The first thing to learn in meditation is how to sit effectively.
There are two important principles that you need to bear in mind in setting up a suitable posture for meditation.
- your posture has to allow you to relax and to be comfortable.
- your posture has to allow you to remain alert and aware.
Both of these are vitally important. If you’re uncomfortable you’ll not be able to meditate because of discomfort. If you can’t relax then you won’t be able to enjoy the meditation practice and, just as importantly, you won’t be able to let go of the underlying emotional conflicts that cause your physical tension.
From reading that, you might well think that it would be best to meditate lying down. Bad idea! If you’re lying down your mind will be foggy at best, and you may well even fall asleep. If you’ve ever been to a yoga class that ends with shavasana (the corpse pose), where people lie on the floor and relax, you’ll have noticed that about a third of the class is snoring within five minutes.
Forget about meditating lying down (with one exception which I explain below). The best way to effectively combine relaxation AND awareness is a sitting posture. You don’t have to sit cross-legged, or even sit on the floor.
We’ll show you how to set up an effective posture in three positions: sitting in a chair, sitting astride a cushion or on a stool, and sitting cross-legged. All of these work: the important thing is to find one in which you will be comfortable.
Remember: you may think it looks really cool to sit cross-legged, but if you don’t have the flexibility it takes to do that then you’ll simply suffer! Make it easy on yourself. Choose a posture that is right for you.