The Lying Down Meditation Posture
Meditation is an effective practice that helps the body stay in tune with the heart and mind. During most forms of meditation, it’s important that the body remain as stable and still as possible. This physical stability supports the mind as it acquires and sustains a state of awareness. Then again, certain forms of meditation, such as when walking or chanting, require movement. Among the many forms of meditation, there’s a little-known – yet effective – technique that can help revitalize our practice: lying down meditation.
You may have wondered if it’s possible to meditate in bed. Without question, it’s easier to focus when you’re seated and upright – the mind is more alert and less likely to doze off. But the reclining meditation posture is also recommended in certain circumstances.
Meditation positions lying down
If you’re ill or have been experiencing discomfort when you sit, it’s perfectly fine to practice while lying down. Here are three effective techniques you might try:
This is actually a yoga asana or pose, also referred to as the “corpse pose” (name notwithstanding, those who practice it are very much alive). The pose that wraps up a yoga session, savasana is often said to be the most difficult of the poses since it’s completely relaxing but you’re striving to maintain awareness and deep connection with the breath… and not drift off.
Savasana is practiced lying down flat on the back. The body is completely at rest, arms at the sides and palms up. If it’s more comfortable, a pillow or other support can be placed under the head or knees. Even if you don’t practice yoga, the meditative aspect of this pose can be very powerful because you encourage your habitual mental activities to “play dead” as you breathe into the core and let go. Choose a meditation period and remain centered on the breath until the session is finished. Try using the Mindworks Meditation App timer to set the length of your session and track your progress.
Mindfulness meditation when sitting is uncomfortable
You can listen to any of our guided meditations and simply replace references to “sitting” with “reclining.” This is especially helpful if back pain, sciatica, or other physical issues make it difficult for you to sit. As with sitting, we encourage you to maintain a straight back whenever possible. It might take you a few tries to find a posture that’s right for you.
Many of the other posture points apply as well – it’s important that you tune in to a sense of stillness and groundedness. While we’re usually pretty flexible about the “eyes closed vs eyes half open” question, if you are meditating while lying down, keeping your eyes open will help prevent drowsiness. You may want to find a point you can settle your gaze on – a light fixture or wall hanging for example – or you can let your gaze just be diffused. As always, breathe naturally and use your awareness of the breath to remain present.
Mindfulness meditation to help with sleeplessness
This is a simple meditation technique that can help you experience better, more restorative sleep. After lying down for the night, take some time to follow your breath, just as you do during sitting meditation. You might pay attention to how your belly rises and falls as you breathe, as this can be very soothing. Allow your mind to gently focus, and then gradually relax the technique. Let go of the thoughts, worries and to-do lists that filled your day and come back to the breath. Letting go is a crucial point of mindfulness. This simple technique can help you achieve calm, give you peace of mind and create a natural transition to sleep.
Benefits of meditation while lying down
Can you meditate while reclining and still enjoy the benefits? Most experts agree that it’s better to sit during practice when possible, since the upright meditation posture helps the mind stay alert. But sitting straight isn’t always workable, and a session of mindfulness should never be so uncomfortable that you may never want to meditate again! If you are practicing while lying down, you may want to try lying on a mat on the floor rather than in bed, as a comfy bed sends your mind sleepy signals right off the bat.
Some of the benefits of lying down meditation:
- It rejuvenates the senses
After spending the entire day sitting and moving about, the body can use a break. Lying down not only eases accumulated muscular tension, it also refreshes the senses. Your body needs to “switch off” from time to time. Meditation positions lying down act like a reset button, helping you relax more deeply.
- It eases pain and discomfort
If you practice a lot of sitting meditation, you might experience some pain in your legs, knees, hips, back or other parts of the body. For over-zealous meditators and people who experience pain and discomfort due to health problems alike, lying down meditation techniques help relieve physical tensions by effectively redistributing your body weight.
- It promotes better sleep
Research has shown that meditation, when practiced consistently, helps alleviate symptoms of insomnia and other sleep disorders. If you need help falling asleep, take around 10 minutes to practice mindfulness every night before going to bed. Many people report that meditation has improved the quality of their sleep, sometimes after just a few sessions.
In addition, there are numerous other benefits of mindfulness meditation that have been well documented by experts:
- Reduced blood pressure
- Improved productivity
- Increased energy
- Improved focus
- Heightened attention span