During the ancient times until now, people practice meditation because of its provided advantages. Incorporating meditation as part of your daily life can make a big difference regarding your attitude and outlook in life. But because meditation is a procedure, it involves several steps as well as postures when doing it.
1. Cross-legged posture. Various spiritual traditions and meditation teachers suggest or prescribe various meditation physical postures. One of the most popular postures is the cross-legged position which includes the lotus position. It is taught in most meditative traditions that the spinal cord must be kept straight. So, slouching is not a good idea. This is because, when you sit straight, it encourages good circulation of what they call as spiritual energy, which is the life force and vital breath.
2. Seated posture. A meditator can sit on the chair with his or her bare feet, as what the New Thought is teaching. In Orthodox Christianity, a meditator can sit on the stool. While in Theravada Buddhism, a meditator is walking in mindfulness. In Sukhothai, Thailand, walking meditation of the monks is called bas-relief. The meditator sits up keeping his or her back straight holding the spine and head in alignment without leaning and thighs parallel to the floor. The hands are rested comfortably on the arm’s chair or on the knees.
3. Kneeling posture. The meditator kneels with both knees on the floor keeping his or her buttocks resting on his or her toes and heels which are almost touching. The hands rest on his or his thighs.
4. Lying down posture also known as corpse posture or savasna in yoga. The meditator rests on the carpet keeping his or her legs straight and relaxed. Nevertheless, this is not used more often since it mimics the natural posture of sleeping. The meditator can sometimes fall asleep. This is effective in reducing stress rather than a meditation process.
5. Incorporating mudras or hand gestures. There is a theological meaning behind these gestures. Based on Yogic philosophy, these can affect consciousness. One example is the common hand-position of the Buddhist. The right hand rests on the top of the left hand with touching thumbs similar to the begging bowl of Buddha.
6. Incorporating various repetitive activities in stillness such as humming, chanting, or deep breathing to help in inducing a state of meditation. The Soto Zen practitioners do their meditation in front of a wall with open eyes. However, most mediation schools are assuming that the eyes are half-open or closed.
The duration and frequency of meditation also vary. There are nuns and monks who bow for a lifetime meditation. However, the broadly accepted duration is 20 or 30 minutes. This length may increase as the process goes on as what experienced meditators revealed. To obtain the benefits of meditation, it is advisable to follow the advices and instructions of the spiritual teacher. Most traditions require daily practice. But some may experience frustration or guilt when they failed to do it. Sometimes, meditators may complain about meditators knee especially during long hours of kneeling on one’s knees or sitting on cross legs.
Keep in mind that perseverance and acceptance are needed to become successful. This can help you during prolonged hours of meditation and increase focus on your everyday lives.