Why Adopt a Meditation Posture

Mind and body are interdependent. Because the state of one affects the state of the other, a stable posture is important in any style of meditation. All elements of the body are to be considered: legs, arms, back, head, eyes, and hands.

The goal is to establish an awake and relaxed posture. Because the body and mind are one, our posture directly effects our breathing and state of mind. A stable, relaxed, wakeful posture helps us cultivate a mind that is stable, relaxed and wakeful.

You will find images below showing six different postures you may want to try, depending on your own needs. There are also links to several webpages with additional information on posture and meditation supplies.

These forms are not the means of obtaining the right state of mind. To take this posture is itself to have the right state of mind.

Shunryu Suzuki

Full Lotus

The full lotus, where each foot is placed up on the opposite thigh.

Half Lotus

The half lotus, where the right foot is placed up onto the left thigh, the left foot tucked under.

Quarter Lotus

The quarter lotus, where the right foot is placed up onto the lower left leg, the left foot tucked under.


The Burmese position, in which the legs are crossed and both feet rest flat on the floor.


The seiza position. You can use a pillow between your legs to keep the weight off your ankles, or use a seiza bench to keep the weight off your feet and to keep your spine straight.


Using a chair. To ground the body, keep your feet flat on the floor. You can use a cushion beneath you on the chair, sitting on the forward third of it. It’s best to sit forward on the chair so you’re supporting your spine. If, due to back issues, you need to lean into the back of the chair, try placing a cushion between the small of your back and the back of the chair to keep your spine straight and vertical.

How to Make a Meditation Bench

Helpful Links About Posture

Meditation Supplies

Zen Mountain Monestary


The most important point is to own your own physical body. If you slump, you will lose your self. Your mind will be wandering about somewhere else; you will not be in your body. This is not the way. We must exist right here, right now!

Shunryu Suzuki