by Heather Feather
Do you ever sit down for meditation and wonder if you are doing it right? There are a variety of ways to sit for meditation, but the most important thing is that you are comfortable. The entire body should be relaxed. This way there is less of a likelihood that something will get in the way of quieting your mind.
It is ok for the mind to wander. That is completely normal, but you don’t want throbbing knee pain to distract you while you sit. If anything in your body hurts while you sit please make an adjustment. For example, if you are sitting cross-legged and your knee starts hurting simply extend that leg out.
There are a variety of options for seated meditation. You can sit in a chair, cross-legged on a cushion or directly on the floor. However you sit, you want to be sure your knees are at the same height as or below the hips. If your hips are flexible it may be easy for you to sit directly on the floor in a cross-legged position. If the hips are tight and you sit directly on the floor you will likely notice your knees are above your hips. To correct this, simply sit up on a cushion or blanket to raise your hips above the knees.
There is no shame in sitting up on something and your body will be more relaxed this way.
Perhaps sitting in a chair is best for you. If you choose this meditation position be sure to sit at the edge of the chair with your feet firmly planted on the ground and align them with your hips and knees.
Full lotus, an advanced form of seated meditation, is said to be the best form of meditation because the meditator is closest to the ground this way and it is the most balanced and symmetrical position. This is for very experienced practitioners with a high level of flexibility and no injuries. In full lotus, the meditator sits directly on the floor and the feet rest on the opposite thighs, with the soles pointing upwards. If there is any pain, do not sit like this.
Although full lotus is said to be the most powerful form of meditation it does not mean you ever have to do this. Pick a simple seated position that is comfortable for you and you will reap the many benefits of meditation regardless of how you are sitting.
Once you choose the form of seated meditation you want to do (and this may change from day to day) scan your body and relax. As much as you can release any tension you notice coming up in the body.
Ground your sit bones down and lengthen up through your spine. If you bring any tension into your spine as you lengthen, let it go and relax all the muscles around the spine. Rest the hands in the lap, relax all the muscles of the face, slightly open the mouth and either rest your gaze on something like a candle flame or gently close the eyes. Relax the shoulder blades down back and tuck your chin in like you have a tennis ball between the chin and the chest. Breathe deeply and listen to the sounds around you.
Do not force your body to bend and fold into a meditation position that is not comfortable. You will have the best experience if your body is fully relaxed and open. It is normal to notice little discomforts and you can adjust accordingly. If you decide to switch positions in the middle of your meditation that is just fine.
To learn more, we suggest asking a trained yoga and/or meditation teacher. The teacher will be able to guide you as you grow in your meditation practice. You can consult any of the teachers at Mint Yoga Studio who will get you on your way to meditation bliss!