While meditation is traditionally depicted as someone sitting, meditation is not restricted to a single position. Sitting, standing, walking, working, and lying down are all positions that one can meditate in. In fact, the purpose of maintaining a lifestyle of mindfulness is to be aware at all times. Some people find that time restrictions require them to meditate while lying down, while others may simply be more comfortable lying down. Regardless of the reason, it is entirely possible and reasonable to meditate while lying down.
Please take this opportunity to learn more about meditation by reading our guide to mindfulness meditation, as this will give you a greater understanding of the techniques and benefits of meditation.
Can You Meditate Lying Down?
Meditation while lying down in common. In fact, there are many people who choose to meditate instead of sleeping. This requires much practice, though it is certainly possible. With this in mind, we advocate for scientific studies, rather than anecdotal evidence, to further understand the benefits of mindfulness meditation. Though, day time meditation while lying down is absolutely beneficial without the intention of learning how to meditate throughout the night.
It is common for people to meditate in the morning when they wake up or in the evening before they fall asleep. This may be the best time, as you may choose to set your alarm half an hour or an hour earlier. When this happens, you can take the extra time to mentally prepare yourself for the day or calm your mind before your dreams begin. For people who stay awake in bed for hours thinking about things, meditation has the capacity to overcome this common obstacle to healthy sleep.
Of course, meditation in the middle of the day is beneficial as well. If you have the time to lie down in the middle of the day, perhaps during a lunch break, the you can help reduce your personal stress. There are many available benefits, and you can even choose to meditate in various different positions during the same session. For example, you can practice walking meditation somewhere peaceful and the transition to a prone position to meditate, as this is particularly useful when navigating a particularly busy or hectic day.
In short, the answer to the question, “Can you meditate lying down?”, is absolutely. In fact, is it a common goal for practitioners of meditation work toward. At times, you may find that is difficult to stay awake while meditating lying down. The following section will give various input and ideas on how to maintain an awake and mindful state during this meditation.
Overcoming Hurdles of Lying Down Meditation
Each meditative position has certain benefits, and throughout the history of the practice each position has been prescribed to help people overcome certain obstacles. Walking meditation is used to support those who have difficulty remaining aware during sitting meditation, while people who are anxious or jittery are often informed of the benefits of meditating while lying down. Additionally, light and tea consumption is often used together with lying down meditation, as this balances out the associated hurdles.
Some people may find that they begin to fall asleep while meditating in this position. If this occurs, then you may find benefit in changing your position. Even sitting can require enough focus to keep the body awake. However, if you are interested in not moving, then there are simple tools to help you at this time. The following list will give you ideas that you may use to help support your meditation at this time.
Keep Your Eyes Open
People often choose to meditate while keeping their eyes closed. This often helps meditators focus their attention on the meditation at hand, such as mindfulness of breathing or body insight meditation. Though there are benefits in keeping the eyes closed, one downside is that it makes it easier for the practitioner to fall asleep during the meditation. Keep your eyes slightly open, and perhaps focus your eyes on an object. If you notice that your eyelids are getting heavy, then you may want to open them wide or change your position.
Add a Light Source
Dark rooms often influence the mind in a passive direction. This is beneficial for when you are interested in sleeping, but potentially burdensome during meditation. Adding a source of light, or simply meditating outside in the daylight, will provide energy during meditation. If you find that you are falling asleep, then simply focus your eyes on the light. You can do this through your eyelids, or you can choose to open your eyes.
Play Ambient Music
Music on a low volume, natural sounds, or vocalized mantra, may help keep your mind awake. The difficulty associated using music is that your mind may stray during the meditation. Whenever you run into a particular problem with your meditations, it is perfectly acceptable for you to change your habits. Not only will this help you be more adaptable, but it will ensure that you do not cling to a particular environment during meditation. Keep the music quiet, as this will make sure that you do not become overcome with the tune or rhythm.
Steeple Your Fingers
While laying on your back, you may choose to steeple your fingers of your chest. When you move toward sleep, you may find that your fingers cross of your arms drop. Likewise, you may also choose to raise your legs or arms in another position. Whatever decision you make, just simply be mindful of your body and respond appropriately. This should be easy, as the intention of your meditation is to remain aware and mindful.
Locations to Meditate While Laying Down
There are many places that you can meditate while laying down. Each of these places may provide certain benefits and obstacles. If you find that one location is particularly conducive to your practice, then perhaps remain there until you feel more secure in your ability to focus. After then, you may want to change your location simply for a change of scenery, sounds, or influence.
Meditating in Bed
When waking up in the morning, napping during the day, or resting before sleep, meditating in bed is often useful. You likely feel secure and comfortable in the bed, which will reduce your natural anxieties or worries. However, it is also possible that you will find it easier to lose focus or fall asleep during your meditation.
Meditating in the Grass
Meditating outside in the grass can certainly be beneficial. While laying down is not the traditional position, being outside in a field or under a tree was certainly a preferred location. This allows the sun light to keep you awake, while clouds provide a constant source of change. This will help the practitioner realize the impermanence of all things. The grass, insects, and wind will ensure that the mind remains aware as physical interactions arise and pass.
Meditating Next to Water
You may also enjoy meditating next to water, such as a creek or the ocean. This will give you something to listen to, which may help you remain awake. These areas often have other sounds as well, such as animals, which may help the practitioner become more aware. Instead of responding in a reactive manner to new sounds, you may learn to simply be aware of the rising and passing of new sounds.