It's an excellent question, Lauren. Thanks for asking. There is a simple answer and a more complicated answer. First the simple: when we lie down, we are more likely to fall asleep. As we begin to calm the mind, breathe deeply, close the eyes... the body naturally relaxes. From there, chances are you strong that you will drift off (even if you don't completely fall asleep). The more complicated answer is: part of what we are developing while meditating is a cultivation of energy and a subtle internal awareness. When we are seated, this energy can rise up the spine and our awareness is far more likely to be more vital, more awake- literally and metaphorically. Feel free to explore this on your own! See if you can stay awake and fully present while lying down... and how it feels different from sitting. And let me know- I am curious and open.
I have been meditating for less than a year. For a long time I was able to meditate consistently between 30 and 60 minutes a day. But recently I started feeling pain in my upper back near my left shoulder and sometimes near my right shoulder. Sometimes now I stop meditating because I get frustrated when I feel the pain. My thighs are too tight for me to meditate cross-legged so I meditate in a chair. But per your suggestion I will start meditating in the hero's pose tonight using two blocks and see if that will help my back pain. At first I thought the pain was psychosomatic but maybe it is just because I am sitting incorrectly.
I’m very new to meditation. I have a terrible time finding the shut off button on my mind at the end of each day and I’m now hoping that yoga will be that button and also calm me down. That’s for all the sitting variations. I tried them all and find the leg in front of leg while sitting on a blanket the most comfortable. Should I be working towards getting to the cross legged sitting position that involves one of my feet on my thigh?