Reclining Meditation

Meditation is the doorway to altered states of consciousness and as I used to advise my NYU students: meditation brings insights and awareness one might not otherwise experience in a lifetime.

It’s pure joy to practice meditation in a reclining position….particularly since it produces similar results as sitting meditation. The same techniques apply to make it work: total focus on diaphragmatic breathing and absolute stillness.

Find a comfortable position and once the meditation is started do not move. Movement constitutes a restart.

Hopefully you have mastered diaphragmatic breathing. It’s one of the most important techniques to attain for long life, good health, relaxation and heightened consciousness. You will find articles on breathing techniques on the Commentary pages of my website.

It’s difficult to meditate in any position when you breathe high in the chest. You will feel uncomfortable as the breath ‘collects’ in your neck and upper sternum.

As you lie motionless in bed, on your side or back, focus all attention on monitoring the breath. Count: in, 2, 3, 4, out 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Initially you may not be able to maintain a slow breathing cycle. Adjust the count to your ability.

Should you find your mind wandering around considering mundane matters, immediately refocus on monitoring the breath. Do not look for results – but I will almost guarantee memorable experiences.

Thich Nhat Hanh is the contemporary master of living in the moment as facilitated by meditation. He has written many books.