When we meditate we need to apply the three regulations: regulation of body, mind and breath.
Regulation of the Body involves settling the body into the correct position for meditation. For seated meditation you can sit on the floor or on a chair depending on your physical condition. If seated on a chair, sit on the front edge of the chair with knees hip width apart, feet flat on the floor, knees at 90 degrees, and hips at 90 degrees to the waist. The back should not touch the back of the chair (unless your physical condition requires that you be supported.) If seated on the floor, place a cushion under the tail bone. (If the low back aches during meditation, increase the height of the cushion, if the knees ache support them with pillows or bolsters). Best is to sit in lotus. If you cannot sit in lotus, then simple cross legged position is good. Women should have the right leg outside, men the left leg.
Once comfortably seated, straighten the back, but soften the chest slightly allowing the shoulders to drop. Push the top of the head slightly upward toward heaven. Touch the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth just behind the teeth. Place the hands in the Daoist hand seal or create a ”round” with the hands by touching the thumb tips together and laying the fingers of the right hand on the inside of the left palm for women, left fingers inside the palm of the right hand for men, and let them rest comfortably just below the belly button area of the belly. Now focus the eyes on the tip of the nose. Men should allow a slip of light to enter, women should close the eyes. If the eyes begin to wander around, bring them gently back to the tip of the nose.
To regulate the mind we bring it gently back to the breath, the tip of the nose and the specific meditation practice. When you find the mind jumping around like a wild horse, bring the eyes and attention back to the tip of the nose, without judgment, simply allowing the mind to be still. If thoughts arise, simply observe without reattaching, and bring the attention back to the meditation. It may take as much as 10-15 minutes to regulate the mind fully when you begin to meditate. You can make an agreement with your mind before you begin that you will pay full attention to it after the meditation.
To regulate breath we start by slowing it down. The breath should be slow, gentle, deep, even and silent. We can begin our meditation with 3, 6, or 9 breaths where we visualize Qi rising along the Du channel (beginning at the tip of the tailbone and up the inner face of the spine to just below the nose) with the inhalation, and dropping down the front of the body and into the belly with the exhalation.
Once the body, mind and breath are regulated we can then begin the specific meditation practice that we are choosing for the sitting.