Do you want to learn how to meditate? Here are some best yoga poses for meditation, perfect for beginners to advanced levels.
Regular meditation can benefit your physical, emotional and mental health. When we say meditation practice, we mean a unique and individual experience of delving into a self-explorative moment of stillness in mind. Yogic literature and practices have been evolving and growing thanks to the many traditional and modern teachings available and our personal exploration of life. Meditation has also been evolving in different directions and sensations, resulting in the fact that we now have many different types of meditation available for us to try.
Below we will list a few of the better-known types of meditation and meditation poses suitable for beginners and more experienced yoga practitioners.
Types of Yoga Meditation
First, let it be said that there is no such thing as right or wrong, good or bad when choosing a meditation type for yourself. Each one of us is an individual with our preferences and needs. We recommend trying out a variety to find the path which feels most comfortable to you at this particular time while not closing yourself to other possible experiences later on.
As the name suggests, guided meditation is done with a teacher or guide to lead you through your meditation practice. Here, you focus on the guide’s voice and allow your body and mind to follow his/her instructions. The practice usually begins with body awareness and relaxation and later moves on to one of the meditation techniques.
Guided meditation is a space we submit to and trust the teacher to light the way in our meditative journey.
Vipassana comes from traditional Buddhist meditation practices and is rooted in the Foundations of Mindfulness, or Satipatthana Sutta. This type of meditation is based on observation and self-exploration while focusing on the point of awareness and seeing the experience from the outside. Body and mind connections are strongly practiced in this meditation and are to be seen and experienced without judgment.
The Vipassana Meditation aims to disconnect from our past, experiences, traditions, and beliefs. It is moving us toward the true meaning of the Self and our existence.
The usage of mantra repetition in meditation comes from Hinduism and Buddhist traditions. This type of practice can be helpful for anyone having difficulties keeping their thoughts in check and need a focus point to which they can calmly return at any time.
Mantra meditation is based on sound, phrase or mantra repetition. At first, the mantra is pronounced out loud, then moving the lips silently with the phrase in your mind, to finally keep the mantra circulating only within the mind.
The mantra can be repeated for as long as you feel necessary and can also be set aside when you feel ready. In case the meditative state gets distracted, the mantra gently brings you back to the meditative state.
This meditation is based on the chakra system and uses a particular chakra as a focal point in the practice, depending on your intention and current needs. Chakra meditation is a way to delve deeper into your feelings and sensations by following the energy of the chakras and using your imagination and visualization to reach within.
Chakra Meditation can include color visualizations, chakra mantra chanting or silent repetition, candle gazing, Sparsha Mudra (using your touch to connect with each chakra), pranayama breath-work and other techniques which feel comfortable to include in the practice.
Chakra meditation is often done to energize, heal and open the chakra system or support a specific chakra that you feel might need your care and attention.
Also known as Trataka, in this meditation, we work with an external object – often the light of a candle – to settle our attention and focus. This meditation is done without closing the eyes completely. Therefore, it concentrates on keeping the awareness outward more than inwards.
The gaze should be consistent and focused, but it is completely normal to blink or look away from the light of the candle from time to time. This meditation should be done regularly to get used to these sensations, which will gradually allow the shifting of one’s attention and awareness toward another energy.
This practice can be helpful for anyone distracted by thoughts while meditating with closed eyes and might also be a great way to begin one’s meditation journey.
Bhakti Yoga Meditation
Bhakti Yoga Meditation, also known as Devotion Yoga meditation, is a traditional yogic practice in which we meditate on any higher divinity, object, nature force or energy we wish.
The essence of this meditation is to become one with the object, energy or divinity we have in our awareness by invoking its name, visualizing the presence close by, and finally, becoming one with its energy.
A special place or altar may be erected to create a strong energy connection with the chosen deity or force, but it is not an absolute necessity. Bhakti Yoga meditation provides a very “opening” and connective experience, giving you complete freedom in your focus of devotion.
Dhyana Yoga Meditation
Dhyana, from Sanskrit, meaning “contemplation and meditation,” is known as the seventh Limb of Ashtanga Yoga. Dhyana Yoga Meditation is a unique form of practicing a deep awareness of one’s consciousness by reaching a state of expansion from your existence. This is done by previously practicing Dharma Meditation and a chosen object of your focal point – such as the breath, a mantra or any object you wish to include in your practice.
With experience and time, you can put your thoughts and personal feelings aside and leave only the energy of your meditation focus. This is the stage when you can fully immerse into Dhyana Yoga Meditation.
This type of meditation intends to let go of any feelings, thoughts, sensations and the use of the senses.
Best Yoga Poses For Meditation
Traditionally meditation is done while sitting in a comfortable position, with relaxed shoulders and an erect spine. This means that there are many variations of meditation poses and it is completely fine to choose any of them at any time, depending on how you feel.
A meditation pose should, first and foremost, be suitable for your body and comfortable to hold for a time during your practice. Keeping your spine erect will help keep your mind attentive and aware-centered, preventing you from falling asleep.
Below we describe a few beginner meditation poses and more advanced variations to try whenever you feel curious and ready.
Beginner Meditation Poses
Sitting On A Chair
If you are a beginner and are still not completely comfortable with sitting on the ground, know that it is fine to go for a seated chair pose. You may use a back support if necessary or any cushioning that will allow your body to relax into your practice. Aim to keep your back straight, hips at a 90º angle, and feet fully touching the floor.
If you have started your meditation sitting on the ground but still adjusting to it, you can use a pillow or other support now and then and practice Yoga sequences focusing on the lower back and hip area.
Shavasana – Corpse Pose
Meditation lying down is recommended only if any other pose causes discomfort or pain. In such a case, lying down might be the best option to allow your body to relax more easily, connect to the practice, and delve into meditation.
What is important to remember is that when lying down, your body is not as attentive and focused as when the spine is erect, which may lead you to fall asleep. Choosing Shavasana as a yoga posture for meditation should be done with high awareness levels and attention to the practice.
Sukhasana – Easy Pose
Sukhasana is a comfortable seated position where your body can feel completely at ease. With this definition, you may choose your Pose as it feels comfortable for you, although traditionally, Easy Pose is done sitting with legs crossed, shoulders relaxed and spine erect.
To help you get used to this yoga meditation pose, you may use a pillow, towel roll, yoga blocks or any other support you feel might help you ease into the practice.
Supported Vajrasana – Kneeling And Sitting On The Heels With Cushioning
Kneeing is a difficult yoga meditation pose, but all that changes when we add support under the hips or knees. Vajrasana, and kneeling positions, in general, may help keep the spine elongated and straight. Therefore, it is a great choice for anyone looking for a meditation pose that will help with maintaining a straight back.
Vajrasana supports meditation can be done with knees close together or spread wide apart. Keeping the big toes touching together is essential, but it is also not obligatory. Listening to the body and adjusting oneself most comfortably is the first step in getting into a meditation pose.
Advanced Meditation Poses
Vajrasana – Sitting On The Heels
The unsupported version of the previously mentioned Vajrasana is a meditation pose that takes more time and experience to get used to. Sitting on the heels, with knees close to each other and big toes touching behind our backs, will allow our spine and head to lift high. This is a good meditation pose if you have no issues with the knees or hips, but for those with knee problems, it might be difficult to execute since you need to bend your knees sharply.
It is important to ensure you do not suffer discomfort or blood flow blockage when meditating in Vajrasana. If this happens, gently change your position and straighten your legs forward.
Ardha Padmasana – Half lotus
Half lotus is a great meditation pose for anyone preparing for a Lotus variation. To start, sit cross-legged on the ground and hug your right ankle to your chest. Then, releasing an exhale, lower the ankle towards the left hip, keeping the sole facing up. This will allow the top of your right foot to rest within the left hip crease.
If this feels comfortable, you may bend the left knee more and cross the left ankle under the opposite knee.
Make sure both of your hip bones are touching the ground and that you can keep your spine erect and shoulders relaxed.
Practicing this yoga meditation posture might take some time to get used to, but it is a great way to gradually reach Full Lotus Pose.
From Half Lotus, you may try meditating in Padmasana, the full Lotus yoga pose. Begin with getting into Ardha Padmasana, a Half Lotus variation, and continue to place the other sole of your feet into the opposite hip crease. Move gently and slowly, ensuring you follow your breath and do not cause any pain or discomfort in the hip and knee area.
This yoga meditation posture requires the lower body to reach a high level of flexibility. Its symmetrical and interconnectedness of the left and right sides is a highly recommended asana when delving deeper into meditation practices.
Meditation begins with finding a comfortable and relaxed position. Therefore it is important to find the one that fits your personal needs and body condition. Apart from the meditation pose, as we have described, there are different meditation types to try and practice according to your energy. Choosing the right yoga meditation asana and the kind of meditation can create a complete and unique meditative experience. Do not restrain your curiosity; be adventurous and explore the vast avenues of yoga and meditation on your own or with a meditation guide or teacher. However, if you wish to learn more about meditation and how to delve deeper into your practice, we invite you to join our Calm Your Spirit, Soothe Your Mind online meditation course.