When discussing meditation poses, keep in mind that some meditation practices include movement. In such practices it makes less sense to speak of 'poses' as such. The word 'pose' implies stillness, a stationery body. But what I say below applies equally to meditation poses and meditation movements.
My view on different poses is very simple, but no doubt many people will disagree, depending on their background and tradition. Different poses can have a profound effect on the meditator. However, as a beginner, there is not much point in getting caught up in concerning yourself with any of this. Should I sit in the lotus position? Should I develop flexibility through Yoga? Should I be able to balance on one leg? These might be some of the questions you have if you are new to meditation.
Someone once pointed out to me that in India, where many meditation traditions originated, people sit cross-legged on the floor as a matter of course. When they meditate, therefore, they also sit in this position, simply because they are used to it and it is comfortable.
So the key question is, "What poses are your body used to and are comfortable and provide the least distraction?" The answers to this question will be different for different people, depending on culture, background, health and so on. In general, in the 'western' hemisphere we tend to be quite used to sitting on a chair with a backrest, to standing, or to lying down. And you are totally justified in learning to meditate by sitting upright in a chair, by standing up, or by lying down (although you are then more likely to fall asleep). If for health reasons you are restricted in the poses that allow you to be comfortable, that is just the way it is. Work with it, there is no need to put yourself through pain in order to learn to meditate.
So that is my advice in a nutshell: find meditation poses that are possible and comfortable. Focus on learning to meditate in those poses, or stick with one pose. If you fall asleep, accept it, be glad for some extra sleep and work on staying conscious (once you've woken up again!).
In almost any pose, sitting, lotus, squatting, lying, standing and so on, there are an infinite number of different refinements you can make to your body. For example when sitting, you might put your arms to the side, or above your head. When standing, you could stand with your feet parallel, or you could have your legs more or less apart. What is the point of all these different possibilities?
Simply that anything you do with your body you can experience in different ways and on different inner levels. It is all about becoming aware, conscious, mindful, of what is happening, what you're feeling, allowing all that to be, observing it, letting it pass by, accepting it, staying with the breath (or any other focus for the meditation). Different poses will have a different effect on your breathing, on the feeling of gravity through your body, on your sense of balance. Lots of material to become aware of!
To conclude then, please do not worry about poses. If you would like to learn to meditate, just do it. Make sure you choose a meditation pose that allows you be least distracted.
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Weekly artistic response to Rudolf Steiner's soul-calendar-18 with original German text, my translation and interpretation.
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