Hong-Sau lying down?



Since I suffer from backache I can’t sit for long. Can I do the hong-sau meditation lying down? I wont fall asleep.


—anu, india


Dear Anu,

The Hong-Sau technique of meditation can be done anywhere, any time, and in any position. However, meditation is much more effective if it is done, if at all possible, in an up-right sitting position, with a tall spine, and an open chest (heart chakra).

It is not merely a matter of not falling asleep. It is a matter of how energy flows in the body. When you are lying down, your energy (prana) naturally spreads out all over your body; and it becomes much more difficult to send the energy inward and upward toward the spiritual eye.

And when lying down, it is much easier to fall into subconsciousness, even if that doesn’t necessarily mean falling asleep. The mind drifts and wanders and is generally in a very different state than it could be in (superconsciousness).

If injury or any other physical condition makes it difficult for you to sit correctly for meditation, we’d suggest at least starting in the correct posture for at least a few minutes before lying down. You can begin gradually strengthening your back muscles that way.

Also there are many gentle yoga stretches, which, if done regularly, will go a long ways toward helping you become able to sit up for longer periods of meditation.

Be sure you have tried many different sitting positions, using a chair, a meditation bench, many cushions to support your back or legs or knees. There are many options! One may work well for you.

Finally, Yogananda said that eventually we must learn to: “Dump the body!” That is to say, through deep meditation techniques, such as Hong-Sau and Kriya Yoga, we learn to go beyond all bodily discomforts — we simply don’t feel them while meditating. I know this is possible from my many years of meditation, despite some fairly severe back injuries.