How to Meditate - Meditation Preparation and Posture
The only thing you really need for meditation is YOU. No fancy bells, extremely flexible hips, or sage-burning necessary. That being said, there are some ways to set your space and tools to use to make the experience that much more relaxing and comfortable.
If you’re new to meditation, it can be pretty intimidating, just like most new things! I remember the first time I went to a yoga class I had no clue what to wear and I googled it before going so I didn’t look out of place. Socks? No socks? Do I show up barefoot?
So, if you’re here to find out what to wear and do in order to meditate, you’ve come to the right spot. I hope I can help clear things up for you.
What to Wear
The good news is, unlike most new activities, you don’t need any special clothing to meditate. You can literally wear what you have on and still complete a perfectly satisfactory meditation.
But if you want to make your practice a little more relaxing, skip the denim and opt for loose-fitting clothes, ideally with some stretch to them. This will help you bend your knees more freely.
If you’re going to a meditation studio, they will often ask you to remove your shoes before entering the meditation room. They should have a designated space in the lobby area to keep your shoes during your practice.
What to Bring
If you’re going to a meditation studio, they will often have zafus and chairs you can freely use. I have never been to a studio that doesn’t provide something for you to sit on. So, you can safely go without bringing your own means of sitting.
The short answer is, just bring yourself.
Setting the Space
Most of the time, you will probably be meditating from home. This is where this section comes in handy. If you’re going to a studio, all of this is already done for you, so you can skip this section.
Find a space that's quiet and not too bright, but also not too dark. Find yourself a medium-lit room. You don't want the space to put you to sleep!
Next, prepare a spot to sit. This can be on a chair, on your bed or on a bolster like a zafu.
If you want to take it to the next level, you can burn some candles to put you in the right zone. Maybe even rub some essential oils on your chest and wrists. Anything you can do to help you get relaxed. But it’s definitely not a necessary component of meditation preparation.
I recommend sitting during meditation so you don't fall asleep. Some people lay down to meditate, but laying down posture makes it pretty easy to fall asleep.
You’re meditating to stay alert and focused, so find a position where you can achieve both. For most people, this is in a seated posture.
Next, take a seat and cross your legs in a position that is comfortable for you. Don't stress about looking like a monk in lotus pose.
Do what feels good in your body. I cannot emphasize this part enough. If you’re struggling to get into position, you’re going to be uncomfortable for your whole practice.
Meditation and mindfulness are all about nonjudgment. So if you can’t cross your legs into a pretzel, no one is going to judge you for it. Find a chair or bend your knees in a way that works for you. Your knees will thank you for it.
For a super comfortable practice, I recommend using a zafu meditation cushion (here's how to sit on a zafu). It helps to achieve proper posture and comfortable alignment of your legs, hips, and spine. If you don’t have a zafu, you can fold a pillow in half or simply sit in a chair.
Once seated, rotate your torso in circles a few times to settle in. Then sit straight, shoulders over hips, and look down about 3-4 feet in front of you.
This is the angle you want for your head. It should be comfortable and not straining. You can keep your eyes at this gaze or close them during your practice.
Finally, place your hands in a position on your lap or on your thighs. Hands facing up on your thighs welcomes energy, while hands facing down keeps your energy circulating within. You're ready to start!