Don’t Assume Lotus Position is the Best Posture for Meditation. It might not be.
If you just Google ‘meditation’ you might conclude that the best posture for meditation is to sit on the floor, cross legged. Almost all the images on the internet of meditation feature a person sitting in Lotus or Half Lotus Position. We want you to consider that this might not work for you and not sitting this way will have virtually no negative effects on your practice. To be blunt, you don’t have to.
It is crucial to reduce the resistance to meditation and one of the most common ways is not to get hung up on the idea of sitting cross legged on the floor. Unfortunately it is often assumed that this is the best posture for meditation to start and when people try it, they get frustrated at how uncomfortable it can be.
The worst thing you can do is to assume that pain in the back, knees, or hips is a necessary part of learning meditation. It’s not. In fact, your body should be thought of as a small factor as you explore inwardly. Find a comfortable chair that offers back support but one that is not to stiff or that forces an upright back that is not relaxed. Relaxation is the key!
Meditation will be most satisfying as you realize it is an inward exploration. The body is not a big factor except to the degree to which it remains relaxed. Sitting in a comfortable chair with good back support will immediately feel better for most people. It is wise to have your feet on the floor since being grounded is helpful. Beyond that, good posture is deliberate meaning not slouched or too casual. Aim for a 90 degree bend at your knees and let your hands fall naturally in your lap.
Cupped hands, interlocking fingers, hands facing up resting on legs, hands facing down… these all fit in as possible best postures for meditation. The main thing is not to get rigid. Keep your shoulders relaxed and close your eyes. Finally let your head tilt downward slightly. This is helpful because it focuses your attention within and not high above yourself. Going deeper means going within. The higher states of consciousness are within and not outside of you.