Meditation asanas are aids in meditation and concentration. Their main purpose is to provide a steady position for the practitioner to remain comfortably seated in for extended periods of time.
Only when the body is still, stable and at ease can deep meditation be experienced. Introspection is impossible if one continually fidgets, scratches or encounters physical pain. Therefore the aim is to sit in a sufficiently effortless position that allows the physical body to be forgotten.
As Corpse Pose (Shavasana) fits all these requirements, then why not lie down to practice meditation? The answer is simple. Whilst lying there is a tendency to drift into sleep and it is essential to remain awake and alert during meditation. Therefore meditation poses are all seated.
Initially, most people find it difficult to sit cross-legged without discomfort. However, through regular practice of the pre-meditation poses listed below, flexibility of the legs and hips will increase and the body will be able to comfortably maintain a steady posture.
Pre-meditation asana sequence-
Ankle rotation (Goolf Chakra)
Knee crank (Janu Chakra)
Half butterfly (Ardha Titali Asana)
Hip rotation (Shroni Chakra)
Full butterfly (Poorna Titali Asana)
Wind releasing Pose (Vayu Nishkasana)
Abdominal Stretch Pose (Udarakarshanasana)
Animal relaxation pose (Saithalyasana)
If there is discomfort or pain in the legs after sitting for some time in a meditation asana, slowly unlock the legs and massage them. Be careful not to force or strain the joints and observe the contraindications given for each pose.
In this series of asanas, either the left or right leg can be placed uppermost. It is a matter of personal preference and depends on whichever is the more comfortable. Ideally, alternate the leg position so that the balance on both sides of the body is maintained.