What posture should I use to meditate?
There is no right or wrong posture for meditation
Most meditation postures originate from yoga poses. Some yoga schools teach that the whole purpose of physical yoga poses (asana) is to prepare your body for meditation. This is a rather purist approach, really you can meditate in any body position that is comfortable.
What you may find is that different poses have different effects. This process of finding out how arranging your body influences what you experience, is part of the discovery and experimentation of any meditation practice.
In the afternoon, I like to meditate on my back in bed, feet together, and arms very close by my sides with my hands tucked under my thighs. I much prefer this to the traditional yoga savasana (corpse) pose, where the hands are out to the side and the feet shoulder length apart. This pose initially feels weird, but I get very deep meditations right on the border of sleep that are very refreshing yet without the drowsiness of taking an actual nap.
In the evening, I meditate between 8–9 pm in my favorite IKEA ‘Tirup’ chair in a traditional half lotus. Hands on knees, no specific mudra (hand and finger pose). This gives me a more focused, creative meditation (alpha state), so I can spend a couple more hours afterwards working productively on creative ideas that come up during the meditation.
I also meditate just lying on a couch, and that works best for memory type meditations or future visualizations. I also do a walking meditation that I invented when I am out alone in nature. It results in sharper perception of sound, vision and space, so you enjoy nature even more.
My advice is: treat meditation is an ongoing process of experimentation and life enrichment, not a chore where there is a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to do it.
Rather, find many different ways to meditate and observe carefully which works for you, why it seems to cause the results it does, and what shifts in consciousness each type and posture causes. For instance, is it relaxing, does it trigger emotions, is it calming, does it enhance physical senses? This is subtle, careful observation work of both your senses and your non-physical states of consciousness. The self-observation is very much a part of the practice of meditation.
About the Author
Peter Hill loves to take time to think and feel deeply. Over thirty years, he has studied dozens of meditation, self-development and spiritual techniques. Guided by neuroscience rather than mysticism, his mission is to teach people to live better lives by using their brains more effectively.