How to sit properly for meditation

Question

As i have learnt about meditation technique where in one has to sit keeping back streight on ground in "padmasan" or "sukhasan" for better flow energy through spine etc i can practice it for sometime but longer i am more comfortable sitting in a chair giving support to my back but yet fully engrossed in meditation watching my breath gazing upward at "kuthasthachaitnaya" and more or less fall to sleep but yet consicious of everything more calmer so i am confused is it right technique to do?

—Bhushan Patel, India

Answer

Dear Friend, it is perfectly acceptable to meditate in a chair instead of cross legged on the floor. Regardless of position, the most important thing is a straight (but relaxed) and natural spine. Sit away from the back of the chair so nothing intrudes upon your ability to sit upright and become sensitively aware of inner, subtle spinal energies.

As to the issue of falling sleep, this is not uncommon, after all the body and subconscious have been well trained to fall asleep when we close our eyes and don’t move around. Add to that fatigue, stress, and the general need we have to relax……

Therefore, some stretches and physical movements will help train the body and mind to BOTH relax and yet be alert. Hatha Yoga can be excellent. So also the system of energizing movements which Paramhansa Yogananda taught and which are known as the Energization Exercises.

If, while sitting, you feel sleepiness coming upon you, try squeezing and relaxing your eyes (eyelids) several times in a row; or tensing and relaxing the body in synchronization with inhalation and exhalation. If necessary stand up, open your eyes and stretch, doing some deep breathing exercises.

It would be good to learn meditation from an experienced teacher or a good quality home study course or online course such as offered through the Ananda Course in Self-Realization.

Blessings,

Nayaswami Hriman