Contrary to what you may have seen or read, to be successful at Mindfulness, you do not have to be extra supple or sit still for long periods of time. Your mindfulness practice will be most successful if you choose your best mindfulness position. The best one for you is one that is comfortable for you to be in and stay in for a short period of time.

Mindfulness sitting in Lotus Position When your shoulders ache, your back is stiff or your neck is painful these can be a MASSIVE distraction to calming your mind. Luckily, there are a variety of different positions you can use to successfully tune into your Mindfulness practice.

And for most of us, it’s not this one!

Whatever position you choose, there are two Mindful techniques you need to be able to do:

  • Focus on just one thing and keep it lightly concentrating on that one thing.
  • Notice when distracting thoughts come into your mind or when your mind wanders.

Copyright: ximagination / 123RF Stock Photo

Which is your best mindfulness position?

Assess which of these mindfulness positions is the most comfortable for you and give it a go.

Mindfulness position 1

Sitting in a chair.

Mindfulness practice position sitting in a chair

  • A brilliant mindfulness position for most people, as it’s very quick, simple and easy to do.
  • You don’t need to have any special clothing on (like your Yoga gear) so you can do it in work clothes easily and chairs are widely available, LOL!
  • It’s a good if you have aches and pains in your back, hips, knees or your shoulders. With the use of some support under your sit bones and also, your feet, it should be very comfortable.  You can see recommendations for how to make sitting more comfortable by watching the short videos on my Mindfulness Meditation Tips page with tips about sitting comfortably.
  • If you tend to have a sleepy, heavy brain then using a chair may be the best posture for you. It is the easiest posture in which to stay upright and alert….or at least notice fairly quickly if you are slumping forward and falling asleep!

What you need to be aware of:

Being seated in a chair may not be your ideal if you find sitting for any length of time impossible. Chronic back or neck pain conditions, for example, can rule this out as an option. If this applies to you, skip the sitting positions and investigate other options explained below like lying down or walking.

Mindfulness position 2

Sitting on the floor.

 Mindfulness position sitting cross legged on floorSome people prefer this mindfulness position because sitting closer to the floor makes them feel more grounded.

 What you need to be aware of:

 To do this pose COMFORTABLY you need to be:

  • Flexible in your lower back, groin, thighs and feet.
  • Able to get down to the floor and up again with ease?
  • If you regularly sit in a cross-legged position within your Yoga/ Pilates class or your home practice, this may be OK.  But sitting like this for 10 mins can get quite uncomfortable even if you are quite flexible.
  • Remember that if sitting in this position makes you hurt, it will not help you develop and deepen your peaceful mind.
  • Consider if the need to wear stretchy clothing will get in the way of sitting and doing your Mindfulness practice?

Mindfulness position 3

Kneeling.

Mindfulness Position kneeling.

  • Some people prefer this mindfulness position because sitting closer to the floor makes them feel more grounded.
  • Some people (and I include myself in this bracket) find it easier to sit upright using less effort.

What you need to be aware of:

To do this pose COMFORTABLY you need to:

  • Be able to get down to the floor and up again with ease.
  • Rest comfortably with bent knees and with the tops of your feet pressing into the floor.
  • Your back muscles will need to strengthen up to hold you upright because you won’t have the benefit of a chair back to rest on if you need to.
  • Actually sitting on your feet will most likely give you pins and needles, so using a support like yoga blocks under your bottom or using a ‘Seiza bench’ (these are little wooden fold up benches) will make you more comfortable.
  • Sitting closer to the ground than in a chair may be helpful for grounding your busy mind (but there are other techniques which are more effective in achieving this).
  • Consider if the need to wear stretchy clothing will get in the way of sitting and doing your Mindfulness practice?

Mindfulness position 4

Lying down.

For some back pain patterns, this is one of the few positions you can be comfortable in for any length of time.
Mindfulness position lying on the floor

  • Doing a gentle movement-based mindfulness practice in this position can deepen your ability to both be mindful and to relax deeply.
  • It’s easy to do and an enjoyable variation to sitting or kneeling.

What you need to be aware of:

  • Usually on the floor but can be done on a bed if getting down to the floor and up again is difficult.
  • This position is very relaxing in so it can be difficult to stay awake and concentrate.
  • Help yourself start alert by lifting your head up slightly using a yoga block or cushion and by lifting your knees up and resting your feet on the floor/bed.

Mindfulness position 5

Standing.

Mindfulness position standing up.

  • Doing a standing practice from time to time keeps your mind ‘perked up’ and more enthusiastic about keeping a mindfulness practice going.
  • It is a great position for doing informal mindfulness checks on yourself, where you can spend 30 secs to a minute doing a ‘how am I feeling’ body scan or a ‘what sort of thoughts am I having’ mind scan. This is the sort of mindfulness that can be integrated into your daily routine.

What you need to be aware of:

  • From this position you are used to ‘doing’ things…walking somewhere, carrying stuff, investigating things or talking with people…all of which can make your mind over-active and agitated and harder to calm and quieten.
  • Standing for any length of time (10 mins or more) can be difficult unless your mind and body are prepared for it using something like Yoga, Tai Qi or Qi Gong.

Mindfulness on the Move

Walking

It might come as a surprise but you can practice Mindfulness while you walk…
Mindfulness position walking.

  • Good to do this instead of the other static positions from time to time as it keeps your mindfulness practice fresh.
  • You don’t need any special kit.
  • You can integrate it easily into your working day on short bursts by setting your intention to Mindfully walk into work, Mindfully walk up and downstairs, Mindfully walk to the loo even!
  • If you suffer from chronic pain, keeping going with gentle movement can sometimes be the most comfortable thing to do.
  • It’s a great excuse to go outside and get some fresh air.

 

Walking – what you need to be aware of:

  • Like standing, when we walk we are usually ‘doing’ things on or on our way ‘to do’ something, so it’s easy for your mind to feel very busy and so it may be harder to calm it into a Mindful state.  Personally, I find walking meditations work best for me after I have done a short sitting or kneeling practice first.
  • Walking meditation is slower than your normal walking speed. You use Mindful practices such as looking, listening, smelling or feeling sensations such as your footfall.
  • Perhaps for obvious reasons, it is best not to do a walking practice anywhere near traffic because awareness of traffic is ALWAYS a good idea!  Also, if you are walking, choose a route that you know is reasonably secure underfoot… with your awareness focused elsewhere, you will not be prepared for unexpected or unknown hazards.

“Formal” and “Informal” mindfulness positions

 There are two ways of working with Mindfulness:

  • The formal way is where you (usually) sit or kneel in your BEST comfortable position and do a specific and regular Mindful practice.
  • The informal way is being mindful as you go about your everyday tasks and interaction with family, friends and work colleagues.  You get better at doing this when you have a regular formal practice.

Is your body acting as a major (or even a minor) distraction from your mindfulness practice? Tell me how your body feels in the comments box below. You can also get some more detailed suggestions on making yourself comfortable in whatever position you are in here.

Some final thoughts about Kit

To help me in my own practice, there are a couple of organisations I have used as a source of some simple items of gear. Rest assured, I am not affiliated with the companies below so there is no financial motivation behind mentioning them! Please note I make no recommendations here – the motivation in providing the links is to give you a place to start looking.

I have mention yoga a number of times… One place to get mindfulness support kit is from ‘Yoga Matters’. Click here to check out their website.

For further reading about learning how to Meditate

Learning to Meditate is really hard!

Meditate?  In this funny position!

Achieve more calm in your day – Try my Nine Breaths for a Calmer Mind download

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