Can You Meditate Lying Down
We’re all familiar with the idea that we should relax and sit up straight when practicing meditation, but what about lying down? It turns out that there are some advantages to doing so. In this article, I’ll explain how to meditate lying down, as well as why it might be preferable to sitting cross-legged or on your back.
Most people think of meditation as sitting in one position, either upright (cross-legged) or propped against something (lying down). This makes sense because most forms of meditation involve focusing on an object, such as the breath, or sounds, or thoughts, etc., which require keeping your attention directed at them. But if you have trouble sitting still, you may prefer to lie down instead so you can move around more easily. Some people also use props, such as pillows, during meditation to help keep their bodies from sliding forward off the edge of the bed. As I mentioned before, many forms of meditation involve paying close attention to particular objects or sensations, often while relaxing. When lying down, being able to focus on these things without getting distracted by other movements is crucial.
So how do you go about meditating while lying down? The first thing you need to do is get comfortable. If possible, try to lie on your side rather than your stomach, since this will allow you to breathe better. Ideally, you want to make sure you’re not lying on anything sharp or hard, such as the corners of your mattress. Try laying on top of a soft blanket or pillow, or perhaps between two cushions. If you don’t have any cushions, you could also just lay on your side on the floor or a carpeted surface. Now you just need to decide whether you want to meditate with your eyes open or closed. Most beginners tend to err towards having their eyes closed, because they’ve been told over and over again that closing your eyes helps you let go of distracting thoughts. However, if you have problems falling asleep, you may prefer to meditate with your eyes opened. Doing so allows you to take advantage of the fact that your eyelids naturally close every night, helping you fall into sleep much faster. Another reason to sometimes meditate with your eyes open is that it’s easier to see your body’s tension patterns, especially in areas such as your shoulders or neck, when you look directly ahead. Also, if you ever feel uncomfortable or claustrophobic, you may find it easier to meditate with your eyes opened.
Now comes the tricky part — finding a comfortable spot to rest your head. A lot of people like to place their heads on their hands, but this doesn’t work very well for anyone who has stiff necks or whose wrists or elbows hurt. Instead, pick a point about six inches away from your face and then imagine drawing a line straight down from that point through your chest, connecting your torso to the ground. Make sure your knees aren’t tucked under you; ideally, your feet should be flat on the floor. Now put your hand right below your shoulder, and extend your arm out horizontally until it reaches the floor. If your elbow hurts, bend your wrist slightly. With your palm facing toward you and your fingers pointing downward, you should now be holding onto the edges of your mattress. Take a few minutes to really check that you’re comfortable — does your head touch your arm? Is your knee bent? Does your foot slide down the floor? Are you breathing properly? If so, you probably know enough to continue meditating.
If you experience discomfort, however, it may be worth trying to modify your position slightly. For example, if your arm hurts, you can prop it against your leg or another piece of furniture instead. If you have pain in your lower back, you can bend both legs slightly to relieve pressure on your spine, or even roll onto your side to alleviate pressure on your hips and legs. If your feet slip down the floor, try putting a rolled towel underneath them. And finally, if your head touches your arm, you can fold your arms across your chest or tuck them behind your ears.
It may seem strange to begin meditating lying down, but once you start using it regularly, you may find yourself gravitating towards it. After all, it’s much simpler to adjust a pillow or a cushion than it is to get up and switch positions.
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