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3 important questions answered: how do I sit properly during meditation?

By 
Mindfulife
|
07/07/2019

Most people prefer to sit when meditating and one of the first difficulties we encounter when meditating is the posture we should adopt.

Often during meditation we are so preoccupied with how we are sitting that we don't really get to meditate. Therefore, it is worth clearing up any ambiguities in advance. That way we have one less distraction.
As far as posture is concerned, a number of questions can arise:

Is it okay to sit on a chair? Am I allowed to meditate lying down? Am I allowed to lean? What do I do with my hands? Do I meditate with my eyes open or closed? Do I have to know how to sit in the lotus position? etc.

There are many types of meditation: walking meditation, qigong, yoga, etc. In this article, however, I would like to limit myself to sitting meditation and go into more detail about posture. Other blogposts have already dealt with topics such as Mindfulness in general, the Effect of meditation or mindful eating busy, so if you are interested in this, feel free to browse a bit!

But now back to sitting meditation.

Remaining motionless is not a must.

Generally speaking, even if you decide on a posture, you don't have to stay in that position come hell or high water. If your leg falls asleep, you can endure it, but you don't have to go through pain. The posture should support the meditation and not distract us additionally. So if you ever need to change position, you can of course do so. Then try to change your position slowly and mindfully, especially if you are meditating together with other people whom you do not want to disturb.

As for the actual posture, it should be comfortable enough for you to be mentally relaxed, but not so comfortable that you become sleepy. Therefore, it is advisable not to meditate lying down, but sitting up. And when sitting, it is accordingly better not to lean.

What should one sit on during meditation?

On the chair

Meditation sitzen

This means that if you are sitting on a chair and meditating, you slide to the front edge of the chair. This makes it easier not to lean. 
It also tilts the pelvis slightly forward, which makes it easier to straighten the spine. The same applies to sitting on the floor: it is advisable to sit on a meditation cushion, a stool, block, etc. and thereby tilt the pelvis slightly and relieve the spine. 
If you decide to sit on a chair, both feet should be parallel and completely on the floor. This will help you sit stably and accordingly make it easier to keep your attention steady.

Or would you prefer to be on the floor?

Meditation sitzen
Meditation sitzen

When you sit on the floor, there are basically two possibilities: Either you sit in a variation of the heel seat or in a cross-legged seat. In the heel seat, the upper legs rest on the lower legs, the knees point forward, the feet back and the shins rest on the floor.

Im kreuzbeinigen Sitz gibt es verschiedenste Variationen (Lotussitz, Schneidersitz etc.). Hier gibt es kein Richtig oder Falsch. Hauptsache Ihr Sitz ist stabil und unterstützt die geistige Entspannung und Konzentration. Es bietet sich eventuell an, auch die Knie durch Kissen/Decken zu unterstützen, um so die Knie zu schützen. 
In beiden Variationen (Fersensitz oder kreuzbeiniger Sitz) können Sie ihr Becken durch Kissen, Decke, etc. erhöhen. Hier können Sie die Höhe variieren und so über die Zeit Ihre persönlich optimale Sitzhöhe herausfinden.

Many meditation cushions therefore have the option of removing material to adapt the cushion to your own needs. to adapt the cushion to one's own needs.

Where to put the hands?

Now that your seat is stable and as comfortable as possible and your spine is relieved and upright, the next question is about the hands. In various spiritual traditions, so-called mudras (hand postures) are used to pursue certain goals in meditation (e.g. strengthening concentration, increasing energy, etc.).

One of the most famous is the mudra, where the thumb and index finger touch and the other three fingers are extended. This is a science in itself and if you are interested, you are welcome to delve deeper into the matter, but in this article we would like to reduce ourselves to the mere laying down of the hands.

Again, you can try out what feels good for you at the moment. Either place your hands in your lap or on your knees (palms either up or down).

The head is in the extension of the spine and slightly lowered. The mouth is neither completely open nor completely closed, the jaw muscles are loose. We try to keep the face relaxed - eyebrows and forehead are relaxed. 

Closed eyes during meditation

The last point I would like to mention is the eyes. Here, too, there are two possibilities: the eyes are either closed or slightly open. Both have their good reasons. Beginners in particular are easily distracted and therefore like to meditate with their eyes closed. This not only reduces distraction, but also "sharpens" the other senses. For example, it is easier to perceive the breath, which is often used as an object of meditation.

Insbesondere mit etwas mehr Übung empfiehlt es sich, mit leicht geöffneten Augen zu meditieren. Dadurch ziehen wir keine Grenze zwischen Meditation und „echtem Leben“. So fällt es auf Dauer leichter, die Vorteile der Meditation in den Alltag „mitzunehmen“ und auch während des Tages eine achtsamere Haltung einzunehmen.
Wenn Sie sich dafür entscheiden, mit leicht geöffneten Augen zu meditieren, ist Ihr Blick leicht gesenkt. Die Augen fokussieren nichts, sondern blicken in den leeren Raum. Hier ist es wichtig, dass der Blick entspannt ist. Es ist also auch kein Problem, wenn die Augen doch einmal den Boden vor uns fokussieren. Die Aufmerksamkeit sollte aber nicht beim Blick sein, sondern weiterhin beim Objekt der Meditation, oft dem Atem.

Unspecific but true - doing wrong is not possible

As already mentioned, there is no right or wrong in posture during meditation. Try out what suits you best. Often it depends on the day - what suits you one day may not be the right position for you another day. The most important thing is that your position supports you in being relaxed and concentrated. This is exactly the criterion you should use when sitting for meditation, so that you don't have to worry so much about posture and can meditate more easily.

Interested?

If you still find it difficult to find the right position on your own and would like a little help, Have a look at our Online Studio or see a guided meditation by Mindfulife If you are already doing well, you are also very welcome - we also have meditation for advanced students.

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