They call meditation a ‘practice’. A practice is "something one does repeatedly to gain mastery". A basketball player will practice proper shooting form. A competitive swimmer must practice proper stroke technique to improve their swim times. Before a professional dancer can perform a "mistake free routine" he/she must practice. The same goes for you if you want to improve your meditation and get more out of it. One of the first principles to "practice" during meditating is the principle of proper sitting position. It is key to elevating your meditation and setting you up for successful meditation.
Everyone has different desires or benefits they want to obtain through meditation. For some it's to reduce stress and anxiety, others to help with sleep, and yet others to feel more connected. No matter what your meditation goals are it all starts with your sitting position. Achieving the proper sitting position will increase the effectiveness of your meditation. A good sitting position will aid your mind, energy, breath, and body in aligning focus. This focus will lead towards a more effective meditation sit.
Proper Sitting Position
So, what is the proper sitting position for meditation? Simply put, you want to hold an upright yet relaxed posture. You want to hold an intentional posture that awakens your mind, opens your lungs, and relaxes your muscles. This will allow your mind to stay alert and mindful. It will also help you maintain the proper breath to move energy through your body.
Mental Checklist for Proper Sitting
The following is a checklist of key body parts to think about to help you obtain the best meditation position. Before you start your next meditation, run through this mental checklist. This checklist will help to place your body in the proper sitting position.
- Knees: Your knees should be bent at 90-degree angles or slightly lower than your hips. This angle will decrease the stress sitting can place on your lower back. Your feet should be grounded underneath your knees on the floor about shoulder width apart. If this is difficult to achieve then meditation supports or cushions might be great for you.
- Hips: Use an anterior pelvic tilt when sitting. To demonstrate what an anterior pelvic tilt is imagine your pelvis is a bowl filled with water. If you tilt the front of your bowl down water will spill over the front. That is the position you want your pelvis to be in. Having your pelvis tilted forward will take strain off your lower back by supporting the natural curve of your spine.
- Spine: Imagine a string pulling you straight up from the crown of your head like a puppet. Then take a breath and settle into that upright posture. You want your spine to be straight but relaxed. If you are holding your posture too tightly it can make it hard to breath. A rigid spine can prevent you from really diving into your meditation. If you are using a chair, make sure your chair provides good lower back support. If your chair is too straight, then put a small pillow behind you. This will help you maintain the slight curve of your lower back.
- Chin and Jaw: Slightly tuck your chin to elongate the back of your neck and keep your spine tall. Oftentimes people hold stress in their jaw without realizing it. So be mindful to not clench your jaw. Relax your jaw by slightly opening your mouth.
- Shoulders: Bring your shoulders up to your ears. Then roll them back and down away from your ears. Your heart and lungs are open for optimal breath-work when your shoulders are in position.
- Hands: Place your hands in your lap or on the armrests of your chair. Let your fingers be relaxed with your palms open channeling energy into your surroundings. You can also have palms down channeling energy back through your body.
Benefits of Proper Sitting Position
This meditation sitting posture should not be difficult to maintain. Although it may feel a bit foreign at first. That is because gravity has a way of forcing people into slouching seated positions. With practice using the above mental checklist achieving proper sitting position while meditating will become second nature. This proper sitting position will keep you alert as every part of your body is being intentional in its positioning. It will help you avoid new pains and combat old pain related to poor posture. It will increase your ability to breath and use your lungs to their fullest capability. It will keep your mind sharp and focused. Rather than slouching into a random train of thought your body will support your mind in staying in the moment. Elevate your meditation by practicing and mastering this proper sitting position.
Properly sitting during meditation is the first step of having a great practice. If you find it difficult to sit properly (or simply lose focus because of the strain it puts on your body) we invite you to visit our shop and purchase a SIT3 or Ungloo Box which is one of the best meditation chairs with back support on the market. These products are specifically designed to give you the support you need to enjoy a great meditation practice.