July 14, 2019 Berni Kozlowski, Blog

Meditate Without Sitting Cross-legged on the Floor.  Here’s How!

Written by Berni Kozlowski

Does the image of sitting cross-legged on the floor make you excited to meditate or does it feel like an obstacle to meditation because you have creaky knees or simply don’t want to sit on the floor?

In a previous post , I discussed cultural and personal blocks to meditation vs a more “instinctive” style of meditation. One of the first blocks can be the misunderstanding that you have to be on the floor, sitting cross-legged.

Unlike most eastern cultures, in North America, our bodies didn’t develop culturally by sitting on the floor.  We started sitting in chairs from our earliest years.  Thus, you might not be built to sit cross-legged without discomfort.  Like me, you also may have wear and tear that makes it difficult. I have creaky knees from my basketball days. Sitting on the floor for more than a few minutes can be painful. Does that mean I can’t have access to “real” meditation?

Absolutely not!

If you doubt me, try this. The next time someone gives you a meditation instruction that says you must sit in the correct meditation posture of “X”, ask yourself what position your body craves and be a rebel.  Do what works for you. Your body knows what it needs. Listen.  You might want to sit on the floor and that is wonderful.   Throw out any perceived rules which go against what suits you, your body, and your needs at the moment. Then meditate.  Feel how it feels.

Explore meditation while sitting, laying down, and walking. You can be in your favorite recliner, on the coach, in a beach chair, on a park bench, sitting at your computer at work, standing in line, riding your bike, or in a waiting room. 

Doesn’t having options sound better to you?

In my group classes, I place chairs in a circle so that everyone feels welcome. Nobody has to feel intimidated, like can often happen if they have physical restrictions, but walking into a room full of yoga mats. 

Sitting cross legged on the floor when you don’t want to may lead to feeling  agitated or uncomfortable. When you sit in a position that allows for deep rest, well… you rest

 A friend once told me they went to an Ashram for training, meditating up to 10 hours a day for many days.  I asked her what happened if she came out of the required posture.  She told me that a person came around and made them get back into that particular posture. She added that after several days of sitting that long her knees were shot.

Let this remind you how easy instinctive meditation can be. If any instruction makes you feel like you are failing, the instruction is not meant for you. ADAPT IT. CHANGE IT. IGNORE IT. What works for someone else may not work for you, when it comes to meditation.  As a meditation teacher, I empower you right away to start crafting a practice that works for YOU. 

Contact Berni for more information on learning the process of developing an instinctive meditation practice. Private and small group trainings are available, in-person or remotely.