How to Sit for Meditation
May 25, 2019
One of the reasons we find it hard to meditate is because we cannot keep the body still! Learn a few tricks on how we can sit comfortably and dynamically for meditation so that we may forget our bodies and focus our attention in meditation. This video is part of the Kriya Yoga Home Study Course of Ananda India, which teaches Paramhansa Yogananda's meditation and Kriya practice.
In order to meditate deeply, or even as a beginner in meditation, it is very important to understand how to have the right posture. We have to find a way in which we can be comfortable in our meditation yet dynamic to be able to have a straight spine so as to allow the energies to rise upwards. In this video, I'm going to show you a few tips that you can use in order to learn how to have the right posture in your meditation.
Practical Tips for Sitting in a Chair during Meditation
When we sit in a chair, we tend to sit like this. The first thing we have to do is straighten our spine, bring the shoulders back, and open the chest, going with the spine’s natural curvature. Move forward on the chair away from the backrest, and place your palms facing upward at the junction of the thigh and abdomen. This is a sign of receptivity, and it will help you keep your chest and heart open, with your feet flat on the ground and your chin parallel to the floor.
It is important to uplift our gaze when we meditate. A trick you can use is to raise your hand with your thumb up. Bring your thumb at the level of your forehead and keep the chin parallel to the floor. Raise your eyes without crossing them, and look at your thumb. You want to look out into the distance. Then bring your hand back down and close your eyes. Try to keep your gaze uplifted behind closed eyes at all times during your meditation. This will help us to tune in to the superconscious state more easily. It is best to find a chair which has no armrest and the seat is more or less straight. If you ever feel the need for some extra support, you can place a cushion either under your pelvis or under your feet.
Sitting on the Floor during Meditation
If you prefer to sit on the floor, the same principles apply. Usually, if we sit without any support like this, we will start feeling tension and pain in our back and slouching, especially in our lower back. In order to be able to sit still for a long time, you may use cushions as a way to give support to your back.
You do not want to completely sit on the cushion but rather at the edge or the middle of it. This way, the level of your pelvis will be above the level of your knees. You can see here how my knees are very close to the ground. This way, you will be able to sit still for a much longer time.
You will have to try and see which cushion suits you best but make sure to use one that will make a big difference. Yogananda used to say a bent spine is the enemy of Self-realization. We want to make sure our spine is straight, chest open, and place the hands at the junction of the thigh and abdomen.
One problem you may face while sitting on the floor is that the knees can start hurting. Here I will show you a few positions for your feet which may help you to solve this problem.
First, we have the simple cross-legged position or Sukhasana. This is simple, but the knees are a little high. And you may find that the pressure on your thighs may become too much at some point. You can simply sit with one foot on the floor in front of the other like this. This way, both knees are on the floor, and there is no pressure on the thighs.
Another simple yet very stable position is the half lotus posture or the Padmasana. Simply put one foot on top of your thigh. If sitting on the floor like this is uncomfortable for you, you may try another position called Vajasrana. You may follow along adjoining the legs like this. And if you feel any discomfort either in your calves or in your ankles, you could place a cushion between the calves and the thighs. This will help give some relief to your legs.
Using a Meditation Bench in Meditation
Another option that you can use is a meditation bench which we offer. Placing the bench and sitting on the edge of it in this way takes off a lot of pressure from the legs and allows you to sit comfortably for longer periods of meditation.
Paramhansa Yogananda also recommended using a wool and silk asan on the floor to insulate your body from the subtle magnetic currents of the earth. You may use any piece of silk and wool that you have, but essentially you want to make sure that no part of the body is touching the carpet or the floor, not even your cushion.
Here's what the use of the asan looks like. Either with the cushion or with the meditation bench. And I will also show you how to use the asan on a chair. If you are using a chair for your meditation. You want to make sure that asan goes all the way from the top of the chair down to the floor so that your feet are also not touching the carpet.
Final Words for a Successful Meditation Practice
Keep it simple. All you really need is a chair or a small cushion to sit on. Perhaps a small altar if you feel inspired to keep one. You can face east if possible. Have your asan. If you have available your wool and silk blanket, what you need to remember is to keep your spine straight, and your body relaxed. And, of course, raise your gaze up to the point between the eyebrows. This will magnetize your spiritual eye and draw your energy up to that point where you will be able to go deep in your meditation practice.