The traditional cross-legged sitting posture is portrayed as the correct one for meditation. This is not true. You can meditate in a chair, standing (yes, standing – more on that later) or even lying down. (lying down is not ideal as it promotes sleep)
Here are 3 main aspects of the posture and why they are important:
- Keep the spine erect and straight – this promotes attentive wakefulness. It’s important to maintain attention.
- Hips slightly higher than the knees – this is the main reason for sitting on a cushion when using the cross-legged posture. Ensuring the knees are lower than the hips reduces pressure on the lower back and prevents the feeling of one’s balance tipping backwards. Sitting in a chair is best done sitting at the outer edge with feet positioned so the knees are lower than the hips.
- Ears in line with the shoulders – this positions the head squarely on top of the body and reduces strain in the upper back and neck. This will be uncomfortable at first, so don’t strain. Just gently draw the head back, let it go if it’s painful, try again, let it go etc. and over time it will settle into this position.