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What is the Best Way to Meditate?

What is the best way to meditate? This is a highly debated topic in the yoga community. Questions that typically arise involve how to correctly position your body for ultimate meditation, as well as debates over whether the goal is to empty your mind or allow your thoughts to flow freely. The belief that we must sit like a pretzel for hours and hours, with our legs twisted up in lotus position in order to engage in effective meditation may be one reason why many people shy away from meditating. It is true that most ancient yogis were traditional and adhered to very specific meditative practices in order to achieve enlightenment.

But is there really only one way to meditate? I believe that modern meditative yoga practice can take on different appearances.

Meditation in Yoga PracticeYogic philosophy encourages acceptance of oneself and others. Inclusivity is key. So why would we insist that people must sit for extended periods of time (and sometimes in extreme discomfort) while meditating? Ancient yogis usually practiced padmasana (lotus pose) while meditating, but what if lotus pose is not accessible to their body? The best way to sit in meditation is the posture that is most comfortable for you. Yoga poses should have a wide base and provide a gentle, natural curve to your spine.

Using a cushion, yoga blocks, a folded blanket and even a wall, can be useful items in keeping our body at ease and motionless. It is up to you which position choose to meditate in. The following is a list of popular positions to sit in while meditating:

Standing Meditation in Class

  • Lotus
  • Half lotus
  • Diamond
  • Easy cross legged pose
  • In a chair
  • Sitting with your back against a wall
  • Laying down
  • Laying down with your legs up the wall
  • Supported cobbler’s pose

Your choice of position is as individual as you are. You can also change your position from day-to-day. This encourages you to listen to your body and let it guide you.

So what is the goal of yoga? For me, emptying my mind feels like a daunting and unrealistic expectation. At this point in my life, I see meditation as a way of quieting the clutter in my mind. I practice accepting my thoughts and try not to judge them as they pop up. Meditation teaches us to resist the impulse to react to what normally would be strong thoughts and feelings. We learn to become a witness to the nature of our minds. We learn to listen quietly and then to let go.

So what is the goal of yoga? For me, emptying my mind feels like a daunting and unrealistic expectation. At this point in my life, I see meditation as a way of quieting the clutter in my mind. I practice accepting my thoughts and try not to judge them as they pop up. Meditation teaches us to resist the impulse to react to what normally would be strong thoughts and feelings. We learn to become a witness to the nature of our minds. We learn to listen quietly and then to let go.

A meditative practice might involve using visualization, mantra (either spoken or unspoken), a walking meditation or using music. Meditation holds the key to developing a wonderful sense of ease within your body. It helps to create a peaceful balance between your inside world and outside world. Isn’t that the most important part of a meditative process? Does it really matter how we achieve that state? You need to choose a meditative position and technique that resonates with you as a unique person. When you do, you will return to that practice over and over again to reap the benefits.

Author: Natalie Shoemaker
Editor: Laura Phelps

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