Lets be real, meditation has gone mainstream. Everyone from celebrities, businessmen and, of course, the Dalai Llama recommend meditation for a whole host of reasons. There are countless podcasts, YouTube videos, and apps dedicated to helping you focus your mind and calm yourself for the practice. However, a basic practical element seems to be overlooked: how in the hell you are supposed to hold your body comfortably in the same position for upwards of ten minutes?! Check out some of my fav positions and regardless of experience or body limitations soon you will be getting your mindfulness on with the best of ‘em!
Classic Seated Posture
This is probably the position most people think of when they think of meditation. Trust me, it’s classic for a reason. Sitting down while meditating brings an over all feeling of balance to the practice. Many pranayama techniques (breath practices) require a seated position and it feels fluid to move directly from pranayama to meditation. While in this position, subtle desires to move the body often arise and learning to ignore these desires can be a powerful tool to train and calm the mind.
Sit with your sit bones on the ground press down slightly to create a rooting down sensation. Allow the weight of your low body to stabilize you as you let your spine grow long, crown of the head reaches towards the ceiling. Shoulders are relaxed but not rounded forward. Avoid holding your body in a manner that is overly stiff…just relax. Hands rest gently on the tops of thighs or in the center of your lap.
A kneeling seated pose is similar to the classic position. This pose may also add an overall feeling of balance to your meditation and is appropriate for various pranayama techniques. A huge benefit of this option is that it naturally brings your hips higher than knees, which can help prevent low back or leg pain that may be brought on in classic seated position. And hey, some people just find it more comfortable to sit this way.
Sit with your knees on the ground sit bones resting on the tops of heels. Be sure that the pressure from your upper body is neither causing the ankles and feet to rotate too far in nor out (basically don’t crush your ankles). Once again, root down to create a feeling of length through the spine. Relax shoulders down the back and let hands rest on top of thighs or at the center of the lap.
This is an amazing option for those dealing with injury. However, it is not recommended if you have a tendency to get sleepy during your practice. Nothing against napping but meditation is not nap time. On the flip side this can be a good option if you have an overly active mind. Lying down can bring a great sense of calm to the practice. This position naturally signals to the brain it is time to relax. Since you don’t have to worry about supporting your body while meditating it is easier for the body to relax which can make it easier for the mind to relax.
Lay flat on your back atop a yoga mat, carpet, or blanket. Extend legs long and allow them to naturally relax and rotate outward. Be sure neck is in line with spine and let shoulders relax towards the ground. Hands extend by your side. Palms can be faced up (signaling reception), down (signaling introspection) or resting on belly or heart center (signaling balance).
Legs up the wall
Oh my goodness, this one is so yummy! Lately it is my go to position, it is just delightful. “Legs up the wall” is calm like lying down but slightly energized like a seated position. I would say the biggest downside to this pose is I can’t meditate more than 15 or 20 minutes. Actually, I would be curious to know if anyone likes going longer in this pose, if so let me know in the comments below.
Lay on your side knees bent with your sit bones and feet against a wall. In one swift motion roll over so that you are lying on your back and your legs are up the wall. You may have to inch your sit bones back a little but be sure to allow space for the natural curvature of the spine (i.e. there should be a slight gap between the ground and your lumbar spine). Your heels will act as an anchor point on the wall. Legs can be extended straight up or in a wide V-shape. It is okay for knees to be bent.
Through exploring mediation in different poses we can open ourselves to new influences and subtleties of the practice-it’s a great big universe out there! Or you know, a different pose might just help so you don’t feel like your legs are about to fall off every time you sit down to meditate…
Thanks for checking out my favorites meditation poses. Let me know what you thought of this post below and if you have any poses you love. Have a beautiful day!
Love and light,
Check out this post on using props in these same positions.