“The postures of meditation should embody steadiness and ease.”
Translation of the Yoga Sūtra, Verse 2.46 by Chip Hartranft
Benefits of a good posture
A good meditation posture helps to promote steadiness and ease in both your body and your mind. First, sitting in a position that keeps your body in proper alignment will help prevent injury, especially your lower back. The goal is to try to keep your spine elongated during your entire sit. This isn’t as easy as it sounds and isn’t accessible for every BODY.
Second, a comfortable position helps quiet your mind. A solid seated posture grounds you which is a calming experience. Plus, your mind is not distracted by pain in your lower back, or a leg falling asleep, or you fall asleep.
Ways to sit
There are many ways to set yourself up for a successful meditation sit. Again, everyone’s bodies are different, and it may take a few tries to figure out what works for you. Bottom line if it’s uncomfortable, make a change. Here are a few options you can experiment with the next time you sit down to meditate:
Cross legged – Also called Easy Pose, this posture can be done with or without props. If you are not using any props, simply sit on your mat with your legs crossed. Tilt your pelvis slightly forward to lengthen your spine, neck is long, and the crown of your head is reaching for the sky. Rest your hands comfortably on your knees.
This position is difficult for me as my legs fall asleep very easily. So, I use props when I sit in Easy Pose. Not only does it help to prevent my legs from falling asleep, it also makes it a bit more accessible to tilt my pelvis forward. I prefer sitting on 2 blankets because they are softer than blocks, but you can also use bolsters or blocks to sit on.
Kneeling – If sitting in Easy Pose is not so easy for you, try kneeling. This can also be done with or without props. I would recommend laying a blanket down on your mat to provide extra padding for your knees. If kneeling puts too much pressure on your feet, knees or ankles, place a blanket between your legs and sit on it. Alternatively, you can place one or two blocks in between your ankles and then sit on the blocks. Once you find a comfortable position, ensure that your pelvis is tilted forward and your spine is long. Your hands will rest on your thighs.
Sitting in a chair
This is my preferred way to meditate and how I do it at home every day. Mainly because it’s more comfortable for my body and it’s faster to set up as I don’t have to mess with any props. To do this pose, grab a chair and sit on the edge of it so that you can tilt your pelvis forward. Root both feet into the floor, barefooted if possible, to enhance a connection to the earth promoting a grounding experience. Your thighs are parallel to the ground and your knees are pointing straight out in front of you. Your hands rest on your thighs.
For more accessible ways to sit I refer you to a great article by Yoga International: