How Should I Sit While Meditating?

In the famous Anapanasati sutta, or, for those who don’t read Pali, the Discourse on Mindfulness of Breathing, the Buddha begins his meditation instructions by describing the way the meditator should sit. “[The meditator] … sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, and setting mindfulness to the fore.”

There is a lot of advice out there on the best or proper way to sit during meditation. For some teachers, the exact sitting posture is extremely important, while for others, it is only mentioned in passing. I feel that meditation can and should be done in any position that is convenient, so I tend to approach the topic of sitting posture from a pragmatic perspective.

The following infographic sums up my advice for how to sit during meditation


How to Work with Pain and Other Intense Sensations while Meditating

Let’s face it, sitting and meditating, especially when we are new to it, haven’t done it in a while, or are doing a longer sit than usual, can get pretty uncomfortable. There is a common misconception that, if you are “doing it right”, meditation is supposed to be a peaceful, relaxing, perhaps even blissful experience. Sure, that can happen, and it’s wonderful when it does, but it’s not the reality for most people most of the time, especially when engaged in mindfulness practices.

So, what do you do when you experience pain or other intense sensations during meditation?


How to Handle Distractions while Meditating

A common question that beginners ask is “How should I handle distractions when meditating?”

This is a great question.  It can be helpful to take the perspective that there is actually no such thing as a “distraction” – there are only sensations: physical sensations, sounds, sights, tastes, smells and thoughts.  If there is a sensation that is occurring that begins to predominate, then switch your focus to that sensation, instead of trying to ‘ignore’ it or focus on something else.  Then carefully observe the new sensation.

Constructive Bliss

I’ll illustrate what I mean using an example from my own practice.