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Can you meditate lying down? The short answer is yes. Meditation is a mental practice, therefore there’s no reason why it can’t be performed lying down. In fact, meditating while lying down can be a particularly relaxing practice and can be performed lying on the floor or in bed.
When we hear the word “meditation” many of us conjure a specific image of someone meditating that usually involves a buddha or yogi type sitting in a cave or in nature in a robe or loincloth.
Their legs are folded, and their torso impossibly erect with a mysteriously content expression on their face.
While traditions of meditation vary from Mindfulness to Vipassana to Zazen to Transcendental meditation and more, invariably the first instructions are to “find a comfortable seated position” and the rest of it goes on from there.
But, is it possible to meditate while lying down? Or while lying in bed?
While not a traditional way to meditate, the answer is yes.
It is, in fact possible to meditate in any position or setting, including standing, walking or lying down.
That’s because meditation is, in the end, a mental exercise to help calm the mind and allow you to sense a deeper connection with yourself.
And while sitting is helpful to prevent you from falling asleep, it’s not a requirement for meditation.
Why Meditate Lying Down
There are many reasons to meditate while lying down.
Many beginning meditation students, for example, find seated meditation uncomfortable on their backs, shoulders and/or knees.
Or you might have a physical condition that makes it difficult to sit and meditate.
Or you might simply be tired and prefer to do your meditation practice in a more restful position.
In any case, feel free to experiment with meditation while lying down, either on the floor or in your bed.
In fact, meditation while lying down can promote a deep sense of relaxation and rest, helping to reduce feelings of anxiety and symptoms of sleeplessness.
Best Positions for Lying Down Meditation
– Meditating while lying on the floor: If you’re lying on the floor, you can lie down in Savasasa (Sanskrit for Corpse pose), the final resting pose at the end of yoga classes.
To experience Savasana, lie on your back and stretch your arms over your head while pointing your toes away from your body, giving yourself a nice full-body stretch.
Now, bring your arms down along your sides with your palms turned upward to allow you to broaden across your chest.
Tuck your pelvis slightly under to remove any excessive curvature in the lower back.
If you feel discomfort in your lower back while lying down, you may place a cushion or pillow under your knees to help alleviate any lower back discomfort.
Or you may bend your knees, placing the soles of your feet on the floor and keeping the legs at a 90-degree angle to relieve any discomfort in your back.
If your legs are straight, allow the feet to fall open if that’s their natural tendency, relaxing your leg muscles completely.
Roll your head gently from side to side a couple of times, finally centering it above your neck and spine.
Relax the muscles of your face, including your jaw, and breathe naturally.
– Meditating while lying in bed (you may replicate the Savasana position described above or you may opt for a different variation): Stack one or more pillows lengthwise behind you to elevate your head and chest.
Place one or more pillows or a rolled-up blanket under your knees.
You may wish to wrap your feet in a blanket if they’re cold. This also provides a sensation of comfort.
You may also wish to cover yourself with a blanket.
Optionally, you could place an eye pillow over your eyes or wear a sleep mask to increase the sensation of internalization and relaxation.
Lie with your arms by your sides or gently place one hand on your lower abdomen with the other hand in the middle of your chest to increase the sensation of connection to your body and promote a feeling of self-care.
– Meditating while lying on your side: If lying on your back is uncomfortable, whether on the floor or in bed, you can also lie on your side by placing a pillow under your head to protect your neck.
Bend your knees at 90 degrees and place a pillow between your knees.
Optionally, place another pillow under your upper arm to keep the chest and torso more open and promote an elongated spine.
If you already have a regular meditation practice, you can use it while lying down.
If you would like some meditation ideas here’s a list just for you:
- Listen to a recorded meditation.
- Breathe naturally and observe the rise and fall of your chest and belly as you inhale and exhale.
- Repeat the mantra “So” on each inhalation and “Ham” on each exhalation. “So Ham” is Sanskrit for “I am this”, reminding us that we are nothing more than our body breathing in this present moment.
- Observe all your senses, taste, touch, smell, sight and sound, one by one. Allow yourself to feel any sensations related to touch such as the temperature of the air on your skin or the feel of your clothes on your body. Sense any smells such as the scent of a candle or the smell of your freshly washed sheets. If your eyes are open, take in any sights, observing colors, textures and light. Observe any tastes in your mouth, bringing your attention to the various parts of your tongue, the tip, the sides, the center and the back. Pay attention to any sounds in your environment. Try to hear first the sounds that are closest to you and then the sounds that are most distant.
- Do a body scan, starting from the top of your head and ending at your feet, paying attention to each part of your body individually. Repeat the scan for the duration of your meditation practice.
- Observe your thoughts as though you were watching them drift through your mind like clouds, letting them come and go without trying to control or judge them.
- Smile and let the smile become an internal smile that spreads joy and light throughout your whole body.
- Focus your attention on your heart center and with each inhalation, feel your heart filling with vibrant energy and with each exhalation, allow that energy to expand to your entire body, filling you with an energy of healing light and love.
Meditating while lying down can provide a feeling of deep rest and rejuvenation.
Relieved of the strain felt while sitting, you may actually find your mind is more at ease while lying down, allowing for a deeper meditation experience.
Enjoy experimenting with meditating while lying down and reap the benefits of this soothing practice.
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