Asanas – Poses – Day 5 – Top 5 Meditation Positions / Asanas

Good morning Yogis! We just wrapped up practice of each of the Niyamas, and we are now on to Asanas, the 3rd Limb of Yoga. Today we will cover my Top 5 Positions or Asanas for Meditation.

Please try all of these meditation poses, at least briefly and see which feels best for you! Please note there is no right or wrong here.. I am sharing MY Top 5, but many others may disagree with me. For example, I find Virasana / Hero Pose comfortable for an extended time only with a block under my seat, and occasionally find Lotus Pose enjoyable, which is too intense for many Yogis.

Bonus Daily Meditation Challenge

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a meditation in the position / Asana of your choice. We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for October. Try our breath-focused meditation, or perhaps a meditative drive or hike! If you prefer guided meditations, for Asana Day today try a Restorative Asana class with Guided Meditation.

TOP 5 MEDITATION POSITIONS / ASANAS

1. SIDDHASANA – ADEPT’S POSE – CROSS-LEGGED SEATED MEDITATION

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Siddhasana – Adept’s Pose

I enjoy Siddhasana (sid-DAH-sa-na) or Adepts Pose for Meditation. This is basically my comfortable seated position, and that is just how I always envisioned meditating! This Asana is basically a slightly more difficult version of Sukhasana / Easy Pose.

Start in a comfortable cross legged position. Then spread your knees a bit further, and bring your feet in towards your groin – keep your leg on the mat and tuck your ankles/shins over each other. Look down and make sure there is no empty space between your legs and feet. Keep your torso straight and tall over your hips. Take note of your rib cage. If you notice the bottom of rib cage is sticking out, pull back in and down to correct your posture. Next notice your shoulders. Try to gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps your chest open. You can put your hands on the ground and gently press to lengthen your back, or rest your hands on your knees. You can pull a bit on your knees to help open your chest and help keep your back straight. You should keep your head, neck, and shoulders aligned over your hips in any seated pose. Your hands can either gently rest on knees and/or in your favorite mudra/placement for meditation. PS if any poses are uncomfortable, try with a couch pillow or block under your seat! Try not to move your body while meditating, I find it helps to switch my legs each day of practice for any cross legged positions to even out my posture!

Make sure you keep your back straight, not rounded in any seated position! If you notice your back rounding in this pose, move your legs back out to Sukhasana / easy pose, making a small triangle of empty space between your legs. I prefer Siddhasana over Sukhasana, because bringing in my feet helps me maintain a straighter back. I also prefer Siddhasana over Padmasana / Lotus Pose for meditation, since Lotus can get a bit strenuous on my ankles for an extended time.

2. SEATED IN A CHAIR – SEATED MEDITATION

Chair Yoga is very common, and chairs are often the most comfortable seat we can find! It is important to be comfortable and maintain your posture if you will be sitting for an extended period of time, and a chair can help with both. Driving is also my favorite meditative activity, so sitting in a chair (driver’s seat also counts to me) makes this #2 for my Top 5!

3. SHAVASANA – CORPSE POSE – RECLINED / SUPINE MEDITATION

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Shavasana – Corpse Pose

Shavasana or Corpse Pose is often considered the most important Asana, especially after Asana Class. I occasionally enjoy deep meditations if I need help to fall asleep, and it is absolutely required to be in bed in Shavasana for those guided meditations! One of my favorite things about meditation in Shavasana is that I can breathe more deeply into my belly than I am able to in a seated position.

Lay on your back, and allow your legs and feet to gently splay open. Rest your arms a few inches away from your body, with palms facing up. Close your eyes, and allow your entire body to relax and sink into the mat. You can use a couch pillow under your head and/or knees, or any modifications to make this pose more comfortable for an extended time. I occasionally take Shavasana with knees bent and feet on the floor, and/or with elbows bent and hands under my head or cactus-arms to the side.

To come out, gently roll onto your right side, then press your hand into the mat to come back up slowly into a seated position.

4. TADASANA – MOUNTAIN POSE – STANDING / WALKING MEDITATION

Tadasana – Mountain Pose

Tadasana / Mountain Pose is often thought of as neutral standing, but this a power pose for many Yogis. Yoga Retreats frequently offer meditation walks or mindfulness hikes. This is something I try with our Santosha practices of enjoying the present moment! A meditative walk or hike is a great way to begin meditating, especially if mindfulness practices are new to you, or you have difficulty calming the mind while sitting quietly.

5. VIRASANA – HERO’S POSE – KNEELING MEDITATION

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Virasana – Hero’s Pose

Virasana / Hero’s Pose is actually the most comfortable seat for many Yogis. However, this is my Top 5, and I find kneeling positions strenuous on my feet and knees for extended periods of time. I can only hold kneeling positions comfortably with a block under my seat! I do enjoy meditation in a kneeling position, resting my hands on my knees.

This is a kneeling Asana, and usually much more comfortable for Yogis with tight hips than the cross legged posses above. Start kneeling with knees and toes together. Then, bring the toes apart, and sit yourself down between your legs. Make sure to keep your back straight, with hips, shoulders, and head in line. This pose can be rough on my knees, and sometimes bothers my heels and tops of my feet if I’ve been wearing high heels. I find this pose much more comfortable with a block under my seat as pictured below.

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Virasana – Hero’s Pose with Block

CHECK OUT OUR Other Top 5 lists
TOP 5 YOGA Equipment and Yoga MATS!

I would recommend a block, couch pillows, or perhaps a folded-up blanket for support under the seat. Pick your favorite chair for a seated meditation, or comfortable shoes for a meditative hike or walk!

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


There you have it, my Top 5 Meditation Positions! Please comment to share if your Top 5 would be different.. I know many Yogis enjoy seated positions other than Adept’s Pose, or prefer Savasana to any other position. Always remember, be kind!

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Top 5 -Yoga Mats – Daily Yogi

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is your choice of Asana from any Asana Style. Perhaps browse my Top 5 Yoga Mats list below, and see if your mat is the best fit for you! Or skip to my tips for how to clean your mat!

I LOVE High Fidelity and its Top 5s, so I am doing another Top 5 for Yoga Mats today. As I mentioned yesterday in my Yoga Equipment Top 5, a new Yogi should get a real Yoga Mat.. towels just do not cut it! There is a huge variety of Yoga Mats out there. Here are my Top 5 favorites:

Top 5 Yoga Mats

Note – I am short, 5’1. If you are a tall Yogi, make sure you pay attention to mat length.. you will definitely want an extra-long yoga mat!!

1 – Retrospec Solana Extra Thick Yoga & Pilates Mat

As I mentioned yesterday in my Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies, the main feature in a Yoga Mat to consider is thickness. I had a back injury and have concrete floors, so I need a very thick mat for comfort. A standard mat is 1/8″ thick, but the Retrospec Solana Mat is available 1/2″ or 1″ thick. As I mentioned yesterday, the main down-side to an extra-thick mat is that I cannot feel the ground through the mat, and this makes balancing poses harder. Thick mats are also not very easy to bring back and forth to the studio, even with a carrying strap. However, if you need extra cushioned mats for your everyday yoga practice like I do, try the Retrospec Solana Extra Thick Yoga & Pilates Mat.

2 – BalanceForm GoYoga Mat

This is a solid inexpensive standard yoga mat. It is standard thickness, average friction, and comes with an easy to use carrying strap. If you are a newbie Yogi who does not need an extra cushioned mat or any of the added features with the specialty mats listed below, BalanceForm’s GoYoga Mat is probably the best fit for you.

3 – SKL Travel Yoga Mat

My every day mat is extra thick, but that is the worst kind of mat for traveling, especially in luggage. I love to travel with a foldable travel yoga mat. The most important consideration with travel mats is the texture. Many travel mats are super thin, but they are frequently too slippery for me. Also, surprisingly, some travel mats are very heavy. I love the SKL Travel Mat texture – soft and leathery. It folds up well into its included travel bag, and is even machine washable!

4 – Reetual Hot Yoga Mat

I LOVE Hot Yoga. If you do not also love Hot Yoga, move on to the next on our list! But, this is my Top 5 Yoga Mats and I certainly want a mat for Hot Yoga when it is safe to be in the studio! If you also drank that kool-aid and practice Hot / Bikram Yoga, you have likely experienced Hot Yoga sweat slips. The Reetual Hot Yoga Mat helps avoid this slippage. Yes you can probably use a towel, but I prefer this mat that does the work for me.. I do not like to move a towel around or have it bunch up under me. This mat is also standard thickness, so you can feel the ground in Bikram / Hot series balancing Asanas. It’s a bit pricey, but the best sweat-absorbing mat for Hot Yoga I have found.

5 – Heathyoga Alignment Mat

Alignment Yoga Mats are all the rage right now, so I have to include one in my Top 5 Yoga Mats list! A ton of premium yoga mats are on the market like the popular (original?) Liforme Alignment Mat and Cork Alignment Mat. A lot of the high end alignment mats are fairly expensive, heavy, and cover nearly all the special features listed above in one mat. My favorite affordable every day alignment mat is the Heathyoga Alignment Mat – average thickness, not too heavy, and sufficient friction to avoid slipping.

How to Clean your Mat

Not sure how to clean your Yoga Mat? I make my own cleaner in a little spray bottle – a mix of equal parts water and white vinegar with a couple drops of tea tree oil. I use this regularly, and wipe down with a hand towel. I like this spray to clean my luggage too! I sometimes use a spray bottle with water and a little dish soap when my mat gets extra dirty outside. If you do not want to make your own mat cleaner, there are plenty of great pre-made cleaning sprays.


There you have it Yogis, my Top 5 Yoga Mats. Please comment and let me know your thoughts on this list! If you have a favorite mat that I did not mention.. let me know! Stay tuned tomorrow to sync up with our 30 Day Challenge Group! Always remember, be kind!

Next INTRO CHALLENGE STARTS 11/01/2020

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Top 5 – Yoga Equipment

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is your choice of Asana series from any Asana Style. Perhaps try some of our Top 5 Yoga Equipment new Yogis should consider below your practice today!

I LOVE High Fidelity and its Top 5s, so I am going to do a Top 5 Yoga Equipment today. There is SO much Yoga equipment out there.. a lot of super cool pieces (like the yoga wheel or inversion bench) are better for more advanced Yogis. But I wanted to create a good Top 5 list for eager new Yogis, especially those who are new to Yoga in COVID quarantine, and maybe have not tried these at a studio!

Top 5 Yoga equipment for new yogis

1 – Yoga Mat

Sorry to be so predictable with #1, but it’s true! A few poses are fine on the ground or outside, but you really should use a Yoga Mats, which is really just a clean cushion. We will talk bit more about (my top 5) Yoga Mats tomorrow. The main feature to evaluate when purchasing a Yoga Mat is thickness. Texture, weight, and portability are other considerations. I had a back injury and need a very thick mat for comfort, but I cannot “feel” the ground through extra thick mats, making balancing poses more difficult. I have a super thin mat I love for traveling, but I would be sore in my injured lower back if I used it regularly. PS I do NOT use a towel.. towels are not thick enough and do not stay flat, plus Yoga Mats are usually slightly sticky which helps with many Asanas. I will use nothing, rather than just a towel.. If you get nothing else, get a real Yoga Mat!

2 – Foam Blocks

If you have practiced in a studio, foam blocks are usually the first prop you will try. I recommend getting two blocks, so you can use one under each limb in certain poses and Restorative Asana classes. Blocks are especially helpful for new Yogis who cannot reach the ground in in poses like Trikonasana / triangle pose, under the seat in Virasana / Hero pose… even advanced Yogis regularly use blocks for comfort or support, and to help fully express Asanas. They are fairly inexpensive, so I recommend just getting two blocks and a strap in a set for under $25.

3 – Yoga Strap

A strap basically acts as an extension of your arms. This is great for Yogis with tight shoulders who cannot reach behind their back, or Yogis with tight hamstrings who cannot easily reach their toes. This is placed behind the foam block which is used more often, but the strap is very useful, especially for new Yogis. They are fairly inexpensive, so I recommend just getting two blocks and a strap in a set for under $25.

4 – Couch Pillows

If you practice at a Yoga Studio, you will often see large bolsters and blankets. These are awesome props, and especially great for Restorative Yoga classes where you need a lot of support. But often, I miss having a couch throw pillow at Yoga Studios more than I miss bolsters and blankets when I practice at home! I have fairly tight hamstrings so I like a couch pillow under my seat in Dandasana / Staff Pose, or under my head for Shavasana / Corpse Pose. I also like a couch pillow under my knees if I am on them for a long time, such as doing Ab work in Vyaghasana / Tiger Pose. PS If you love Restorative Yoga, I do recommend getting the blankets and bolsters for home.. you’ll want the extra support if you regularly practice this style!

5 – Wii Fit with Balance Board

This is probably one you will not find on any other lists, but this is my Top 5 Yoga Equipment list 🙂 I still have the original Wii with balance board, and Nintendo makes the balance board for the Wii U. I am an old school (slightly reformed) gamer, but I still regularly use my over 15 year old original Wii, especially for fitness! MAKE SURE YOU PURCHASE THE BALANCE BOARD AND GAMES FOR THE CORRECT WII SYSTEM!

The Wii fit Plus game (get plus version, which has more Asanas than standard version) requires the balance board, and there is a Yoga section in the Wii Fit game. There is also a Wii Yoga game, but I have been more than entertained with Wii Fit Plus, Wii Sports and Wii Zumba for years. Using Wii balance board for Yoga tests your balance, and lets you see exactly where you place or shift your weight in various Asanas. I got SO much insight from the Wii balance board for my normal standing posture, my uneven weight distribution in arm-balance poses, and where my weight wobbles in Vrksasana / Tree Pose and balancing poses before I fall over. This is by far the most expensive thing on this list without the Wii or Wii U console even included, but I think it’s worth every penny! It gives you valuable information and immediate feedback you cannot get from anything else. That said, the balance board is definitely not necessary for your daily practice.. though it is a source of super useful info as you take your Asanas to the next level.

Mirrors

PS I am giving Mirrors a bonus #6 spot even though this is a Top 5 Yoga Equipment list – sometimes our bodies are not placed how they feel, and using a mirror at home, at the gym, or in a Yoga (or Dance) Studio makes a huge difference!


There you have it Yogis, my Top 5 Yoga Equipment for New Yogis. Please comment and let me know your thoughts on this list! Stay tuned for my Top 5 Yoga Mats tomorrow, and our 30 Day Challenge Group catching up with us on Monday! Always remember, be kind!

Next INTRO CHALLENGE STARTS 11/01/2020

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