We all know how important posture is in our normal day to day, but did you know that poor posture in meditation could be holding you back from reaching deeper states? Let’s explore how to fine tune your seated posture in the simple step by step article below:
1. Pick a Posture
Above, you will find a picture of the 6 most common meditation postures; I personally find the half lotus to be the most comfortable, but I invite you to play around with the leg positioning and find what suites you.
The easiest will be a cross legged position (pictured @ top), which is the basic “criss cross apple sauce” – the issue with this is that it positions the pelvis below the knees, which can be very straining on the lower back. If this is the position you choose, I would suggest folding a blanket or placing a pillow under your butt. You can find some great meditation cushions here.
Transitioning into the lotus positions requires flexible knees, so proceed with caution. You may find that after you sit in a lotus for a little, your top leg goes numb – this is normal, just stretch your leg out and continue with your meditation.
Meditating in a chair is possible, but I only recommend this as a ‘last resort’ if you are unable to sit on the ground. The important note with chair meditating is to keep your back straight and off the chair (it’s too easy to slouch when using the back of a chair)
2. Sit Straight
Once seated, elongate your spine. Think about stacking each vertebra on top of one another, as if a post was placed from your rear through your head. This positioning will encourage the energy flow, and as we dive into deeper more complex meditations, keeping this energy channel clear and straight will be extremely important. Again, I encourage you to sit on a cushion, you will find it much easier to sit straight for an extended period of time.
3. Place Your Hands
Let’s keep this simple – place your hands where they are comfortable. There are many schools of thought with hand placement, and you can use different mudras (hand positions) for different energetic purposes. For now, I would recommend placing your hands in your lap, one on the other, relaxed and open.
4. Shoulders Back, Relaxed
This is a semi oxymoron, I know. We typically strain and flex to pull our shoulders back, so try this: while seated, roll your shoulders up to your ears – now drop your shoulders back with a big exhale. This should position your shoulders back, but without the typical strain. Placing your hands in your lap will help with this shoulder placement.
5. Tuck Your Chin
Now we are seated comfortably, our spine is erect, hands are relaxed, and our shoulders are back. Complete the posturing by slightly dropping your chin towards your chest. This should straighten out your neck, and prevent ‘chicken necking’, which occurs when your chin is up but your upper back is hunched (typically happens during a long meditation)
Sweet! The basics are covered, there are only two things to touch on
Eyes opened or closed? This one is completely up to you, but if you plan to follow the meditations I have on this site, I recommend closing your eyes. It is true it is easier to stay awake with eyes open, but I find distractions run rampant. For the purposes of deep meditation experiences, having eyes closed is far more conducive to the visuals you will experience.
Relax Your Jaw. This seems like a no brainer, but pay attention to this one – you’ll find yourself clenching, especially during times of stress. This will be a killer or deep states, so I suggest opening the mouth slightly to avoid this all together!
There we go my friends, short and sweet! We will explore certain aspects of the posture further down the road – namely mudras (hand positions) and the energy channel (sushumna) a straight spine creates.
Ready to create a meditation space of your own? Check out 3 Steps to Decorate Your Meditation Room!
Thanks for reading friends! Hopefully this was short and sweet; let me know your meditation position of choice in the comments below!