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Can I meditate lying down?

by Andy Puddicombe

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Is it OK to meditate lying flat on your back?

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This is a very popular question, and from a real purist point of view, meditation can be done in one of four postures: standing, sitting, lying and walking. However, it is not quite as straightforward as that, and here’s why:

Sitting is the optimal position. It provides the perfect balance of focus and relaxation, or at least the potential for it. And yes, sitting on a chair is fine. When the body is upright, both the body and mind tend to be alert and attentive. At the same time, when we are seated, there is a certain degree of letting go and relaxation that takes place. Compare this to lying down, when most people immediately feel a little bit too relaxed and drift off to sleep, or standing, when most people feel a bit too tense after just a few minutes of standing still in one place. Walking is another thing altogether.

So generally speaking, sitting is always preferable to lying. The one exception is if we find ourselves in too much pain or discomfort to sit. In these situations, of course it is OK to lie flat on the floor as an alternative. If you decide to do this, I’d recommend placing a thin pillow under your head and bending your knees to 90 degrees so that your feet are flat on the floor. That way you’ll protect your lower back without placing any additional strain on it.

Warm wishes,
Andy


 Learn how to sit for a meditation:

Andy Puddicombe

Andy Puddicombe is a meditation and mindfulness expert. An accomplished presenter and writer, Andy is the voice of all things Headspace. In his early twenties, midway through a university degree in Sports Science, Andy made the unexpected decision to travel to the Himalayas to study meditation instead. It was the beginning of a ten-year journey which took him around the world, culminating with ordination as a Tibetan Buddhist monk in Northern India. His transition back to lay life in 2004 was no less extraordinary. Training briefly at Moscow State Circus, he returned to London where he completed a degree in Circus Arts with the Conservatoire of Dance and Drama, whilst drawing up the early plans for what was later to become Headspace.