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Are you a caffeine-dependent busy bee just about stretched too thin?
A friend might have recommended you try meditation to lower your stress levels.
After all, there are no excuses for not meditating – you can take as little as 5 minutes to yourself in your desk chair at work to meditate, clear the mental clutter, and refocus on the task at hand.
Instead of using your break to bang on the keyboard and scream helplessly at your temporarily frozen-loading laptop or slow wi-fi, set yourself up in a solid meditation position and breathe your troubles away from your inner calm.
Your brain will thank you.
Better yet, get into the habit of meditation before it approaches a mental necessity – you’ll find yourself less stressed, less anxious, more emotionally healthy, more self-aware, and your sleep will improve, among other things.
It’s easily accessible (you don’t need any fancy equipment to meditate), and the benefits are absolutely worth it.
If you start meditating now, you could save yourself the stress of an overworked, burned-out breakdown later on.
If you’re new to the world of meditation, we’ve got a few great foundational meditation poses to show you – they’re great for beginners and beyond.
The Quarter Lotus
The quarter lotus is the top recommended meditation pose for beginners, considering it’s just sitting criss-cross applesauce like in elementary school.
Put your hands wherever feels comfortable and close your eyes.
If you can’t cross your legs due to knee trouble or you don’t feel comfortable meditating in a cross-legged position for however long you plan to meditate, you can try the Burmese position instead.
The rest of your body stays in the same position as the quarter lotus (it’s incredibly similar, after all), but instead of crossing your legs under your knees, you should just have them loosely folded in front of you.
The Full Lotus
This meditation pose is probably what first comes to your mind when you think of meditation. Your legs should be crossed with each of your feet resting on top of the opposite thigh.
Can’t quite get your knees and ankles to bend that way? That’s totally fine! You can try sitting in a half lotus until you get used to it. Fold one foot over the opposite thigh – from there, you can either leave the bottom leg extended or you can gently fold it under the other knee.
Seiza or Kneeling Position
Don’t like crossing your legs? Try kneeling instead – it’s a good way to keep your back straight. Rest on the floor with shins flat and your ankles under your butt. Keep your weight shifted back and down through your hips to avoid putting too much pressure on your knees.
If you need to further relieve pressure on your knees, you can put a cushion between your butt and heels.
This position shouldn’t be painful, so pick a different pose if it hurts.
Ah, the most convenient of the meditation poses – the chair position. This is the position that makes meditation so versatile. Having a rough day at work? Just readjust your body posture in your chair and take a few minutes – likely no one would even know you’re meditating.
You should be sitting in your chair with a straight back (make sure your head and neck are in line with your spine) and your feet flat on the floor. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle. You might need to scoot to the edge of your chair for the correct positioning.
Need extra comfort or support? Pop a pillow under your hips or behind your lower back.
Some people prefer standing to sitting – I’m not one of those people, but you might be!
If you’re up for a standing meditation session, stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your toes should be pointed out slightly with your heels a bit inward. You’ll want the slightest bend in your knees.
Root yourself to the ground down through your feet. You can put your hands wherever you feel comfortable, but we suggest putting your hands on your belly, so you can feel yourself breathe.
The issue with lying down for meditation is that you might fall asleep. The good thing about lying down is that you might find it easier to relax and release tension in your body as it’s fully supported by the ground.
You’ll want to lie on your back with your arms alongside your body, slightly extended. Keep your feet hip-distance apart, and don’t worry if your toes are pointing up or to the sides.
Uncomfortable? Pop a pillow under your knees or bend them so your feet are flat against the ground.
Seven-Point Meditation Posture
The seven-point meditation posture is more of a set of guidelines than an actual meditation pose.
You can take any kind of basic sitting position and then go through the seven points to correct your meditation posture.
For the first point of posture, you’ll want to choose a meditation position that you’re comfortable in so you can focus on meditating. Your preferred position depends mostly on your personal preferences, but your flexibility always plays a role.
No matter what pose you choose to sit in, you’ll want to keep your back as straight as possible. If you’re a sloucher, catch yourself if you’re swaying slightly backward or forward and correct your posture. Lengthen your spine on the inhale and root yourself to the ground on the exhale. Imagine your spine as a stack of coins and feel the line of energy straight through your body.
You can rest your hands on your thighs palms up or palms down, you can stack them on your lap, you can hold them in front of you or fold them to your chest – it’s up to you. Keeping your hands palms down is recommended as it will help keep you grounded and relaxed while meditating.
Shake out your shoulders because you’ll want to keep them comfortable and relaxed as you meditate. Roll them slightly back and down to keep your chest and heart open and your back strong. Check in with your posture as you meditate – make sure your shoulders are even and down and away from your ears.
You’ll want to keep your chin slightly tucked in while continuing to maintain the length in the back of your neck and down your spine. Keep your face relaxed – even better, turn the corners of your face up a little, maybe smile a bit to help and release the tension in your face.
The point of posture in your jaw works in a similar way as your chin – you want to release any tension you hold there. Keep your jaw open. You may also find it helpful to press your tongue to the roof of your mouth as you open your jaw – it automatically relaxes your jaw, helps you take in clear breaths, and slows down the swallowing process. Try doing a few exaggerated yawns to stretch your jaw and get rid of tension.
Most commonly, people will meditate with their eyes closed so you’ll probably find that the easiest way to go too. When you close your eyes, don’t squeeze your eyes shut. You want to close them softly to keep your face, eyes, and eyelids relaxed. You can also meditate with open eyes. It’s best to keep your gaze unfocused on the floor a few feet ahead of you. Relax your face and make sure you don’t squint. Decide ahead of time if you want to meditate with your eyes open or closed so you’re not distracted during your practice by switching back and forth.
Try One of These Beginner Meditation Poses
Now that you have an idea of some of the meditation poses available to you, try them out along with different meditation styles to find what works best for you.
Your future self will thank you for kicking off a lifelong habit of meditation.