How to sit meditation

Osamu Morozumi, 9th June 2019

woman sitting meditation in nature

Find a suitable place to sit for twenty minutes or so, somewhere you’re not likely to be distracted by other people or technology. Switch your phone to do not disturb and set a timer for however long you’d like to meditate for. Twenty minutes is a good amount of time for beginners. Forty five minutes or longer for more experienced meditators.

Sit on a chair or on the edge of a bed with both feet on the ground. Keep your back straight and head upright. Feel what it's like to just sit there with your eyes open for a few moments then gently close or half close your eyes.

Now bring your attention to what’s happening in the present moment in and around you: sounds you can hear, feelings in your body, sensations of warmth or coolness. Feel the pressure of your body on the seat, notice how much of your legs are touching the seat, and the remainder which is more exposed to the space around you. Feel the weight of your feet connected to the floor and sense the distance or lack thereof between your feet. Notice the sensations in your back and adjust your posture if necessary. Feel your body as a whole, experiencing the sensation of sitting.

At this time you may start to notice your attention being distracted by thoughts. This is perfectly normal for all but the most seasoned meditation practitioners. When you notice you’ve been distracted simply acknowledge this and return your attention to the sensations in your body. Use your bodily awareness as a reference point to return your mind to the present moment and sustain it there.

After grounding your attention in mindfulness of your bodily sensations, gently bring your attention to the sensations of breathing. Are you breathing in or out? Feel the breath in a broad way, notice your torso expanding and contacting, the sensation of air entering and leaving your nostrils, the feeling of the breath moving through your throat and sinus. You can even pay attention to the way your shoulders lift and then drop on the in and out breath.

Again if you notice you’ve been distracted by thinking, simply acknowledge this and bring your attention back to this broad awareness of the breathing process. Resist the urge to discourage yourself if you find yourself distracted. Instead encourage your mind for returning to mindfulness. “Oh good I noticed I was lost, now I’m meditating again, well done.” Something along those lines.

After watching the breath like this for a while, try to watch a full breath from the start of the in-breath to the end of the out-breath. If you notice you get distracted simply acknowledge this and try again. Keep trying to watch each breath from start to finish, allowing yourself the freedom to ‘fall off’ and start again as many times as necessary, even if it happens on every breath.

Keep practising like this until your timer finishes. Gently bring the session to a close by expanding your awareness to your general bodily sensations and the sounds around you. If you like, take some time to repeat some positive affirmations, then fully open your eyes.

Take a few moments to stretch your body and get your body moving again before going about your business.