One of the first things someone does before they meditate is that they must get comfortable so the body relaxes. When the body relaxes, the mind transcends. You don't have to contort yourself uncomfortably in order to meditate like you see Buddhist Monks do. No, you can meditate in any posture that is comfortable. Meditation is what you do with your mind, not your body.
There are many postures that can be used for meditation, and here are a few:
AKA Cris-cross-Applesauce. It is an easy posture that practically anyone can sit in. To do this posture, put your left foot under your right thigh, and your right foot under your left thigh (or vice versa, whatever is more comfortable).
This position is great for beginners and/or people who are not very flexible. Although, this position may be good if you are only spending no more than 20 minutes. meditating, If you plan to go more, this position may start to get uncomfortable as your thighs may put pressure on your feet. If you plan to go for more than 20 minutes, and aren't that flexible, you should also check out the next two positions.
This posture is another simple posture. It involves putting one foot close to the front of the pelvis, and the other foot in front of the first foot.
Again, this position is great for beginners and for people who can not get into the other positions. This pose does, however, require some flexibility of the hip and knee joints. It is also recommended that you place a cushion under your rear for more support. This pose can be comfortable for a time period greater than the cross-legged position, as there is no body parts putting pressure on your feet.
The "Perfect" Pose (Siddhasana)
This requires a little more hip and knee flexibility than the Burmese position. It is done by bending one knee so that one foot will touch the perineum by the heel, and then bend the opposite knee so that the other foot is placed on top of the first foot, and the heel should be touching the the area above the perineum.
This is a pretty comfortable pose to meditate in when you get used to it, and should remain comfortable throughout the meditation. A small cushion could be placed under your rear for more support if needed.
The Quarter Lotus Position
This pose is slightly similar to the perfect pose, except the higher foot is on top of the calf instead of the opposite foot. To preform the quarter lotus position, place one foot on top of the opposite calf, with the other foot tucked underneath the opposite leg. You can do this by starting out in the Burmese position and placing one foot on top of the opposite calf.
The Half Lotus Position
This is like the Quarter Lotus Position, except instead of the raised foot being placed on the opposite calf, it is placed on top of the opposite thigh.
This pose provides stability while meditating, and it can be used for those who have a good deal of flexibility, but do not have enough to go full lotus. This and the quarter lotus can remain comfortable throughout the sitting, depending on the meditator's flexibility.
The Full Lotus Position
The most advanced cross-legged position is the full lotus. It gives plenty of benefits, such as stability and stillness, but it is hard to sit in it comfortably for long periods of time. DO NOT ATTEMPT UNLESS YOU ARE LIMBER ENOUGH, you don't want to pull or rip anything do you?
To get into the Full Lotus Position, you got to get into half lotus, by placing one foot on top of the opposite thigh. Then take the other foot, and place it on top of the other thigh.
Obviously this position easier said than done. Use caution when trying to get into it.
If you do want to (slowly) work your way up to sitting in the lotus position, or if you want to increase flexibility to sit cross-legged more easily, you can check out this page: click
For any of these cross-legged positions, even if you are flexible enough to get into a position, and sit in it for awhile, it may become uncomfortable after time. Before attempting to get into a position, you should stretch the hip and knee joints. If any of these positions begin to hurt, STOP, and drop down to an easier position. You do not want to hurt yourself.
Now there are several other positions that you can use if cross-legged isn't for you.
Seiza is done by kneeling. The feet should be under your rear, or moved slightly to the sides of it.
Now, I can almost guarantee that this will make your feet fall asleep. So what you can do to prevent this is to get a seiza meditation bench. The bench will put a barrier between your rear and your feet, so that your feet do not fall asleep.
In a chair
You do not have to meditate on the floor, but you can do it in a chair. Sit in the chair, feet flat on the floor, and spine straight, and put your hands in your lap. This is a simple way to meditate while at work, or if you don't want to sit on a floor.
You can also lay down, flat on the floor, in what yogis call the corpse pose. For this pose, you lye down, keep your spine straight, put your hand at your sides, and meditate.
This pose is, perhaps, the easiest pose to get into, but it can also be the most troublesome. One can fall asleep quite easily while doing it.
For all the above positions, remember to keep your spine as straight.
And remember, pick the position that is right for you, and most comfortable.
If you decide to go into the more advanced positions, take it slow, and stretch first.
P.S. Confused what do to next? No problem! Click here