Of all the postures and activities, the seated position is acknowledged as superior for meditation for it offers the optimum blend of relaxation and alertness. Naturally, there are many forms of sitting. Over the centuries, the Buddhist tradition has developed guidelines for sitting, so that posture and practice can bring the greatest meditative benefit.

Seated meditation is not intended to force the body into a rigid stillness, but is designed to allow  it to relax progressively to the point where it settles into perfect equipoise.  When proper sitting posture has been achieved, one will feel quite alert both mentally and physically.

Seven Points of Posture for Seated Meditation​

In sitting meditation, one should observe the seven points of the correct sitting posture. Each of these criteria has been used unchanged since ancient days. The purpose of aligning these areas of the body is to stabilize the body so one can focus the mind.

1. Legs

Seated meditation postures are described in greater length below. Choose a posture that will be comfortable and stable for twenty minutes or so. The key point is that your legs release downward and the pelvis is allowed to tip forward slightly. If seated on a cushion, your knees and buttocks form three contact points with the ground allowing you to be rooted and strong.

2. Spine

The spine must be upright. This does not mean to thrust your chest forward, but rather to make sure that your lower back is erect, not slumped, and that your chin is tucked in. Both of these points help you to maintain a naturally upright spine. An upright spine also means a vertical spine, leaning neither forward nor backward, right or left.

3. Hands

In seated meditation, our hands form a posture called “Dharma Realm Samadhi Mudra,” which translates as: the posture or gesture (mudra) of oneness (samadhi) with reality (Dharma realm). This hand posture helps the smooth circulation of internal energies and helps harmonize the body with the external world. The open right palm is underneath, and the open left palm rests in the right palm. The thumbs lightly touch to form a closed circle or oval. The hands are placed in front of the abdomen, and rest on the legs.

4. Shoulders

Relax the shoulders. Be natural. And let your arms hand loose. If you feel any tension in these areas, just relax them.

5. Tongue

The tip of the tongue should be lightly touching the roof of the mouth just behind the front teeth. This prevents your mouth from being dry. If you have too much saliva, you can let go of this connection. If you have no saliva at all, you can apply a little bit of pressure with the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth.

6. Mouth

The mouth should be closed. Breath through the nose, not through the mouth.

7. Eyes

The eyes should be slightly open and gazing downward at a forty-five degree angle. Rest the eyes in that direction, but do not look at anything. Closing the eyes may cause drowsiness, or visual illusions. However, if your eyes feel very tired you can close them for a short while.

Sitting Postures

In this section we detail several potential postures one can assume for sitting meditation. While there may be several postures appropriate for sitting meditation, they all share the same principle: the legs and buttocks provide a stable base that allows to pelvis to come slightly upward and forward, and bring the lower back and torso into comfortable alignment as described above.

Full-Lotus Posture

To make the full lotus, put the right foot on the left thigh, then put the left foot crossed over the right leg onto the right thigh. To reverse the direction of the feet is also acceptable.

Half-Lotus Posture

The half lotus position requires that one foot be crossed over onto the thigh of the other. The other foot will be placed underneath the raised leg.

Loose Sitting Posture

There is a position called the loose sitting, in which the legs are crossed and both feet rest flat on the floor, one leg in front of the other. It is likely best to not cross the ankles on top of one another as this may cause pain over time.

Kneeling Posture

In this position, kneel with the legs together. The upper part of the body can be erect from knee to head, or the buttocks can be resting on the heels, a cushion, or a meditation bench.

Chair Sitting Posture

If physical problems prevent sitting in any of the above positions, then sitting on a chair is also possible.  Even sitting on a chair, the spine must be erect and the body comfortable. Sit on the forward edge of the seat with the upper legs parallel to the floor.
Scroll to Top