Have you ever wondered if it is possible to meditate lying down? Perhaps you’ve wondered can I meditate lying down?
If this is you, then this article will give you the answers you’ve been searching for, plus additional information that will help you maximize the time spent on your back so you can gain the benefits of meditation.
Why Meditate Lying Down?
The lying, or what is traditionally called the savasana position, is a great way to meditate because your body will naturally fall into a relaxed mode by releasing tension.
This, in turn, will place your mind into a state whereby focused meditation and stability can do the work of releasing psychological tension.
I’ve personally meditated for over twenty-five years, and I will time every day meditating lying down. It’s great for meditation where the emphasis is on relaxation for the above reason.
And it is also great for priming your sleep. This, of course, begs the question as to whether it is possible to meditate in bed.
And the short answer to this question is yes.
The Benefits of Lying Meditation
For meditation to have health benefits, it reports three factors needed to affect positive psychological and physiological change. These are relaxation, stability, and clarity. Meditating while lying will shorten the time to relax, but that is not where you should stop.
Meditation is not just about becoming more relaxed, nor is it simply about being “in the now.” These are trait effects of correct practice, but they should not be the end goal.
See, meditation can awaken you to deeper states of well-being. But if you remain in a state of deep relaxation, you miss the chance to access this deeper state of well-being. So I would encourage you to dive deeper into the practice I outline below.
And we do that by moving through a three-phased developmental approach to meditation that starts with relaxation, moves into stability, and finally ends with clarity. So learning to meditate while lying down is a significant first step.
Meditating in lying down can also be used as a way of improving sleep as it will help you engage the parasympathetic nervous system, and it is this part of the autonomic nervous system that regulates rest and digestion of your physiology. Check out my article on Can I Meditate in Bed for more details.
The Pitfalls of Meditating Lying Down
While there are many benefits to practicing meditation in the supine or lying position, there are also pitfalls. The one you need to pay attention to if you are meditating lying down as a means of meditating in a manner that is awakening yourself to deeper states of well-being, and not just to, say, relax or prime your sleep.
That is to say if you want to be serious about meditation and thus gain access to amazing psychology and physiological transformation. You must not create the habit of falling asleep while meditating. The reason for this is that it will prevent the next phase of stability.
Stability is where you can remain focused in a relaxed manner on a given object – the natural rising and falling of the breath. Instead, you will continue to create the habit of allowing your consciousness to remain dull, heavy, and lethargic.
It can feel nice and cozy to be inside this cocoon of dullness but, it is a pitfall you do not want to be stuck in. It will stop you from accessing the real benefits of meditation practice.
How to Meditate Lying Down
Now I will explain how to meditate lying down effectively. I will then present this within the context of a guided meditation. And finally, allow you to get access to a free video lesson to explain all this.
You can skip to that now if you like, as everything I cover below is covered in the video lesson and guided meditation.
How to Meditate in the Lying or Supine Position
You can lie down on your bed, on a yoga-style mat, or simply on the carpet. Lay flat with your hands beside your body at about a 30-degree angle.
Your palms should be facing up, and your feet should be in alignment with your hips – not too close nor too far apart.
Your eyes can be closed or half-closed. I’d suggest closing for pre-sleep meditation and slightly opening when practicing during the day to not create or increase the habit of falling asleep.
Now that you are in this position bring your attention inside and to the natural rising and falling of the breath. Breathe through your nostrils with your mouth closed. Do not use force. Let your body breathe for itself, and you remain a silent witness. Do this for a few moments.
Release any memories of the past and projections into the future, and place your attention on the sensations of breathing at the abdomen. Again, do not force anything. Let your body breathe on its own accord. All you need to do is notice and remain mindful of the natural rising and falling of the breath.
Next, we will be to enhance relaxation with every out-breathe. We do this by imagining that as the body releases the air from within, so too is all the tense energy within the nervous system released. As you breathe out, breathe out any tension in your body and your mind.
Do this five, ten, or as many times as necessary until your feel a warm, blissful sensation beginning to flow through your body.
Once you’ve reached this state, you are now correctly relaxed, and if you are practicing as a means of improving your sleep quality, turn to your right and fall asleep.
If, however, you are practicing outside of meditating for better sleep, the next step of the three-phased approach is to develop stability. And we do that by bringing your attention to the nostrils. Everything else remains the same, but you now attend to the natural rising and falling of the breath at your nostrils.
This helps create stability as it is a more subtle object of attention and therefore requires more refined attention. Meditate like this for some time.
If you find yourself tensing up in either your body or mind or have lost the object of meditation altogether, you can go back to the relaxation phase to ground your mind/body complex and start again.
If, however, you can remain on the sensations of the breathing at the nostrils for five minutes without creating tension, it is time to enter the third phase of clarity.
Clarity is, as the words suggest, a vividness of mind. It is the opposite of dullness or sleepiness. And it is this third factor that will allow you to gain insights into the true nature of your self, your mind, and the nature of the two such that wisdom becomes the order of the day as a natural consequence of clarity.
Put simply, you can “see” clearly into the nature of the mind because of clarity. How do we increase clarity at this point in the meditation? We do so by increasing the nature and subtly of the object and turning our attention to the mind itself.
We drop the breath as our object of meditation and instead focus on consciousness itself. We use the mind to see mind; we become aware of awareness, conscious of consciousness.