For beginners, it’s highly recommended that you start meditation in a sitting position. Sitting to meditate is really preferable to lying down because you’re more likely to remain awake. Our bodies are conditioned to sleep when lying down and it can be harder to maintain awareness in this position. Our posture also influences our state of mind, so sitting with an open and upright posture reflects strength, courage and openness and this transfers into our meditation.
Of course, if it’s too uncomfortable for you to sit due to physical ailments, it’s perfectly fine to lie down. The only “bad” meditation is the one you don’t bother doing at all!
Learning to use a cushion or meditation stool does have its challenges. Perhaps your hips aren’t as flexible as they used to be and sitting with your legs crossed may be painful. If you want to increase your sitting endurance, try supporting your thighs with cushions and over time, you may be able to reduce the support you need. Likewise, sitting on a cushion or meditation stool can be quite demanding on under used postural muscles in your upper back. You may need to gradually increase the period of time you spend in this position – but practicing this, will increase your endurance and it does get easier. This increase in strength in your postural muscles will also benefit your spine!
Sitting in a chair is perfectly fine, and you can lean back a little to feel the support of the chair. You want to be upright but not rigid, and if you do start to fall asleep – the head nod will definitely wake you up and bring you back to the present moment.
Just remember to not be harsh on yourself, it’s a skill you’re learning and it takes practice. Be kind to yourself as you begin to master your posture and your meditation. Every practice is a step forward!