Lifestyle: There are many positions we can meditate in: sitting, standing, walking and lying down. These instructions focus on the sitting position, the most common position for formal practice, as it’s conducive to staying alert and relaxed. For those unable to sit, you may use the alternate option of lying down.
The aim of the sitting posture is to balance being upright and alert, with being relaxed. When exploring a sitting posture, we want to choose a method that is relatively easy. Choosing a method that looks good, but is a significant struggle defeats the purpose of meditation. What is most important is what you do with your mind, not what you do with your feet or legs.
The legs are crossed in the vajra posture. This helps to reduce thoughts and feelings of desire attachment.
The right hand is placed in the left hand, palms upwards, with the tips of the thumbs slightly raised and gently touching. The hands are held about four fingers’ width below the navel. This helps us to develop good concentration. The right hand symbolizes method and the left hand symbolizes wisdom – the two together symbolize the union of method and wisdom. The two thumbs at the level of the navel symbolize the blazing of inner fire.
The back is straight but not tense. This helps us to develop and maintain a clear mind, and it allows the subtle energy winds to flow freely.
The lips and teeth are held as usual, but the tongue touches against the back of the upper teeth. This prevents excessive salivation while also preventing our mouth from becoming too dry.
The head is tipped a little forward with the chin slightly tucked in so that the eyes are cast down. This helps prevent mental excitement.
The eyes are neither wide open nor completely closed, but remain half open and gaze down along the line of the nose. If the eyes are wide open we are likely to develop mental excitement and if they are closed we are likely to develop mental sinking.
The shoulders are level and the elbows are held slightly away from the sides to let air circulate.