting with different postures and getting a feel for how each one affects your concentration level. The best position will cause you minimal physical discomfort and allow you to meditate for more extended periods of time. If you feel pain or extreme discomfort during meditation stop using that posture and choose something different. To help, I made this free worksheet that you can download by clicking the button below.