If you take nothing else from this post, trust that it’s 100% okay to meditate while lying down.
And if that’s the only way you feel calm enough to meditate, you’re far better off lying down than giving up on meditation entirely.
True, it has its downsides.
But, for many of us, so does the lotus position (even the half-lotus).
And while sitting up is generally the most popular position for meditation, it’s not the only one with both short-term and long-term benefits.
Read on to see why.
Can You Meditate Lying Down? The Pros and Cons Explained
If you’ve ever asked to “Can I meditate lying down?” you deserve a complete answer that takes all the pros and cons into account.
You can start with any posture.
And if you begin by learning how to meditate lying down, you can either stick with that or learn other types (sitting, standing, and walking) before deciding on your favorites.
Pro #1: It’s often easier than sitting.
If sitting upright in a lotus or half-lotus position is uncomfortable for you, it will only make it harder to focus on your breathing or the instructions from a guided meditation.
It’s difficult to relax when you can’t help noticing your pain or awkwardness.
Pro #2: It’s more comfortable because your whole body is supported.
Make sure you’ve got cushions positioned to support your neck. If you’re lying on your back, it helps to bend your legs 90 degrees, so your feet are flat on the floor.
If you’re lying on your side, a cushion under your head and between your legs helps with support.
Pro #3: It’s ideal for resting or guided meditations.
Lying down makes it easier to relax completely and pay attention to a guided meditation or sleeping meditation.
If you’re not used to sitting upright in a lotus or half-lotus position, lying down makes it easier to settle in and focus on instruction or mindfulness.
Pro #4: It’s helpful when pain or illness makes sitting up difficult.
When sitting up takes too much energy or causes you pain, lying down is a better option, anyway.
If you don’t want to fall asleep, choose a surface that’s soft enough (like a yoga mat) but not luxurious (like a bed). Do what you can to minimize pain before you begin.
Pro #5: It can help with insomnia.
A sleeping meditation is an excellent way to begin a good night’s sleep. Set aside time before bed to unplug and release all the day’s tension.
You can use a guided meditation or silent meditation with the ambient sounds of your choice.
Con #1: It’s so relaxing you might fall asleep mid-meditation.
This is the first major con of lying down for meditation, but it doesn’t have to be a downside.
Falling into a sleep state is even encouraged for Yoga Nidra and sleeping meditations, as well as sleep hypnosis. It’s all about what you’re going for.
Con #2: It makes sustained focus more difficult.
Lying down can make it harder to stay awake, with obvious consequences for focus and concentration.
If you’re meditating first thing in the morning, in preparation for your day, lying down makes it more likely you’ll lose focus and fall back asleep.
Con #3: It requires cushions for maximum comfort.
Aside from the cushion beneath you (a yoga mat or something similar), you’ll want a cushion to support your head and neck.
If you’re lying on your side, a cushion between your legs keeps your hips in alignment for optimal comfort and relaxation.
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Is It Okay to Meditate Before Bed?
The short answer is an emphatic “Yes.” Many find nighttime meditation helpful for drowsing off more easily and getting a full night’s sleep.
That said, keep the following tips in mind when choosing to meditate in this position:
- Align your body correctly (for maximum comfort and relaxation).
- Choose the right surface (depending on whether falling asleep is the goal)
- Choose a good time for it (depending on your meditation goal and your schedule)
- Focus on your breathing (inhale peace; exhale tension and stress)
- If you’re a beginner, start with a guided meditation.
You can also dim the lights or turn them off. And if ambient sounds (ocean waves, soft music, etc.) help you relax, play some at a volume that helps set the mood without dominating your attention.
What Should You Not Do While Meditating?
If you meditate lying down, there are a few things you’ll want to avoid doing to get the most benefit from your practice.
Here are a few, though you can probably think of others:
- Read or play games on your mobile device
- Carry on a conversation
- Plan your to-do list
- Worry about the future
- Play loud or high-energy music
Lying down makes it hard, if not impossible, to do things you might do while sitting or standing — tidying up your space, for example — but you’ll find your creative mind keeps suggesting things to distract you.
Acknowledge them as they come, without judging yourself, and let them go.
If you want to meditate lying down, go for it!
Now that you know meditating lying down is every bit as okay as meditating in a seated position, what do you love most about this option?
And what will you do this week to take advantage of the benefits of meditation, no matter how you choose to do it?
Let us know in the comments below! And we’d love to read any helpful tips or insights you’ve picked up along the way.
The goal here is to make a daily meditation habit manageable for everyone. What’s the best starting place for you?