There’s no one right way to sit for meditation. Everybody is different and what each body needs is unique.
The general idea is to find a posture that embodies a sense of stability and ease as well as alertness. Supporting the natural curvature of the spine also allows for the free movement of the diaphragm, which influences the vagus nerve and helps us tap into the relaxation response. And that makes getting into a meditative rhythm a whole lot easier!
That said, your meditation seat doesn’t need to look a certain way, so feel free to experiment and find a way of sitting that works for you and your body. Word to the wise: give yourself plenty of props! Meditation is not a punishment, so take the time to make your seat as pleasant as possible.
Pull Up A Chair
A chair is a perfect perch for meditation and one that is generally more accessible to more bodies. Position your sit bones toward the front edge of the seat and plant your feet flat on the floor. (You can use books or yoga blocks if your feet don’t touch the ground.) A pillow or two placed behind the lower back can help keep you from slumping or leaning back.
Cross-legged On The Floor
Sitting cross-legged on the floor with your sit-bones propped on the edge of a folded blanket or firm cushion is a classic option. This allows the hips to be a little higher than the knees. For most folks, this supports a natural curve in the lower back and creates plenty of space for the breath to move freely (e.g. keeps the ribs and chest from collapsing and also allows space for that diaphragm to do its thing!) Hot tip: you don’t want your whole booty on the cushion! Scootch forward so you’re on the edge.
Another floor-based option that can work well is kneeling with the hips on a yoga block or a bolster. Have the block or bolster running front to back so you are sitting on the shorter front edge. You can adjust the height of the bolster or block to accommodate your height. (If you’re taller, you’ll generally need a higher stack.) Consider laying a blanket beneath the whole setup to cushion those knees!
Prop The Body To Rest The Mind
Whichever seat you choose, a word to the wise: give yourself plenty of props! Meditation is not a punishment, so take the time to make your seat as pleasant as possible. Use blankets, cushions, blocks and bolsters galore to make your body comfy so your mind can rest easy.
For more insights, tips and meditation tools, check out my book and the Heavily Meditated App!