Finding Peace: Can You Meditate Lying Down?

January 18, 2024
Finding Peace Can You Meditate Lying Down


Meditating While Lying Down: Pros, Cons, and How To Set Up for a Successful Meditation

You’re sitting on the floor with your legs crossed and tucked close to your body. Your spine is straight, your eyes are closed, and you’re drawing your focus inward and beginning to relax.

Suddenly, your hip cramps. You shift slightly to alleviate the discomfort. Okay, back to focusing inward, and you achieve a few more moments of solid concentration. Now, your new position is triggering a twinge in your lower back.

Sitting for an extended period — especially in a typical meditation pose — can be difficult, especially if you’re experiencing pain or discomfort.

Lying down meditation may be an alternative that can help you relax fully into a mindfulness routine. Join us as we explore the dynamics of meditating while lying down and learn how to implement it into your meditation journey.

Table of Contents

Can You Meditate Lying Down?
What Is Lying Down Meditation Called?
Is Meditation Effective While Lying Down?
Potential Benefits and Drawbacks of Meditating While Lying Down
How To Set Up To Meditate Lying Down in 7 Steps
3 Meditations To Try While Lying Down
No Matter the Meditation Position You Prefer, Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi Can Offer Assistance and Support With Your Meditation Practice

Can You Meditate Lying Down?

Yes, you can meditate while lying down. The essence of meditation is not about the position of your body — it’s about mental connection and finding the best way to engage with yourself in a peaceful state.

Physical position during meditation can influence our state of mind. Everyone is different, and while one person may find their perfect state of mind while sitting, another may find it easier to focus while lying down.

In particular, lying down is an excellent option if sitting causes physical pain or discomfort that may distract you from focusing during meditation. You’ll just need to be able to stay awake and focused.

What Is Lying Down Meditation Called?

The act of meditating while lying down doesn’t have a universal name. You may see it referred to as:

• Supine meditation
• Reclining meditation
• Savasana meditation
• Meditating while lying down
• Lying down meditation

Is Meditation Effective While Lying Down?

Meditating while lying down can be as effective as any other position. A crucial component of meditating is finding the most effective position for you — the position that will allow you to relax and connect with yourself.

The most effective position for meditation is the position that allows you to develop a sustainable, fulfilling routine. have shown that long-term meditation may positively affect health, but building consistency and maintaining regular meditation sessions is essential.

The more consistently you meditate, the more effective the process will be and the more likely you will be to achieve the goals you set for yourself when starting a meditation journey. If lying down helps you meditate consistently, it may be your most effective position.

Potential Benefits and Drawbacks of Meditating While Lying Down

Benefit: More Comfortable

Many people begin their meditation journey with small sessions of 3-5 minutes and typically work into longer sessions (though there are no hard and fast rules about how long you should meditate).

Holding an upright, sitting position may be comfortable for shorter meditation sessions. As your sessions grow longer, you may find that sitting isn’t as comfortable.

When we lie down, our bodies naturally fall into a relaxed state, facilitating overall comfort.

Benefit: Can Ease Pain or Discomfort

Although some purists may say that meditating in an upright seated posture is the best approach, sitting while meditating may be difficult for beginners or anyone with a physical limitation that makes sitting uncomfortable or painful.

Meditation requires your mind to focus. Pain and discomfort can be highly detrimental to your ability to completely bring your focus inward.

Lying down can make meditation a more accessible practice for anyone with chronic pain or acute injuries like muscle soreness because it can alleviate tension.

Benefit: Easier Spine Alignment

Aligning the spine is an essential aspect of meditation, as the spine holds five of the seven .

Lying down on a flat surface may help you maintain a neutral, aligned spine, which facilitates proper breathing and encourages deep mental focus.

Drawback: Risk of Falling Asleep

Can you lie down and meditate without drifting off to sleep? This will be an important question to ask yourself because, while there are meditation techniques to help you sleep, the general goal of meditation is to help you practice mindfulness.

Falling asleep may keep you from experiencing the many benefits of meditation.

To combat the urge to drift off to sleep, you can:

• Lie on a blanket or mat on the floor — don’t lie in your bed
• Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor
• Move to a sitting position for a portion of your meditation

How To Set Up To Meditate Lying Down in 7 Steps

#1: Dim the Lights

Light can be distracting to your eyes while settling into your meditation session. If the lights in your space are on the ceiling, you may want to anticipate their potential impact on your concentration during reclined meditation.

If possible, dim or turn your lights off and use a lamp or natural light that won’t be in your direct line of vision.

#2: Get in a Comfortable Position

Laying Flat

If you have taken any Body & Brain yoga classes, you may be familiar with the relaxation posture while lying down. The positioning of this pose is a good option for keeping your spine aligned during supine meditation.

To get into position, you’ll want to:

1. Lie down on your back on a yoga mat, and separate your legs to about hip-width apart.
2. Relax your legs and ankles.
3. Extend your arms downward and outward, slightly apart from your torso.
5. Close your eyes.

If you find that lying in this position for an extended period causes pain or discomfort in your lower back, permit yourself to adjust.

You may consider switching to a semi-supine posture. While still on your back:

1. Bend your knees.
2. Plant your feet slightly wider than your hips.
3. To relax, point your toes slightly inward — your knees will naturally rest against each other.
4. Move your feet closer or further away from your hips to find your optimal relaxation position.

Lying With Support

If lying completely flat isn’t comfortable for you, or if you find yourself drifting to sleep, a supported lying position may be a better fit.

There are a few different supported positions you can experiment with:

1. Inclined position: create a wedge-shaped support to incline your torso. Be sure that your support includes the width of your shoulders and the back of your head.
2. Head support: use a thin pillow under your head and bend your knees.
3. Knee elevation: place a pillow or bolster under your knees to prevent strain on the lower back.

Any small prop, like a pillow or a rolled towel, can be used to make minor changes to your position to relieve tension or discomfort.

Finding your optimal meditation position is key to developing a healthy meditation practice. Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi can help you begin a meditation journey, including identifying the position your body and mind will respond to the best.

#3: Open the Chest and Fully Elongate the Spine

An open chest will help facilitate deep breathing, which is essential for bringing your mind into focus and finding success in meditation.

To open your chest, make sure your shoulders are not hunched. You can roll them back slightly so that your back is resting on your shoulder blades. This should not be an exaggerated or tense position.

Elongate your spine by gently tucking your chin. This will help energy flow through the length of your spine throughout your meditation.

#4: Allow Yourself To Settle Into the Position

Once you have chosen a comfortable supine position and elongated your spine, relax your whole body and allow yourself to feel “heavy,” as though sinking toward the Earth.

This will help your body settle into the posture.

#5: Place Your Hands on Your Lower Belly

When you have settled and are ready to begin your meditation, stack your hands on top of each other on your lower abdomen (below your belly button). Start breathing through your lower belly and feel the rise and fall of your abdomen underneath your palms.

#6: Focus on Deep Breathing

Begin taking very long, slow breaths. It’s important to consciously slow down and deepen your breaths, without straining. Allow yourself to focus fully on expanding your abdomen with each breath.

Begin counting each slow breath. You might start with a few very slow breaths and work your way up to 10 counts inhaling, 10 counts exhaling. If you can do a longer count, that’s even better. This type of meditation is called “.”

Mindful breathing is a cornerstone practice for meditation and may help you reduce stress and calm an overactive mind.

#7: Sweep off Any Heavy Energy and Slowly Awaken the Body

When you have completed your meditation, we recommend “sweeping” off any excess heavy energy.

Place your hands on your chest and sweep them down your torso as if you’re pushing away a layer of dust off your body. Repeat the same motion on your arms by sliding each hand down the opposite arm in a sweeping motion.

Slowly turn your body to one side and gradually push yourself up from the floor. It is important not to rush from a lying meditation position to an upright posture.

3 Meditations To Try While Lying Down

#1: Meditation for Sleep

If you are struggling with sleep, there are meditation techniques that can help improve the quality of your sleep. While these techniques may not put you into a deep sleep right away, with consistent practice over time, you may find that meditation can help you .

Sleep meditation exercises may include visualizations, deep abdominal breathing, 4-7-8 breathing, counting, and progressive muscle relaxation.

All sleep meditation exercises are designed to prepare your mind and body for a night of quality sleep, so lying down is the optimal position to implement sleep meditation.

#2: Body Scan Meditation

This type of meditation is designed to help you become more aware of and connect to your physical sensations. A meditation (BSM) may help you develop the ability to identify and interpret your internal signals and learn how to respond to them to improve your mindfulness and physical health.

Lying down meditation is well-suited for BSM because being relaxed can help you be more in tune.

To complete a BSM, you’ll start from your toes and move upward (or from the top of your head and move downward), mentally scanning your body and noting every sensation you feel along the way. These sensations may include:

• Tension
• Pulsing
• Discomfort
• Pain
• Tingling
• Fatigue

The goal of BSM is to become more mindful of your bodily sensations so you can address any physical or emotional barriers to improved health.

#3: Guided Meditation

For those new to meditation, guided meditation can be extremely helpful. Themes explored through guided meditation often include focusing on the senses, gratitude, relaxation, deep breathing, body scans, and visualizing yourself healthy and happy - all of which can be completed while lying down.

Guided meditations include step-by-step instructions that help you navigate the mediation process and internally focus on your thoughts and emotions. They provide a structured experience, which can make it more manageable for beginners.

No Matter the Meditation Position You Prefer, Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi Can Offer Assistance and Support With Your Meditation Practice

All Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi centers offer classes that incorporate meditation into the class format. Some Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi centers offer specialized guided meditation classes designed to help you relax and focus on energy sensations within your body.

Our goal is to help you connect your mind and body so that you can observe yourself without judgment. Our instructors can help you adapt exercises to suit your needs and condition.

and start with a 50-minute private session. Our instructors will be there to support your meditation journey and help you find the best position to channel your inner focus.