Meditation is meant to bring you clarity and relaxation. Unfortunately, for many beginners of the practice, sitting for long periods can get downright uncomfortable, leading to an ineffective session. While the standard lotus or cross-legged position is the most popular positions used in meditation, some alternative positions are suitable for beginners or anyone who suffers from back pain.
The astronaut posture is essentially an inverted sitting position. Rather than resting your back against a chair, you lie on the floor with a chair supporting your legs. To give your head and neck some extra support, place a pillow under your head. Place your hands on the floor beside you and begin your session.
The corpse position is extremely gentle on the back and is useful for people who have a problem keeping in an upright meditation position. It is also suited for guided meditation and pure light visualization. To get into this pose, simply lie down on your back, on either a bed or the floor. Rest your hands beside you with your palms facing upward. Place your feet shoulder-width apart, removing your socks and shoes. If needed, place a pillow under your head to support your neck.
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This is an alternate pose to the traditional kneeling position. It can get extremely uncomfortable kneeling, unsupported with your rear resting on the back of your heels for an extended period. Instead, you can use a kneeling bench with a padded, sloping top. The kneeling bench tilts your back forward slightly, taking the pressure off your lower spine when you assume the position. To keep your knees from feeling the pain, place a cushion or zabuton between the floor and your knees to prevent bruising.
The Sleeping Buddha
Like the corpse pose, the sleeping Buddha is suitable for beginners, as well as those with back and joint pain. To get into this position, lie your side on a flat, horizontal surface. Place one hand under your cheek for a little bit of support. Rest your other hand lightly on the side of your body. Bend both your legs slightly, resting them on top of one another. Place a pillow between your knees and thighs to prevent your upper leg from rotating forward.
Practicing meditation is a great way to bring about self-awareness and healing into your life. If you are just beginning and aren’t able to comfortably sustain the traditional meditation postures, try these four alternatives.