Finding a relaxing and comfortable position is an essential part of meditation practice. Without it, tapping into your subconscious can turn out to be a difficult process.
However, being too comfortable can also affect the quality of your meditation session.
You may have come across some guided meditation material which allows you to lie down while meditating. Or perhaps you’ve always thought that lying down was the best position for you to relax.
However, some experts believe that meditation lying down shouldn’t be encouraged and that beginners of meditation should focus on getting used to proper posture.
This is because many people perceive meditation as a way of honing self-discipline, apart from simply trying to find peace and clarity.
But how can one become more disciplined while indulging in complete relaxation? However, there are also some benefits to meditation lying down.
If you’ve been meditating while lying down and if you are trying to seek for answers regarding the correct meditation posture, you’ve come to the right place.
But before we dig deeper into the subject, let’s first tackle that number one question that might be bothering you right now…
Can You Meditate While Lying Down?
The simple answer is yes, you can meditate even while lying down. But it is also good to note that sitting is always more preferred than lying flat on your back.
Certainly, there are some types of meditation which might require you to lie down, like sleep meditation and for meditation practices that help put you into a deep sleep.
With this in mind, it should be perfectly alright to do your practice even while lying down. So why are some people insisting that it is not the right posture for meditation?
To better understand the reason behind it, let us first look at some of the common meditation positions known today:
The Proper Meditation Posture
Although there is no official statement claiming that meditation while lying down is incorrect, sitting seems to be the more acceptable posture among meditation experts.
The Lotus Position is perhaps the most popular meditation position.
It is said to be the most optimal position for those who are eager to get the most out of their meditation session. Let’s face it, this position can be intimidating, especially for beginners.
But don’t lose hope just yet – did you know that there are a lot of variations to choose from?
Apart from the Lotus Position, you can also opt for the Quarter Lotus, Half Lotus, Seiza and Burmese position to name a few. Sitting on a chair is also a great option for those who aren’t used to sitting on the ground.
With this in mind, sticking to one type of position for your meditation practice isn’t a requirement.
The idea that only one type of posture is a myth as well. If you are interested in learning how to position yourself properly when meditating, here are some key pointers to look out for:
Key Points Of Meditation Posture
As you may have already known, the spine is often associated with meditation practice. Your chakra energy is connected at the spine and it is the seat of your major chakra centers.
With this in mind, it is recommended that you have a straight back during your meditation practice. This is to allow your energy to flow with ease.
Another advantage to having a straight back during your practice is that it allows you to remain active throughout the meditation session. Being too relaxed can distract us from tapping into our subconscious.
When we are not aware of our posture, it is easy for our minds to drift away in our thoughts. Our bodies and minds are also tricked into thinking that it is resting rather than meditating, causing our practice to be unsuccessful.
Tense shoulders hinder us from attaining a relaxed position. When left unattended, it can also cause physical pain after long moments of meditation.
Check your shoulders once in a while as you meditate. Allow them to drop naturally and avoid raising them to your ears.
Make sure that your shoulders are also balanced as some people may find that one shoulder may be higher than the other…
Your hips and the way you sit is crucial to your practice.
As mentioned before, you are free to choose what kind of sitting position you prefer. Don’t feel obligated to stay in perfect Lotus Position when your body is aching from it.
Instead, use props to help you achieve the posture you would like to use. Pillows, cushions and other forms of support may also be used.
You may have come across various images of hand positions for meditation. If you are an advanced meditation practitioner, feel free to explore these different hand positions.
But if you are struggling to find out what to do with your hands as you meditate, the key is to relax your hands and have them open and faced upward.
It is also recommended to place them on your lap as you meditate. This hand position symbolizes your openness and willingness to receive energy from you and so very helpful when using meditation for energizing purposes.
The back of your neck should maintain its length which means that you may have to tuck in your chin slightly.
Some people have the habit of raising their head during meditation but this may actually cause neck pain after a prolonged period of time.
Deep breathing is an integral part of meditation.
Relaxing your jaw allows clear breathing and it also slows down your swallowing. Pay attention to how your jaw is as you meditate, you’ll be surprised at how tense it is.
Many of us do not notice how often we clench our jaws during the day. To relax your jaw, simply press your tongue to the roof of your mouth.
If you are the type who prefer to close their eyes as they meditate, pay close attention to how you keep your eyes shut.
Shutting your eyes tightly can cause a lot of tension. Close your eyes softly and pay attention to your face as well. Release any kind of tension that might be occurring.
What About Meditation While Lying Down?
Now that you know the key points of good meditation posture, does it mean the end meditation lying down?
As we have mentioned before, it is perfectly alright to meditate while lying on your back if it is something you prefer.
In fact, did you know that there is a lying posture called the Corpse Position? But first, let’s take a look at why meditation lying down may actually be useful for your practice.
Advantages Of Meditation Lying Down
A lot of people don’t give a lot of credit to meditation lying down. But actually, it does have its own benefits which may not be easily found while sitting up.
Here are some of the advantages of meditating while lying flat on your back:
Less Physical Pain
Perhaps you have a certain medical condition which prohibits you from the recommended posture. Or maybe sitting up causes you physical pain.
Meditation lying down allows people who have such conditions to continue their practice. If you are experiencing physical difficulties at any time during meditation, it is best to look for a position that works best for you.
You may either use a pillow or a cushion for support or simply lie down on your back.
Increased Relaxed Energy
Meditating while lying down is a lot easier than sitting down. If you find that your body gets tensed to often, it can hinder you from actually starting your meditation practice.
As a beginner, you might also find it difficult to completely relax your body as you sit upright. By meditating while lying down, you can ease into your meditation session faster and without much effort.
Because the lying position is primarily used for sleep meditation, it is no surprise that better sleep is one of its main benefits.
Although some people claim that meditating even without lying down can help improve the quality of sleep, meditation lying down seems to be more effective in bringing in results compared to other positions.
Many people say that meditating lying down can cause the practitioner into falling asleep.
But alternatively, those who have mastered staying active even while lying down actually possess heightened alertness than those who meditate while sitting upright.
Although it can definitely be challenging for most people, the results are well worth it.
Decreased Stress Levels
We all know that calming ourselves down isn’t a very easy thing to do – especially when in panic or in a rage.
For many of us, it is very challenging to control our emotions. By allowing ourselves to be in a position for rest, we are able to decrease our own stress levels easier than while we are seated or in movement.
The Downside Of Lying Down While Meditating
As mentioned above, the biggest challenge when meditating lying down is the possibility of falling asleep while meditating.
Lying down allows the body to be completely relaxed. This deep relaxation can hinder us from staying active while meditating.
Another disadvantage of lying down while meditating is the way energy flows into the body. When in deep relaxation, it can be difficult to focus on your energy and therefore, causing some problems with energy flow.
How To Meditation While Lying Down Properly
Did you know that there is such a thing as the Corpse Position? This posture allows a person to lie flat on their back during meditation.
If you are looking to use this position for your meditation practice, here are some tips to help you get the correct posture while lying down:
1. Lie flat on your back.
As discussed above, your spine is an integral part of your meditation practice. In order to mimic a straight back, make sure that your back is evenly flat on your back.
This allows your energy to flow with ease even as you lie down. Although it is not as optimal as sitting up, this is the best option for those who are limited to meditation while lying down.
2. Spread your hands outward and make sure that both your right and left side are symmetrical.
When sitting down, you will most likely place your hands on your lap. But doing so while lying down can be quite constricting.
Open up your arms and release any tension that might occur around your arms and shoulders.
3. Keep your legs relaxed and at least a hip distance apart.
It is recommended to do a few stretches for your legs before dropping them. Allow them to drop naturally and avoid putting them in a certain position during your practice.
4. Keep Your Eyes Open.
If you struggle with falling asleep as you lie on your back, it is recommended that you keep your eyes open during your meditation session.
Try to focus your gaze straight which means that you may be keeping your gaze on the ceiling or anything above you.
Similar to stretching your legs before meditating, it is also recommended that you try to stretch your arms and your face as well.
As you stretch, release any form of tension or stress that may be occurring in those areas.
6. Lastly, avoid doing your meditation practice in a tight area.
Lie down in a free, open space which allows you to feel free and not physically constricted.
Although many people say that meditating while lying down is a big no-no, it is good to remember that meditation is also a personal experience.
What may be working for others may not necessarily be effective for you. Only you can decide which posture is the best for your meditation practice.
After all, a part of the meditation practice is to discover more about yourself and learning about your physical limitations is one of them.
Meditating while lying down is not prohibited. It actually makes the practice available to many different types of people, especially those with a medical condition.
Don’t let these conditions dictate whether or not you can enjoy meditating. As long as you try to follow the same key pointers other forms of posture have, you are on the right path in your meditation journey.
Allen Wei is someone who believes in living his best life, focusing on balance, happiness, and relaxation. He fosters a positive lifestyle in terms of his body, mind, and environment, and he is a huge proponent of learning to be balanced via relaxation techniques integrated into our busy lives.