meditation poses

Most of the meditation postures traditionally associated with yogis and people practicing yoga, the practice that originated in India.  The two primary benefits of sitting in various lotus positions are the ability to be relaxed but focused and sit still for long periods while keeping the spine straight.

For beginners, the meditation posture should not be forced. They should be comfortable and stable at the base. If you begin to practice at first, you feel cramps in your legs. In a situation like this, you should get up and move around to increase the blood flow to your legs. Once the cramps subsided, return to meditative posture. With time the appropriate muscles will be strengthened and your body will adjust to meditating for longer periods. Someone who hasn’t practiced sitting in these postures, should start with 5 minutes or even less and then build up the routine until they’re comfortable sitting for the longer periods.

Meditation Cushions

When choosing a cross-legged position you can use a cushion. It helps to have a cushion specifically for meditation, a type that is filled with buckwheat or natural material pellets. Cushion give support to a practitioner and also reduce the amount of pressure you put on your legs allowing you to stay longer without moving. The position of the cushion should slightly raise the back of the pelvis tilting the front slightly downwards. This helps the spine to stay straight and erect with the least muscular effort. The height of the cushion will depend on the degree of openness in the pelvis. Additional cushions can be used to give support under the knees if necessary.

Hands Position During Meditation

The most important thing to remember about the position of your hands during meditation is that your shoulders and upper chest should be fully relaxed and open. In sculptures of the Buddha, and other sacred art we see a number of different ‘mudras’ or hand placements. However, when you start meditating, the position of your hands is not critically important. Usually, it’s advised that you place your hands on your knees and do whatever feels natural and easy for you. You can connect your fingers and form a letter “0” or simply put them palms down on your knees.

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For those new to meditation, the practice should not be forced and as easy and accessible as possible. Ideally, meditation should be enjoyable activity, when it is perceived as hard work, uncomfortable, and difficult, many people do not keep it up long enough to experience its many benefits.

When you begin practicing meditation, you should expect to feel some pain during sitting – much as you would if you took up a new sport. You may even try standing behind your cushion for a while until you feel ready to sit again. It is important to accept your body as it is and to be gentle with yourself. Meditation is a life-long practice. In time your body will become comfortable with sitting whatever posture you choose, and you will look forward to “assuming the position”.

VIDEO: How to Do the Lotus Pose

Different meditation poses.

Padmasana – Full Lotus Pose

The full lotus posture is sitting cross-legged with the feet resting sole upwards on the opposite thigh. Keep the body erect with both knees touching the floor. The hands can be placed either with hands or wrists resting on the knees, or the hands placed between the heels, the right hand resting in the left hand. This is an advanced post so if you are uncertain about your ability to perform its posture that don’t try it.

What is meditative posture? Meditation Positions for Beginners 1

The full lotus posture has a specific and practical function. When yogis, or other meditators practiced it could often be for many hours and often outside. In full lotus, the position of the legs creates a very stable base. In this position, even in a deep meditative state, the body will not tip. The stable base allows the spine to remain straight and erect. In addition, full lotus and other similar cross-legged positions facilitate openness in the base chakra, and assist with grounding.

Half Lotus Posture

In half-lotus, only one foot is positioned on top of the opposite thigh. The other foot is positioned underneath the opposite thigh. If you use the full lotus, half lotus posture or any cross-legged posture, it is important that you alternate which leg is on top to maintain an equal balance in the pelvis. You may find that you favor one leg on top indicating there is already more openness in one pelvis over the other.

What is meditative posture? Meditation Positions for Beginners 2

Other variants of half-lotus pose.

The foot on top can rests not on the thigh but on the calf or ankle. Both feet and legs can be on the ground, with one placed next to the body, and the two heels close together. In sanskrit this posture is called swastikasana. The word ‘Swastika’ means prosperous in Sanskrit, and is said to bring prosperity, success, and good health to the practitioner. It is done in the following manner: Stretch the legs in front of you. Bend the right leg at the knee, and place the right heel against the groin of the left thigh so that the sole will be lying in close contact with the thigh. Now bend the left leg and place it against the right groin. Insert the toes of the left foot between the right calf and thigh muscles. Now both feet can be seen to lie between the calves and thigh muscles.

Sukhasana – Easy Pose

(This asana is achieved by simply crossing the legs and keeping the head and spine erect.)

Vajrasana – Diamond or Thunderbolt Pose (This posture is commonly found in Zen Buddhism. Sit on the heels with knees, ankles and big toes touching the ground. Keep the trunk, neck, and head straight. Keep the knees together with the palms of the hands resting on your knees, or with the right hand resting in the left hand upon the lap. This position can be challenging on the knees to do for very long. You can get special meditation stools for this posture.

easy yoga pose

If you have a medical condition where you can’t do any of these poses you can try to meditate in a regular chair with your back straight and your hands on your knees. You can also meditate laying on the floor, but meditating lying down is not ideal since laying down or corpse pose is typically associated with relaxing and can lead to your falling asleep.

By now everyone heard about the amazing physical, mental and spiritual benefits of meditation. Even if you can’t sit in one of these sitting poses you can try walking meditation and breathing meditation sitting in a chair and counting breaths. Try whatever meditation works best for you and build on that. Often practicing even for 5 minutes a day can lead to amazing results.

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