There is much discussion about which sitting position is best for meditation. The position you sit in has a small effect on your meditation but it is very subtle. Sitting in any upright position without leaning into a support is the best meditation posture for those who can do it. Here’s why:
The placement of energy within your spine, is directly linked to your state of consciousness. Watch the spinal posture of children when they go through happy or sad moods and you will see that happy kids have erect spines and sad ones tend to bend the spine forward into a slouch. This is universal. It happens in animals as well as humans. Adults learn to mask their feelings but still, if you look around, you will see that happy, aware, and energetic people have erect spines. Those who are predominantly unhappy, are less conscious, or have lower energy often tend to slouch forward.
A tall spine with open chest is an expression of energy that is rising upward and a bent spine is an expression of energy that is falling downward. (Of course there are other factors but this is to make a point which is important to understand for anyone seeking the benefits of meditation.) Think of a flower which is full of life and beautiful, like a daisy in a field reaching into the sky. This is what you want your spine and upper body to feel like when you sit in your meditation posture. What makes the flower tall and blooming toward the sky is energy. In yoga we call this energy “prana,” or life-force. The thing is, if you take command over your posture you can control to a large degree your state of consciousness. It is just like the link between breath and mind (“as the breath flows, so flows the mind,” Paramhansa Yogananda), the energy within your spine is linked also to your experience and outlook on life in any moment.
Erect posture and enthusiasm create energy.
Think of your spine as the erect stem of that flower when you settle in to your meditation posture. Feel that where your bottom contacts whatever you are sitting on that you have grown roots into the earth that hold you steady and firm in the ground. Imagine that these roots will not allow you to move. It’s like you have become part of the earth. Now put your mind inside the pelvis and feel relaxed there. Look around and let go of any unwanted tension. Imagine you are a tiny observer within the great temple of your body. Close your eyes and feel space and stillness in the pelvic region. Then very slowly and with deep concentration begin to rise through the center of your body one vertebrae at a time in an upward direction when your body inhales.
From your foundation at the pelvic floor, begin to rise upward one breath at a time. Look out for tension and feel that you are rising up through the body on a shaft of light. As you rise, there is space, healing, and light filling your spine and core muscles that support your meditation posture. Practice this with joy. It matters. Enthusiasm is key to your success. It takes willingness and a certain sense of adventure to excel in meditation. Go for it! And have fun.
Choose the meditation posture that best supports your ability to keep the spine tall and erect with your own energy. Sitting upright without leaning into a support is the first choice for those who can do it. Sitting upright in this way requires your energy to rise and hold you up. This is exactly what we want. As your energy rises this way, your consciousness is also uplifted. This is why upright posture is the traditional recommendation for meditation. See the articles and videos linked below for specific details on how to make each meditation posture best fit your body right now.