If the meditation sitting position hurts; whether that’s your knees, hips, back, or muscular pain, you’re not alone.
Many people experience pain while being seated during meditation, but there are a number of things you can do to alleviate the pain.
Here are some tips to help you avoid pain while meditating and get more out of your sessions!
Why Your Meditation Sitting Position Hurts and How to Alleviate the Pain
When you first begin meditating, you may find that the sitting position hurts.
This is likely because you’re not used to sitting in this way for long periods of time so it’s unnatural to your body.
There are a number of things you can do to alleviate the pain.
First, make sure that you’re sitting in a comfortable position. If your knees hurt, try sitting or kneeling on a cushion or pillows.
If your hips hurt, try sitting with your legs crossed. If your back hurts, you could try sitting up against a wall or a comfortable chair.
You don’t have to be in a rigid or set position, the important thing is that you find a comfortable position.
Second, try to relax your muscles as much as possible. If you’re anxious – and you may not even have noticed – you might be tensing your muscles.
Third, breathe deeply and slowly. This is a core part of meditating anyway, but being more deliberate about your breathing will help you to relax your muscles and ease the pain.
Fourth, focus on your breath and not on the pain. Again, this is core to meditating, so it will get easier with practice and aid your meditation anyway.
Fifth, start with short sessions and build up to longer meditations as your body adapts to the position and you take into account the other points I’ve raised.
If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to avoid pain while meditating and get more out of your sessions.
This is also why there are numerous studies showing a strong connection between mindfulness meditation and pain relief, meditating really helps!
Related – Here are some meditating tips for beginners!
Meditating With Pre-existing Painful Conditions
If you have a pre-existing painful condition, such as arthritis or another condition that makes it painful to sit in certain positions, it’s still possible to meditate.
The best advice here is that if the pain is distracting, you should find a position that works for you.
Your position isn’t as important to how effective your meditation session is as it is that you’re comfortable.
You have to be comfortable first, then you’ll be able to relax and get the most out of your session.
If this means sitting with your legs crossed, spread out, in front of you, behind you, it doesn’t matter – find the best position for you to work around any pain.
How Do You Sit Comfortably While Meditating?
Everyone finds a slightly different way of sitting while meditating that’s right for them.
To be honest, not many people end up with the traditional cross-legged position, especially not with the feet tucked up over the knees.
There are a number of ways you can sit while meditating, and the best way is the way that’s comfortable for you.
If you’re new to meditation, it’s likely that you’ll find the traditional cross-legged position uncomfortable.
I recommend starting out by sitting upright in a chair, this is how I prefer to meditate, even though I can sit cross-legged if I want to.
You can either place your hands in your lap, or rest your hands on your legs with your palms facing up – again, choose what works for you.
The important thing is that your back is as upright as you can manage. This makes breathing in and out easier and helps you take larger breaths.
Does Sitting Position Affect Meditation?
The main thing is that you’re comfortable while meditating, everything else is secondary to that.
There’s no evidence that sitting in a certain way affects how effective your meditation is.
Of course, if you’re not comfortable, it will be harder to focus on your breath and relax your muscles so you may find it more difficult to enter into a meditative state.
The best thing to do is experiment and find what works for you. There’s no right or wrong way to meditate, so find a way that suits you and stick with it.
Is It Better to Meditate Sitting or Lying?
There’s no evidence that one is better than the other, so it really comes down to personal preference.
I prefer to meditate sitting up because it helps me to stay awake, but if you find it more comfortable to lie down then that’s fine.
The main thing is that you’re comfortable and can focus on your breath, so do whatever works best for you.
Try out both sitting and lying down before you make a decision though, you might be surprised about how different it can feel.
I also find the feelings and sensations very different when lying down.
If you’re feeling pain in a sitting position while meditating, you don’t have to put up with it.
The most important thing is to be comfortable while meditating, so you need to find a position, whether that’s sitting, lying down, or even standing up that makes you comfortable.
If you’re not comfortable, it will be harder to focus on your breath and relax your muscles so you may find it more difficult to enter into a meditative state.
Try out various sitting positions and lying down before you make a decision though, you might be surprised about how different it can feel.
Image credits – Photo by Benjamin Klaver on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.