To get the most from your meditation, it is important to use the correct posture and positioning. Good posture is important because it allows for better energy flow and circulation in the body. When your posture is completely upright with your back straight, your lungs are more open and able to take those all-important breaths that are crucial for getting into a proper meditation mindset. So make sure that you keep your shoulders rolled back, your chin up, and your pelvis slightly tilted forward. If you are sitting on a cushion, try having the front of the cushion tilt a bit more forward than the back does—this will help you sit with appropriate meditation posture.
The traditional meditation pose or posture that you commonly see is called Vairochana’s posture. There are 7 features to this important pose:
- Your legs should be crossed in front of you. How-To-Meditate.org says, “This helps to reduce thoughts and feelings of desirous attachment.”
- There are two different positions for your hands:
- Hands on legs: Let your arms drop to your side and place your hands where they fall when placing them on your legs from this position. The palms can face down or up depending on the type of energy you desire. Palms-up is a welcoming posture. Palms-down is a more closed, inward position.
- Hands folded: Alternately, place your right hand in your left with your palms facing upwards. The tips of your thumbs should barely be touching and slightly raised. Allow your hands to rest about 4 fingers below your belly button on your stomach. How-To-Meditate.org says, “This helps us to develop good concentration. The right hand symbolizes method and the left hand symbolizes wisdom–the two together symbolize the union of method and wisdom. The two thumbs at the level of the navel symbolize the blazing of inner fire.”
- Your back, again, should be straight and upright without being strained or tense. “This helps us to develop and maintain a clear mind, and it allows the subtle energy winds to flow freely,” writes How-To-Meditate.org.
- While your chin is slightly tucked as a part of your upright posture – creating a little space between your first and second vertebrae – also be sure to relax your jaw but keep the tip of your tongue touching the back of your front teeth. Apparently, this helps to prevent excessive salivation and/or cotton mouth during the meditation.
- To help prevent mental excitement, says How-To-Meditate.org, keep your gaze pointed down a bit (whether your eyes are opened or closed).
- While this step differs depending on the style of meditation you practice, the traditional Vairochana’s posture involves having your eyes neither completely closed or completely open. It is suggested to just look down and let your eyes get fuzzy. Closed eyes can lead to drowsiness, while fully open eyes can allow in too much distraction and mental stimulation.
- The final step in the traditional Vairochana meditation pose is to keep your shoulders and elbows from not being pressed into your body to allow for good ventilation and air circulation.
While it might not seem terribly important how you sit or breathe or any of that tedious stuff, all of these little details can greatly effect the quality of your meditation. Doing an awesome meditation is much like an athlete preparing to compete. When every last detail is just so, there are no distractions so your attention can be completely on the meditation. An athlete does their pre-game ritual to better ensure they'll be competing “in the zone,” as Michael Jordan used to call it. The same applies to meditation—if you want to get into the zone, create the right conditions for success.
~ Jillian Avey, purelifemeditation.com