Find the right meditation posture for you
Your current meditation sitting position hurts? Try changing your meditation posture. In this article we have compiled the best asanas for meditation so that you can say goodbye to back or knee pain.
It is not a superstition that meditation will help you to live more optimistically, to be more grateful and to strengthen your relationships with others. The numerous benefits of meditation have been scientifically proven. Among other things, meditation helps you to:
- lower your blood pressure
- keep your cholesterol level low
- increase your concentration
- improve your sleep
- lower your stress levels permanently.
Prepare for your meditation properly
Before you start meditation, you should first warm up your joints. Sit down on the floor and bend your legs. Sit cross-legged and touch the sole of your left foot to the sole of your right foot. Then, try to press your knees lightly onto the floor. Keep your back as straight as possible. Hold this position for about 2 minutes.
Meditation postures and techniques
No matter which meditation technique you choose, your mindful posture always plays a central role. Thanks to it, your breathing will be able to flow in and out of your body more freely. Your goal should be to find a posture in which you can stay for a long time without feeling any pain. Your focus should be entirely on your mind.
Full lotus pose
The lotus position is probably the ultimate meditation pose. However, this pose is also one of the more difficult ones to learn. The full lotus pose is a classical Buddhist meditation posture and stands for purity and perfection. In this pose you open your hips, stretch your knees and automatically maintain a healthy posture.
To sit in the lotus position, place your legs on the ground and straighten your spine. With your knees bent, place each foot on the opposite thigh.
Half lotus meditation posture
On the way to the full lotus, it may help to begin with the half-lotus posture. For this meditation posture, you also sit on the floor and straighten your back. Now bend your right leg and place your foot on the inside of your left thigh. Repeat the same with your left leg. Your knees should remain as close to the floor as possible.
Now place your hands on your knees and make sure your back, neck and head are in an upright position. Straighten up as much as possible and change the position of your feet as often as it feels comfortable.
Meditation posture: Burmese style
The Burmese posture is perfect for beginners who do not yet have the flexibility to sit in the full lotus. In the Burmese posture, you sit on the floor and bring your right and left foot to your body. Your legs do not have to cross each other. If you want to relieve your back pain, you can push a cushion under your buttocks.
Kneeling meditation posture
Kneeling meditation is certainly not for people with knee problems. Instead, it helps you to keep your back straight. Just bend your knees and sit on your feet. Make sure the ground is soft and put a pad between your feet and buttocks to take the weight off your lower legs.
Meditating on a chair is one of the easiest meditation positions for poor knees, which also prevents slouching during meditation. When you meditate on a chair, there are a few things you should be aware of. A good position to meditate on a chair is the Pharaoh position:
Sit up straight without leaning your back. The upper and lower legs should be at right angles to each other. Your knees should not touch each other in this position and your feet should point slightly outwards.
In this position you can either lay your hands on your lap, one above the other, or on your knees. Let your thumb and index finger touch lightly. There are other hand positions, but this one has proven to be very effective in this position.
The basic rule is: Make yourself as comfortable as possible. Try different chairs and if necessary use a cushion to help you relax during your meditation.
Standing meditation posture
Meditation while standing is certainly not for everyone. However, for the sake of completeness, we will introduce it to you briefly at this point.
For standing meditation (also called tree meditation) you should choose a quiet place outdoors and follow these steps:
- Stand up straight, place your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart and take a few deep breaths. Perceive your surroundings.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Imagine your body becoming a tree. Your feet turn into roots and connect to the earth, your body is the trunk, your arms are the branches moving in the wind.
- Imagine how your roots sink deeper into the earth with each breath. Perceive the scent around you. Can you smell the earth?
- Feel the warmth flowing from the earth through your roots into your body. At the same time feel the sun entering your body through your skin.
- Feel the energy flowing through your body and imagine how new, strong branches grow from your trunk and how new, juicy leaves sprout.
- Towards the end of the meditation you should feel like a big, mighty tree in front of your inner eye. Do not stop directing the energy into all parts of the tree.
- At the end of the meditation, with each breath you pull the branches, twigs and leaves back into your body and gradually transform into a human being again.
- Release the connection of your roots with the earth. Slowly open your eyes and wiggle your feet. Now take a few seconds to experience the sensation after the meditation and enjoy this moment a little before you continue your daily routine.
Meditation positions while lying down
Lying down is an effortless meditation posture that can help with back pain issues. In addition, some breathing exercises work particularly well when lying down. For example, targeted abdominal breathing is very easy in a lying position. However, lying meditation also has its disadvantages, i.e. when meditators relax so much that they fall asleep in this position. To prevent this, you can follow these tips:
- Meditate during the day: If you meditate shortly before going to bed, you should not be surprised that your mind automatically goes into a resting mode and takes you to dreamland.It is best to choose a time when the sun is still shining outside.
- Bend your legs: This position not only prevents you from falling asleep while meditating, it also relieves your lower back.
- Meditate with the window open: Bad air makes you sleepy. The room in which you meditate should at least be well ventilated. If the outside noise is too loud, close the window shortly before you start.
- Be well rested: If you are permanently tired and exhausted, you should not be surprised that your body uses meditation to catch up on its deserved sleep. 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night is the recommended amount of sleep.
- Use a different posture: If you still tend to fall asleep, meditating while lying down may simply not be for you. Fortunately, there are many other positions to choose from.
Mudras: Meditation positions for your hands
Many people who are just starting to meditate do not know what to do with their hands. In this section we will introduce two positions for your hands – called mudras.
- In the first mudra, the thumb and index finger of both hands touch each other. The remaining fingers are spread apart loosely. Now lay your hands on your knees with the back of your hand facing down. Alternatively, you can let your fingers point down and place your hand on your knees with the back of your hand pointing upwards.
- The second mudra is best suited for positions on a chair or when sitting on your feet. Place your hands in your lap and interlock them so that the back of your left hand is in the palm of your right hand (or vice versa). Your thumbs should touch each other.
Seven-point meditation posture
To check whether your meditation posture is correct, you can use the following seven points as orientation.
Sit in the full or half-lotus position. Alternatively, you can simply sit with your legs crossed and your feet under the opposite thigh. If you feel back pain, take a pillow to help you or meditate on a chair. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable during meditation.
You should keep your back relaxed and upright while meditating. The position of your legs determines how easy it is to keep your back straight. Basically, the higher the cushion and the lower your knees, the easier it is. Experiment a little to find the best meditation pose for you.
Arms and hands
Place your hands loosely in your lap. Let your right hand rest in the palm of your left hand. Your hands should be about 5 to 7 centimetres below your navel. Relax your shoulders and leave some space between your arms and your body to allow the air to circulate.
Tilt your head slightly forward and look at the floor. Make sure that your gaze does not sink any further during meditation, as this can cause you to get tired.
Relax your jaw muscles and leave a small gap between your teeth. Your lips should be closed and touch each other slightly.
To slow down your saliva flow during meditation, let your tongue touch your upper palate loosely. The tip of your tongue should reach the upper front teeth.
Especially for beginners it is often easier to close your eyes while meditating in order to fully focus on your sensations. A disadvantage of closed eyes, however, is that you get tired and are tempted to have daydreams. Over time, you should learn to meditate with your eyes slightly open. Look down and let some light fall into your eyes without focussing on anything in particular.
If you are sitting on a firm cushion, your buttocks will be slightly higher than your knees. This can help you keep your spine straight while meditating. People who meditate with cushions are also less likely to complain about limbs falling asleep. One alternative to pillows is to use meditation benches. This way you do not have to sit directly on the floor.
Learn to meditate for relaxation
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