Why is staying awake while meditating important? Falling asleep is certainly relaxing, and can be good for you, but to get the full range of benefits from your meditation you need to have your brainwaves in the alpha and theta ranges. When you are asleep, your brainwaves range from theta to delta. Meditation should be a state of relaxed alertness (primarily alpha brainwaves). Try the following tips to stay awake.
1. Don't lay down. Laying down may be the comfortable way to meditate, but it is also the surest way to have trouble staying awake. Find a comfortable posture for meditating, but not TOO comfortable.
2. Don't meditate where you sleep. A comfy chair may be a great place to meditate - unless its the one you fall asleep in while watching TV. Anyplace where you regularly sleep is likely to trigger a sleep response in your body.
3. Create slight discomfort. If you are too comfortable to stay awake, try turning the thermostat down, sitting in a harder chair, or otherwise creating a minor irritation that will be enough to keep you awake, but not distract you too much.
4. Try meditating in a new place. Using a chair set in the back yard, or doing your meditation in the car at a nice park can be a good way to get out of a rut and wake up your mind.
5. Use an automatic wake-up position. Rest your elbows on the chair arms and have your hands comfortably up in the air. If you begin to sleep, your arms will fall, waking you up. Many meditators have used positions that prevent sleep in this way, without being uncomfortable.
Sleep is good, but meditation is more than relaxation. It should help you develop a sense of peace and relaxed alertness. If meditating has become nothing more than your favorite sleeping aid, start using these tips today to get back on track.
Steve Gillman has meditated and studied meditation for over twenty years. Visit his website and subscribe to The Meditation Newsletter at: http://www.TheMeditationSite.com/newsletter.html