Hello and welcome to Motivation and Mindset Mondays! Today, let’s talk about how to sit comfortably while meditating. Learning to sit comfortably while meditating will help you welcome more relaxation and peace of mind into your life. If you’d like to start meditating but feel too uncomfortable to sit for long, these steps will help.
Steps to Take Between Your Meditation Sessions
1. Keep limber.
It’s easier to sit comfortably if you work on improving your flexibility in advance. Many people use yoga to accomplish this, but any program of gentle stretching will help. Just remember to warm up first to prevent injury.
2. Maintain a healthy body weight.
Meditating can give you one more good reason to shed any excess pounds. You may feel more comfortable while meditating if you keep physically fit.
3. Breathe deeply.
Breathing correctly plays a major role in meditating. Make it a habit to breathe from your diaphragm so your abdomen falls and rises rather than your chest. Let the air flow through your nostrils instead of your mouth.
4. Practice good posture.
You’re more likely to practice good posture on the cushion if you keep track of it even when you’re not meditating. Try to always be aware of keeping your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. Imagine you’re pushing your abdomen gently toward your back so you hold it slightly tucked.
5. Cultivate a calm mind.
You’ll get more out of meditating if you try to hold onto a calm mind all day. If you start your meditation session in a peaceful state of mind, it will be easier to get into position faster and spend more time focused on your objectives.
Steps to Take During Your Meditation Sessions
1. Start gradually.
It’s great if you’re all ready for the full lotus position, but there’s nothing wrong with making a more gradual start. Sit in a chair if it’s painful to sit on the floor. Sit for a few minutes at a time to begin with, and then increase the time in steady increments.
2. Position your body correctly.
No matter how you sit, keep your back straight and your abdomen tucked under. Pretend your head is being gently lifted by a balloon so you hold it high without straining your neck. If you use a chair, keep both feet flat on the floor. If you use a cushion, cross your legs and bring your feet toward your waist.
3. Shift positions when you need to.
Your ability to sit still for longer periods will naturally increase with time but it’s always okay to shift positions if you feel pain or stiffness. Stand up and stretch or just re-cross your legs placing the other leg on top for a while. Roll your shoulders or gently bend your head toward one shoulder at a time.
4. Figure out what to do with your hands.
There are two options that work well: rest your hands on your knees or rest them in your lap. Any arrangement that keeps your hands supported and out of the way is fine.
5. Hold your tongue.
As you move your focus inwards and stop talking, you may experience discomfort as you become more aware of the saliva in your mouth. One easy solution is to touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue. This naturally inhibits the flow of saliva.
6. Lower your eyes.
If visual images distract you, try lowering your eyelids so there’s just a small sliver of light before you. Keep your eyes softly focused without targeting any single object. You can even close your eyes as long as it doesn’t encourage you to fall asleep.
Meditation can transform your life with spiritual insights and greater peace. Learning to sit comfortably will help you focus on your objectives without any aches and pains getting in the way.
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I really wanted to talk about this topic today because I wanted to share some lifestyle-based strategies to improve your overall mindset and mental health, which in turn improves your life. You must do the internal work to improve your overall health. You can do this by learning what motivates you and working each day on improving your mindset. Your thoughts control your feelings, which controls your behavior. You can cultivate certain behaviors and practices that will not only enrich your life, but that you can pass on to your family, friends, and community, so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
If you are familiar with my approach, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle modifications, such as stress reduction and mindfulness exercises, can help you feel better about yourself and your life. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Tools For Motivation And Mindset
Although you don’t need a cushion to meditate, you may want to consider using one at some point. You could meditate in a chair, or simply sit on the floor if you want. You can also use pillows or cushions from your furnishings to try out. Cushion, chair, bench, floor – it’s all good. Eventually, though, if you’re not sitting upright on a chair, you’ll probably do well to buy a dedicated meditation cushion. The cushion will support your sitting posture and help you create an appealing mindfulness corner that will encourage you to practice every day. I recommend this meditation cushion and mat bundle.
If you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can be a great idea. Even if you don’t have these conditions, journaling can enhance your life in many ways. Having difficulty processing your thoughts and emotions? Journaling can help clear that mental clutter and move towards a positive mindset. Research suggests that keeping a journal can have positive impacts on both mental and physical health. So, to start you on your journey, I recommend this self care journal.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, meditation and mindfulness, as well as healthy and supportive relationships are the best ways to support mental health. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
PPS. If you or someone you know is experiencing severe stress, anxiety, depression and/or other mental health issues, please contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889. This is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
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