28 May How to Prepare for Meditation
The following is an excerpt from my book “True Happiness: 4 Practices to Promote Inner Peace and Simple Guides to Carry Them Out:”
I recommend doing some sort of physical practice before meditating. Whether it’s a full yoga asana (posture) practice, a tai chi sequence, or a set of simple stretches. It doesn’t have to be long. Just a minute or two is all you need. This will help to loosen the body for the period of time you will be sitting, and bring some focus on the present moment.
The best position to meditate in is in a seated position. Lying down can be beneficial at times, and is the recommended position in practices like yoga nidra, but lying down can cause us to fall asleep when the point of meditation is to cultivate awareness and focus. So sitting is recommended.
You may sit cross legged on the floor, on a cushion, or on a chair.
If sitting on the floor:
Use enough support to keep your knees at or below hip level. A folded blanket, cushion, or foam block, are all useful for this. Feel your sit bones connected to whatever you’re sitting on. This provides a firm foundation, and ensures your pelvis is at the proper angle for the vertebrae of your spine to be naturally stacked, minimizing the amount of muscular effort needed to keep your torso erect. This way minimum effort is needed to sit up straight, and maximum tension can be released into the support of the floor.
If sitting on a chair:
Feet should be hip width apart and flat on the floor.
Knees also should be hip width apart and directly over the ankles.
Sit as near to the edge of the seat as is comfortable, and feel your sit bones firmly planted on the seat. Just like on the floor, this ensures your pelvis is in the right alignment for your spine to naturally stack for minimum muscular effort, and maximum ease as you sit.
Hands should lay on the thighs. The palms can be facing down or up, depending on your intention. Palms up opens the chest more and elevates the awareness. Palms down is more grounding, and can allow the breath to move more into the belly.
Eyes should be closed, or slightly open with a soft, unfocused gaze.
May we all be open and receptive to our highest good,
Cushions are a good way to assist sitting cross-legged on the floor if your hips and legs are not open enough to sit comfortably on just the floor or a folded blanket.