Seated meditation.

Anybody do it? What posture do you sit in? Any tips?

I’ve recently started doing 15 minutes of meditation a day. This is largely an attempt to salvage my afternoons. I tend to drift off around 2:00 and my attention span doesn’t really come back until 4:30. Suboptimal. I quickly discovered that if try to meditate on my own lying down, I fall asleep. Feels nice, but probably not as beneficial. :slight_smile: So I’ve been trying to do seated meditation.

Finding the right posture has been tricky. Sitting cross-legged was too unstable. The tops of my legs get all tense, and I just can’t get comfortable. Full Lotus? Uh . . . no. Half Lotus? Kinda. I call it “Half-assed lotus.” I’ve been working pretty steadily on opening up my hips through yoga, so maybe someday I’ll be able to do real Half Lotus. But for now I just tuck my left foot under with the sole against my right thigh, and put the right foot in the crook of the left knee with the sole pointing upward as much as I can manage, with my lower legs roughly parallel. It’s not totally comfortable, but it feels solid and stable.

My posture in general (not just while meditating) sucks. It’s improving, but I still slouch. All the more reason to strengthen my back muscles through seated meditation, I guess. I sit with my hands together in my lap. Resting them on my knees tends to round my shoulders forward. But I can’t quite figure out what I should be doing with my head yet. Extend upward through the crown of my head? That gets old real quick. I’ve read that you should incline your head forward a bit, but I can’t seem to find the right angle.

I cycle through concentrating on physical relaxation, straight spine, my breath, straight spine, mental tranquility, and straight spine. I have the lamest mantra ever: “Manamanamanama.” :slight_smile: I’m not doing a very good concentrating yet, but I know from the past, when I was doing a short yoga routine with meditation every day, that will improve with practice. (I know, I thought it was crazy, too. Practicing regularly helps you learn how to think about nothing. Huh.) I’ve been keeping my eyes closed, but I’ve been toying with the notion of putting together a small shrine. :dubious: Is that too woo-woo? Nothing overtly spiritual, just something uncomplicated to gaze at.

I wouldn’t say I’m having raging success. I’m still fidgeting a lot, and as I said, my concentration isn’t very good yet. But afterwards I have a pleasant stretched-out feeling in my hips, and a nice burny sensation from the muscles in my back. Plus, I can actually concentrate and feel less like biting the head off of every idiot who walks into my office. (Is the semester over yet?)

Okay, so that’s my seated mediation in microscopic detail. :slight_smile: Maybe yoga geeks care. maybe not. :slight_smile: So tell me what you do. I’m especially interested in advice from people who’ve been able to consistently practice meditation.

I’ve always meditated in a “seiza” position - kneeling, basically. I used to put a big, fluffy pillow under my butt to relieve pressure from my knees and keep my feet from falling asleep. Then my wife bought me a mediation bench from Carolina Morning Designs a few Christmases ago. I love my bench; love it.

It raises my butt far enough off the floor that I can tuck my legs underneath it, leaving me in a nice, easy supported kneeling position that puts no strain on my hips, ankles or knees. It’s slightly tilted, which makes it very easy to keep my spin straight.

As far as meditating “technique”, I don’t use a mantra. I close my eyes and concentrate on the point between my eyeballs, which raises the eyes and keeps me from drifting into sleep. And I “watch the breath”: observe each inhale and exhale without thinking about it, just being aware of it moving in and out. When things are going well, I can be aware without thought. When things are not going well, I’m thinking about how aware I would be if I weren’t thinking.

One of my favorites is where I sit on the floor with the soles of my feet pressed together and pillows under my knees to keep my legs comfortable and relaxed. I rest my wrists on my knees with my thumb, index, and middle fingers all touching. Then I press the tip of my tongue against the roof of my mouth right behind my teeth, take a couple of deep clensing breaths, and I’m under in no time (under meaning I’m in a meditation, not that I’m asleep).

I haven’t been to the Carolina Morning Designs site in a while. It seems they’ve redesigned their benches, and they’re out of stock on everything except the jumbos.

And to top it off, they’ve gone to plastic. I’m as much of a tree-hugger as the next guy, but if I remember correctly trees *are * renewable. I can’t imagine the woo-woo community is so large that it poses a threat to our nation’s forests.

I like my wooden bench. It’s clean-lined and deeply burnished, and it feels nice and organic beneath my aging butt. If like me you don’t fancy sitting on recycled milk jugs when you commune with your inner child, you might consider having a talented friend make you one. Out of wood.

The benches look cool, even in plastic. I like the kneeling position (Virasana) for stretching (I MUST do it after I run, or I’m sore in the shins the next day), but if I do it for longer than a minute or so, it puts my legs to sleep, even with a cushion. The bench could be a nice solution for that.

Thank you both for your comments.