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The Best Meditation Positions: Kneeling, Sitting & Standing

What are the best meditation positions? How can we avoid the common errors in posture? And how do we guarantee we’re in the correct position every time we meditate?

Many people don’t know how to sit properly in meditation. They resort to positions they’ve seen on social media or the archetypal legs-crossed meditation posture, complete with a mudra.

There are many positions you can use, and I want you to find the best meditation positions for you. Apply the principles in this article and you’ll be well on your way to great posture.

Let’s begin by asking why it’s important to pay attention to posture in meditation. Can’t we just sit in any old position?

The Importance of Posture in Meditation

Most of the meditation photos on social media involve unexperienced meditators sitting in horrific positions. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t sit in the full lotus for four hours. I can barely even sit on the floor with my legs crossed. But that’s because I’m an inflexible 6’1 male who wants to hold postures for 45+ minutes and knows his limits.

Sitting in a good posture isn’t only important for preventing injuries, but means you can sit in meditation for much longer. Meditation is challenging enough without needless pain calling our attention every two minutes.

Besides, a good posture encourages alertness and non-resistance, which are two crucial ingredients of effective meditation.

Luckily, it’s not too difficult to get it right.

Get inspired for meditation with my video on the power of long-term practice.

The Best Meditation Positions: Sitting

Let’s look at some classic sitting positions for meditation.

Once you’ve found your favourite position, follow my three tips for perfect posture.

Remember: You Need to Sustain Your Positions

This is the foundation of all the advice to come. If you can’t sustain the posture for at least twenty minutes with minimal adjustments, it’s not right for you. The only caveat is if you’re experienced enough to work with pain effectively, or you want to train yourself to sit in a certain posture. Otherwise, comfort is the priority. So if your body hurts after five minutes, find a less demanding one.

On a Chair

A common option for beginner meditators is to sit in a chair. But this comes in handy for all practitioners: chairs are much easier to come by than stools and mats. You can even replicate this posture on a sofa.

When you sit in this posture, go for a straight-backed chair. Your back can touch the chair but your weight shouldn’t go on it. Let your buttocks support your weight instead. This is a gentle posture but your buttocks may get numb after a while.

Here’s the chair position demonstrated impeccably:

The Best Meditation Position for Me: On a Seiza Stool

My posture of choice is to kneel on the floor with a seiza stool. This is good for inflexible people, like me.

The key to sitting on a seiza is to sit upright towards the front of the stool and have your weight forwards, on your buttocks and knees.

I find my back regularly slumps when in this position, so I do a posture check every five or ten minutes. Here I am demonstrating the kneeling seiza posture:

Best Meditation Positions: Easy Pose (On the Floor, Legs Crossed)

This is the position I often see done terribly on social media. Here’s one such example:

Sure, it’s Instaworthy, but it’s a horrible position. We’re looking for ease. We want gravity to take over. This woman’s posture strains the ankles and will soon be unbearable, yet this is how many people do easy pose. Unless you can comfortably rest your legs on the floor while sitting cross-legged, avoid this position.

For a good easy pose, make sure your feet come over to other side of body and your knees remain below your hips. If your knees don’t naturally touch the floor, support them so you can relax them. Use cushions or blocks if necessary. A floor mat also helps with comfort.

Best Meditation Positions: Lotus and Half-lotus

If you’re flexible, try the half-lotus or full-lotus positions. These are the classic meditation positions and once you’re used to them, they allow you to sit stably for hours.

These can be hard on the knees, so please make sure you’re comfortable. If it gets ultra painful, move to a gentler posture.

It might help to use a cushion so your bum doesn’t go numb and a mat underneath your legs to soften the contact. Here are the half and full lotus demonstrated:

PS, there’s no need to have your hands in a mudra.

Best Meditation Positions: Lying Down

You can also meditate lying down, and I occasionally resort to this if my body is exhausted. The snag is that many people get sleepy when they lie down with their eyes closed.

To combat sleepiness, lie on a firm floor, on top of a yoga mat if necessary. Support your head using a firm pillow or yoga block, and stretch your legs out flat. Run the three-step posture process above before you begin. You can even keep your eyes open or half-open if you feel sleepy.

Posture for Standing Up Meditation

Another option is to stand up. If you do, have your hands by your side and make sure your feet are about a shoulder width apart so you can remain balanced. Then run the three-step posture process. If you sway a lot, put one foot slightly in front of the other.

Final Points for Your Meditation

Remember what I said: good posture serves to give you poise and awareness during meditation. It’s not about looking good, forcing yourself into fancy postures, or copying others. Do what works best for you.

Once you’ve found your favourite position, follow my three tips for perfect posture.

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