What is the best way to sit when I meditate?
The way that you sit will affect you meditation experience. Feeling supported and comfortable enables you to sit for longer periods of time with less discomfort. Some people can easily sit cross legged on a cushion on the floor, while others need a chair or some back support it is different for everyone so it is a good idea to experiment with different ways of sitting and to choose one that is most comfortable and best for you.
Sitting meditation can be practiced either on a chair, a meditation stool or you can choose to sit cross legged on a cushion on the floor. If you have any physical injury or a bad back then support it in the best way that you know, experiment using cushions or blankets. You can also practice meditation lying down. Use cushions to place under your knees, this relaxes your lower back and use a pillow to support your head and neck.
Choose a posture that encourages enables your spine to be naturally aligned and upright, this helps you to feel supported and relaxed and also to stay awake and alert. The art is not to have any muscles holding you in place as you sit but to allow the natural balance of your weight distribution and posture to hold you upright.
Trying too hard or holding tightly to the ideal posture, can restrict breathing and cause tension so whichever way you choose, the aim is finding a balance between being upright, awake and alert and also open and relaxed.
To maintain a posture that is comfortable, relaxed and yet upright you first need to make adjustments so that the height of your cushion, chair or stool are just right for you.
Sitting cross-legged on the floor is very supportive and stable. If you are sitting on the floor then again sit on a cushion so that your pelvis tilts slightly forwards allowing your tummy and chest to open allowing you to breathe freely and your spine to rest naturally on your sacrum allowing you to relax.
If you are sitting on a chair then place your feet firmly on the ground and sit towards the edge of the chair in an upright position, tilt your pelvis slightly forward and find the point of balance and ease. It’s best not to lean back in the chair in a slumped position or to slump forwards as this closes the chest area which affects your ability to breathe freely and also sends you to sleep. Arching your spine backwards affects your natural balance and compresses your lower back also, it requires more effort as you use your muscles to hold you upright.
Support your hands by resting them in your lap or on your thighs or use a cushion on your lap to support your hands higher if need be, this relaxes your shoulders and arms and does not constrict the chest area.
Relax your shoulders
Relax your jaw and tuck your chin in very slightly, opening the back of your neck. Imagine that you are effortlessly supported as you as you sit.
Remember to keep your mind alert and yet calm, focusing in the moment non-judgmentally, with acceptance and ease.