Actually, THIS Is How To Sit For Meditation Properly Today

Published by Paul Harrison on

When you are just starting to learn how to meditate, one of the first things you’ll need to know is how to sit for meditation.

Proper meditation sitting position can be a real challenge for beginners. After all, when was the last time you actually sat with your legs crossed? If you don’t do yoga, the last time you sat cross legged was probably in school assembly, right?

Most adults rarely sit with their legs crossed. And we inevitably lose that flexibility in our joints as we age. Heck, sometimes my own joints feel like rusty iron in need of some WD40.

Point is: sitting crossed legged to meditate is not an option for a lot of adults.

And most traditional meditation positions include sitting cross-legged. 

Today, there are millions of adults around the world forcing themselves to sit cross-legged, and damaging their joint in the process, simply because they think that is the right way how to sit for meditation. 

Time to change that. 

Here is the truth: the traditional proper meditation postures are not an option for a lot of people. So what do you do instead?

Why You Should Forget About Using Technical Sitting Positions In Meditation

If you force yourself to sit in meditation positions that are uncomfortable for you, you are going to get knee and back pain when meditating.

Forcing your legs into a position they are not comfortable in is unsafe, especially if you have problems with your knees or other joints, or if you have a medical condition such as arthritis. Arthritic knees make it utterly impossible to sit for meditation in lotus position. 

Not only are these positions bad for your body, they are bad for your meditation too.

Forcing yourself into uncomfortable sitting positions when meditating will actually stop you from meditating properly.

When you are uncomfortable, you cannot focus. If you sit in a painful way your mind will simply focus on the pain. It will be impossible for you to meditate.

That is why the right way how to sit for meditation is not in the technical positions generally associated with meditation.

Yes, Buddhist monks sit with their legs cross. And so do yoga teachers. But that is because they are trained to do so. And they find it perfectly comfortable.

If you do not find lotus position or Burmese position comfortable, then it is now the right way how to sit for meditation. 

Let me show you why sitting for meditation in lotus position is a terrible idea

You may be thinking, “Buddhist monks sit in lotus position, and they are the masters of meditation, so if they sit with legs crossed, I should too.”

Fair point. Except that Buddhist monks can sit comfortably with their legs crossed. Most adults in the west cannot. Plus, sitting with your legs crossed for too long can be bad for your health.

To prove this, go ahead and sit with your legs crossed for a few minutes. And try to focus on your breath. If you are not comfortable in this positions, you will find that your mind continually focuses on the discomfort in your legs. This makes it impossible to focus your mind on meditating.

Clearly this is not a good way how to sit for meditation for most people. 

But then, why do Buddhists sit in lotus?

The Reason Buddhists Sit Meditating With Their Legs Crossed

Have you ever wondered precisely why monks meditate with their legs crossed? Why is lotus position considered the best meditation sitting position?

The reason we meditate in lotus position is because it creates a sense of stability. And science proves this. In one scientific study, researchers found that sitting with your legs crossed increases stability in the pelvis. This stability in the pelvis supports the spine and, importantly, it creates a sense of grounding in the mind. When body is stable and still, the mind is more likely to be so. And that is why the best way of sitting for meditation is lotus position.

But: This is only true if you can sit comfortably with your legs crossed. Otherwise, you will not have stability, and instead of helping you, lotus position will harm you and make it harder to focus during meditation.

Instead Of Lotus Position, THIS Is How To Sit For Meditation  

If you cannot sit with your legs crossed and meditate comfortably, what are you supposed to do?

Actually, you have a lot of options. And I suggest you try out a few different sitting positions when meditating. That way you can find the position that is best for you both in terms of comfort and in terms of focusing your mind on meditating.

That said there are a few essentials when it comes to sitting for meditation.

How To Sit For Meditation In 3 Steps

1: Intentionally position yourself with good posture

Do you do yoga or tai chi? If so, you will know the feeling of intentionally adopting a pose.

For instance, when you are in Warrior Position, you are in an energised, intentional, consciously aware position.

There is a level of intent in the way you are holding you body. And that same intent must be there when you are meditating.

It doesn’t matter precisely which position you are in. But when you meditate, sit with intent.

2: Check For Stability

The main reason Buddhist monks sit in lotus position is because it creates a sense of stability in the pelvis and in the spine.

You can get that same level of stability in other positions. Whether you’re in a chair, on a cushion or pillow, you can feel that level of stability when you sit properly.

So ask yourself when you are sitting meditating: Do you feel stability? It should be a kind of grounding stability that creates solidity in your body. 

3: Tune-In To Your Mind

If you have followed steps one and two, you should feel a sense of focus and stability in your mind. You should feel grounded.

This is the final test. And it is the most important point. If you have a good meditation sitting position, you will feel focused in your mind.

If your current sitting position is not meeting those three points above, change your position and the run through these same 3 steps. And that is how to sit for meditation in a way that works for you personally.


If You Cant Sit For Meditation Comfortably, Here’s What To Do Instead

In some instances you will still struggle to sit comfortably for meditation.

If that’s you, the good news is this: There are still ways you can meditate. One of the easiest solutions is to get a high quality meditation chair or a meditation cushion.

Another solution is to do a more active form of meditation.

There are some meditations that are not done sitting. For instance, dynamic meditations like dance-meditation offer a way to meditate while moving. These are perfect when you can’t sit comfortably for long stretches of time.

There are so many different ways how to sit for meditation, and lots of meditations that don’t require you to sit at all. So if you’ve been uncomfortable up to now, simply try something different. Trust me, you will find a meditation technique that works for you.  

Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a meditation teacher, author and journalist based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential. Don’t miss Paul’s inspirational and enlightening book: Your Best Meditation

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