Meditating while lying down
The Buddha, who was practically the inventor of Vipassana meditation, has advised meditating on four postures: sitting upright, standing, walking, and lying down. Most meditation training programmes are based on meditation sitting upright focusing on the breath and progressively on other parts of the body and mind. The walking meditation is a great way to bring mindfulness into movement, and likewise, meditation while standing up is a great way to focus.
These are all great but a lot of time, the process of meditation while lying down is an opportunity that is missed, yet, if you want to build a routine of meditation as a way to calm your mind and figure out a day, this is perhaps the easiest way to begin.
All you need is perhaps is just around going to bed, relax yourself and start paying attention to the breath. If you have a smartwatch or Fitbit, set it to 30 minutes timer and just pay attention to the flow of air through your nostrils. Nothing else. You will see thoughts come and go, there will be itches and occasional physical discomforts, exactly like what happens when you’d sit upright for meditation, but persist. You are already in the most comfortable posture. Sleep with your back on the bed, relax every muscle, rest the head slightly up perhaps supported by a pillow, touch the thumbs together, close your eyes, and begin. If you do not have a smartwatch or meditation timer, no issue. Set yourself to count 300 breaths (in and out, complete each cycle and inwardly say 1,2,3,…, and so on).
As you start, you will experience your breath slowing down, and it may even happen that you start drifting to sleep. If that starts happening, start noticing the _point_ at which the mind starts switching off and drifting to a different state. Then you may want to return to your wakeful state.
This is one way of lying meditation around the end of your working day when you are about to fall asleep. I have experienced if you set yourself to do this the first thing when you wake up, there is a different feeling. You are fresh, close your eyes, set yourself to count 300 breaths or 30 minutes of timer, and start.
What’s the point?
If you ever set your intentions to start a regular practice of meditation but somehow it never got started or continued, meditation in this posture is perhaps the most intuitive and easy thing to do. You do not have to show off, :-), you can still do everything, the posture is the most relaxing of them all, you do not have to cross your legs, you do not need a zafuton or cushion, and I can waffle on a thousand reasons. Plus you can run through the sequence. There is a risk of drifting off to sleep but that’s alright. At least, it offers you yet another chance to introspect your state of change of mind.
Give it a go!