While this posture is beautiful and comfortable for some people, it is not necessary for a legitimate meditation practice.
In fact, images like these (and I use them) send the incorrect message that meditation is the same as Hatha Yoga when there are many forms of meditation practice that don’t require movement.
My philosophy about meditation is similar to my philosophy about life: that it should be enjoyable most of the time.
Here are three tips to ensure correct posture and an enjoyable meditation practice:
1. The above posture would be very uncomfortable for most people and would be a mental distraction. However, if sitting in a crossed legged position, half-lotus, or even full lotus is pleasurable and comfortable for you to do for 20-45 minutes, then of course that’s how you should sit. Just make sure that your hips are higher than your knees. You can do this by sitting on the edge of a firm cushion or folded blanket. This will also keep your back from rounding.
2. I prefer to sit in a chair or on my sofa with a firm pillow in my back. Sitting upright with both of your feet firmly on the floor will help you to remain alert and it helps with the flow of energy (The main channel of life-force energy runs along your spine. When the spine is limber and long this energy flows more freely. This feels like more vitality, enthusiasm, and well-being) .
3. You can lay down for meditation, but I don’t recommend it. Through meditation you learn the skill of being alert and relaxed at the same time. Laying down has a different quality to it and you are more likely to fall asleep. However, if you are ill or it is painful to sit-up then lying down is your best option.
What about your hands?
If you are new to meditation then place your hands either palms up or down on your knees or thighs. Palms up is a mudra (gesture) of receptivity and palms down is grounding. If you spend a lot of time serving others then sit with your palms up. If you spend a lot of time in your head then sit with your palms down.
If you have any questions or comments please let me know.
Photo Credit: Daniel Mingook Kim