There are many different bodily positions to be in when meditating. The main three consist of sitting, lying, and walking. Among these three, it’s really personal preference for what method works for you best. However, there are different benefits to all three.
Sitting meditation is the most traditional form. The most common meditation technique whilst sitting is following your breath. To begin, find a peaceful place to sit. Put your legs in whatever position feels most comfortable to you as well as place your hands comfortably too. Maybe under a tree or on your balcony. Sitting promotes wakefulness as opposed to lying meditation.
You should not try to control your breathing. Let it flow naturally and relaxed, eventually slowing down and becoming deeper. You can either breath through your mouth, your nose, or a combination of both. If you breath solely through your nose you can feel the air going in and out. While following your breath, feel the cold air come in as you inhale, and the warm air leaves as you exhale. If a thought arises, simply visualize a feather being placed on your thought while noting it as thinking or feeling, then let it fade.
Lying meditation is just that. Lying on your back usually with a low pillow beneath your head. If you are using lying meditation to help you fall asleep you can count backwards from 100 while focusing on one point with your eyes closed. Focusing on your nose while your eyes are closed is still great if all you’re trying to accomplish is deep relaxation.
If you’ve had an extremely stressful day as work, or something big came up in life, this technique works well. It’s great because you can go into a state of trance easier than sitting or walking. If timed and practiced correctly, you can do lying meditation without falling asleep. A technique to help your body to relax fully before starting is to go from toe to head tensing each body part for 5 seconds then releasing. This really helps your muscles relax.
Lastly, walking meditation is probably the best way to practice being present and aware of your surroundings. Parks or walkways are the best places to practice this. However, you can walk slowly in circles around your living room if it’s big enough.
By walking, you try to have a soft focus while not paying attention to one particular object but seeing all of your surroundings as one. This will also help you be mindful throughout the day as most of us do a decent amount of walking, even if it’s up and down stairs, out of the car and walking through your workplace.
Walking meditation will really help you appreciate life for what it is. You’ll find you notice the little things more often like birds chirping and flowers blooming. Remember, it’s okay to stop for a bit and appreciate these things before you get back to your walking meditation.
So, between the three, sitting meditation is great for general benefits. Lying meditation promotes deep relaxation and even sleep. Lastly, walking meditation is best used for being more mindful, aware of your surroundings and living in the present moment.
Written by Zach Scott and Karen M. Bell