3 Things To Keep In Mind When Finding The Right Spot To Meditate

I am currently sitting cross-legged in a red squashy chair with my laptop in my lap. There is sunlight streaming in from a window on my right and blowing palm trees outside. Cheesy elevator jazz music is playing and there is a nice mix of conversations, feet walking on pristinely shiny floors, a coffee grinder and milk steamer going off occasionally that creates this nice buzz of sound. An elevator dings, a voice with a lovely accent calls out a complicated espresso drink. 

It is perfect spot for me to work. It has the right amount of sound, the right chair and the right vibe for me to get into the zone.  

It is the second day that I am in Orlando, Florida for a training that I decided to sign up after a profound experience at a seminar in a town near my home. After this week is over, I will have learned two powerful breath work techniques to energize, calm, and heal – it is going to be so amazing! 

As I sit here in this chair, I realize how much I like to nest.

I like to find and create the spot that feels just right when I am working, when I am relaxing, when I practice yoga, and when I meditate. This chair that I am sitting in now took me two mornings find, and now that I’ve found it, I will surely be back.

At home I am very much the same. 

My husband has chuckled at me time and time again when he comes home and finds me in the kitchen on our comfy chairs with stools all around me, laptop on one, notepads and binders on another, a mug of tea with a tea kettle on the third, a blanket draped over my lap with a sleeping, very melty kitty curled heavily in my lap.

I need to feel safe, the space needs to feel just right, the lighting, the cushioning beneath me, the sounds, the comforts all need to be there. I am the Goldilocks of…what? Working? Writing? Meditating? Yoga-ing?

When I look for a meditation spot I am less picky about certain things like sounds (learning to meditation with annoying sounds around me has been a hugely helpful experience), but it needs the right cushioning, the right temperature (or a good blanket), and the right vibe. 

My spot changes when at home from day to day, mostly I go on kicks where I feel most cozy in one room and then one day I go to sit down and it doesn’t feel right so I pick up and find another spot. 

How do you find a great spot to meditate in your home or office?

1. Find the right cushioning

First you must decide if you are going to sit cross-legged or not. If you are not sitting cross-legged (something I highly recommend if you are not regularly sitting in a cross-legged position) there are a few options.

If you are not sitting cross-legged:

Sit on a chair.

Find a chair that feels right underneath your hips and thighs. 

Make sure your feet comfortably touch the floor (under your knees) and if they don’t, grab blocks or stacked books, a bolster, a pillow or a few folded blankets and put them under your feet so they can be flat and comfy. 

Next, get the right back support. 

Some meditations recommend no back support. While this may sound scary and very uncomfortable, simply slide to the edge of your chair and tilt your pelvis forward slightly which allows your spine to stand tall. 

Other meditations recommend using back support. 

A lot of chairs are either too reclined or too upright for the spine to feel good. I like to use a small folded blanket or towel or a small pillow behind my lower back. 

Why the lower back and not the upper back? The lower back has a natural curve inward and the mid/upper back curves outward. If you use this to your advantage and place support that works with these curves, you will be able to sit upright (not slouched or leaning back) and feel supported. So a pillow behind the lower back allows the spine to be supported at its natural curves. 

Find a chair that feels right underneath your hips and thighs. 

Make sure your feet comfortably touch the floor (under your knees) and if they don’t, grab blocks or stacked books, a bolster, a pillow or a few folded blankets and put them under your feet so they can be flat and comfy. 

Next, get the right back support. 

Some meditations recommend no back support. While this may sound scary and very uncomfortable, simply slide to the edge of your chair and tilt your pelvis forward slightly which allows your spine to stand tall. 

Other meditations recommend using back support. 

A lot of chairs are either too reclined or too upright for the spine to feel good. I like to use a small folded blanket or towel or a small pillow behind my lower back. 

Why the lower back and not the upper back? The lower back has a natural curve inward and the mid/upper back curves outward. If you use this to your advantage and place support that works with these curves, you will be able to sit upright (not slouched or leaning back) and feel supported. So a pillow behind the lower back allows the spine to be supported at its natural curves. 

Sit on a couch.

Follow the same steps as above only on a couch. I use this option quite a bit, but since couches tend to be deeper than chairs, I usually need to grab a few pillows to prop behind my back so my feet can be at ease on the floor. 

Sit on your bed.

Yeah, you read that right. It’s okay to sit in your bed! But please sit upright so you actually meditate and not just sleep. (Curious about that? Read next week’s blog post and learn why it is important to sit while meditating).

Sit upright in your bed with pillows behind you and your legs flat on the bed (or cross-legged if that’s your thing). The pillow set up I tend to like here is a creating an upside down “T”. I place one pillow standing tall against my headboard, then take another pillow and lay it down wide behind my lower back. Slide your hips firmly all the way back into the pillows to keep the spine upright, rather than just reclined. 

If you are sitting cross-legged, you can use the few options above or the following:

Sit on the floor.

Grab some support to lift the hips using a folded blanket, towel, pillows, cushions, or a bolster. Here is a rule of thumb to maintain the natural curve in the spine as mentioned above:

Don’t let your knees be higher than your hips!

If your knees are higher than your hips, this causes the lower back to round outwards. Go ahead, try it and feel the difference. 

If the lower back is rounded, then the muscles of the front of the hips have to stay engaged to keep you from falling backwards, and the middle/upper back muscles need to engage to try to hold you upright. This gets really tiring after a while and super distracting. 

When the natural curves of the spine are supported with cushions or just supported under the hips, then those muscles can relax and the spine can hold itself up. 

2. Find the right temperature.

When you meditate and go into a more relaxed state, your body temperature may naturally lower, making you feel cold.

I always like to make sure I’m nice and toasty so that feeling doesn’t distract me. I love using a blanket, but find the right layers for you and your environment.

3. Find the right vibe.

Your eyes will be closed, don’t get me wrong, but I still like to find a space that I like the look of.

If I like the way my environment looks when my eyes are open, I close my eyes with that feeling and knowing it feels nice and inviting around me. 

Some of my students like to create a designated meditation space or room that is used solely for meditation with all the “right’ cushioning, layers, and vibe they are looking for.

They like to decorate the space with a candle, artwork, stones, etc. so that when they walk by it, they are more drawn to meditate. 

Since I am like Goldilocks and my preferences change from day to day, I like to have a few places in my home that feel ‘just right’. One space is more open and light, another is darker and cozier. I use a chair in my kitchen on mornings where I am fitting my meditation in and want to maximize as much time as possible. On mornings like these I walk downstairs, start the coffee, feed the cat, set my breakfast to simmer, grab my blanket and pillow and curl up on my comfy chair in the kitchen. 

I also like to have and recommend to any other meditation practitioner, several ways I know I like to sit.

I do spend a lot of my day in a cross-legged position so I use various versions of this while meditating, but I also like to have a few that don’t require that so I can meditate wherever I am and if my hips feel tight and resistant to sitting cross-legged.

Try this exercise.

Set a timer for 10 minutes, grab a handful of blankets, pillows, towels, cushions, or whatever you have at home and walk around your house trying out different places.

In these 10 minutes, challenge yourself to find 3 ways you feel comfortable to be seated for meditation. Try out your bed, your couch, different chairs, different cushions on the floor away from the wall and up against it.

Go ahead, create a little nest for yourself so your body can be as comfortable as possible while meditating.

What if you are still uncomfortable? Tune into next week’s blog post to learn about why we sit while meditating and what to do if you follow all of these steps and still experience discomfort during your practice.

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