Meditation brings a wealth of health benefits, from improving sleep to enhancing mental focus to reducing stress levels. But some people just don’t do well sitting in a cross-legged position, for a variety of different reasons. Does that mean they are unable to meditate?
Far from it. Meditation is available in a variety of flavors and styles. It’s simply a matter of exploring the options to figure out which one is just right for your situation.
Here are a few ideas to get started with.
If your body aches when you sit too long, or you find you are fidgety, give walking meditation a try. With walking meditation, you both gain the gentle exercise that helps your body and also bring your mind into a calmer state.
You can walk anywhere you wish. While it’s lovely to walk in a local park or natural area, if it’s raining out it’s fine to walk in gentle circles around your home. The concept is the same.
Take in a long, deep breath. Put down your right heel, arch, then toe. Next, left heel, arch, then toe. Think about each of those sections of your foot grounding with the Earth. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your feet.
If it’s thinking about “emptiness” which is a challenge, try a mantra meditation. With this, you choose a phrase or concept to focus on. Perhaps it’s a loving-kindness meditation where you offer compassionate wishes to those you care for. Perhaps it’s a different phrase which resonates with you. Whatever you choose, those words and thoughts provide a foundation to anchor you through your meditation. If I am finding it hard to concentrate I use a personal mantra, which is, wyrd bid ful aread, no resistance no judgment, om mani padme hum. These are three separate phrases that have resonated with me through the years and I use them often.
Body scan meditation brings you into the present moment by focusing your awareness on individual body parts until you feel a sensation then allow your awareness to move on to another body part. You can start from the top of the head and gentle move through out the body taking as long as you feel. It is important not intellectualize the sensation or create a feeling of want or avoidance, allow it to be exactly as it is and allow your awareness to pass on to the next.
We all have different body shapes and sizes. If your body has trouble with sitting or with folding in certain ways, honor your body’s current situation. It’s fine to do meditation while sitting in a chair. It’s fine to do it while lying down. Whatever accommodation you need to make to help your body feel free, comfort is key. The benefits you achieve will be well worth it.
In the end, it doesn’t matter if you meditate walking, chanting, sitting on a cushion, staring at a rose petal, or lying on a blanket. What matters is that we create space for ourselves. The more regularly you practice, and the more fully you can engage during that practice, the more benefit you will receive from the time invested. I look forward to hearing all about your journey and if you have any questions please get in touch