Meditation Positions

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Sitting:
Sitting is the most commonly recommended posture for meditation. There are a number of classic seated poses: Easy Seated Pose: sitting cross-legged on the floor; sitting in Half Lotus or Lotus position; or kneeling in "Japanese-style". Sitting in a chair with your legs uncrossed and your feet flat on the floor also works and is often the best choice for beginners. It is most important that your spine remains erect and that you feel steady, relaxed and comfortable. To maximize comfort when sitting cross-legged on the floor, place a cushion or folded blanket or towel under your buttocks to elevate them and gently guide your knees down toward the floor. This helps support the natural lumbar curve of the lower back. Relax your arms and place your hands on your thighs or in your lap, with the palms in a relaxed position either facing up or down. Roll your shoulders back and down and gently lift the chest. Keep your neck long and the chin tilted slightly downward. Depending on which technique you are following, the eyes may be opened or closed. Breathing is natural and free.

Walking:
This is a moving style of meditation - highly recommended by many teachers. You walk slowly and consciously, each step becoming your focal point. Destination, distance and pace are all incidental. Relax your arms at your sides and move freely, coordinating your breath with your steps. For instance, you might breathe in for 3 steps and breathe out for 3 steps. Or you can just breathe freely. Although you can practice walking meditation anywhere, try to choose a setting you like - the beach, a favorite park or a meadow. Getting somewhere is not the purpose; rather the complete involvement in the act of walking becomes your meditation.

Hatha yoga is also a form of moving meditation, where mind and body are united by conscious awareness. Every pose takes concentration. Yoga integrates and harmonizes the mind and body through visualization, breathing, and movement. Tai chi and dance can also be used as moving meditations.

Standing:
This is another meditation that is often recommended for those who find sitting difficult, and martial artists find that it builds physical, mental and spiritual strength. Stand with your feet hip-to-shoulder-distance apart. Knees are soft, arms rest comfortably at your sides. Your whole body should be aligned in good posture; shoulders rolled back and down, chest open, neck long, head floating on top and chin parallel to the floor. Either keep your eyes opened or softly close them.

Reclining:
Even though lying down is associated with relaxation, the classic corpse pose is also used for meditation. Lie down on your back with your arms at your sides, palms facing upward. Touch your heels together and allow the feet to fall away from one another completely relaxed. Place yourself in a symmetrical and comfortable position with the appropriate support under your head and knees if needed. Your eyes may be opened or closed; although it is easier to stay awake with your eyes open. This position entails a greater degree of alertness to remain awake and focused. Therefore, beginners may find it more difficult to meditate in this position without falling asleep.

Hatha yoga students are most often introduced to meditation through the Corpse Pose, which is done at the conclusion of each practice session. This pose brings about deep relaxation, as the body is still, yet passively alert and fully supported by the floor. In this pose, muscles relax and lengthen, passive breathing - necessary in all postures - takes over, and quiet concentration builds.

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