What is the best posture for meditation? That is the question.
It's common for most of us to associate the idea or act of meditating with having to sit on the ground with our legs perfectly crossed, our back super straight and hands resting palms-up on our knees. But in reality, that can be extremely uncomfortable after the first few minutes (or maybe even seconds) because we don't typically or naturally sit that way throughout our day when we're in our cars, at our desks at work, out to lunch or dinner, etc.
Light walked us through three common body positions that helped us find the one that was most comfortable for us as an individual.
- Seated with legs crossed.
- In this position, you're on the floor (or cushion if need be) sitting up tall with your legs crossed and back straightened as much as possible. If crossing the legs is too much, crossing the ankles is totally acceptable.
- Variation of seated.
- Light challenged us to sit in the first position as described for two minutes. After those two minutes were up, while we were still seated on the floor, we were allowed to make any adjustments in order to sit in any other way that felt more comfortable for us to be in, without having to lean against anything. I personally chose to tuck my leg under me and sit on my heels with my hands resting gently in my lap. This helped with keeping my back and neck straight and aligned with ease. Within this new position, we meditated again for two minutes.
- Seated with back support.
- In this last posture, we were instructed to get up off of the floor and go sit in a chair or on the couch - anywhere that we could lean our back against and sit in the same way we normally would if we were watching our favorite TV show. Here, our legs could be crossed, straight, resting on a coffee table or ottoman -- whatever is most comfortable. And again, we meditated for two minutes. This was the most challenging posture for me because I felt like it was too easy for me to sink down and get too comfortable. Falling asleep during my meditation practice doesn't help my practice grow stronger!
Overall, this was a great exercise in understanding what works best in terms of preferred posture during meditation. For next time, we have to do a four-minute meditation in a seated position of our choice from what we learned today. Something to keep in mind from Light:
"It doesn't matter what these postures look like on the outside; what matters most with meditation is how it feels on the inside and if it feels comfortable and relaxing on the inside, then it's going to be a lot easier for your mind to relax. However, if it feels uncomfortable and distracting on the inside, then your mind is going to be more distracted during the meditation."