I know that in the advanced levels of Meditation, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, the tiniest variations in the structure of a movement can have tremendous ramifications and make or break a movement. I happen to do Taoist Sitting meditation a lot, and I noticed no one ever mentioned which hand is meant to go on top or why. I don’t know how important this is, but I’m immensely curious and I have had no luck finding a teacher who knows. 10 points for anyone who can provide a reasonable explanation or a credible source!
I can only wonder how good you are if you notice such small details like that! 😛 As much as I’d like to claim the credit for being skilled enough to know this, that still years beyond me. Fortunately, I read a post on a very good Taoist Tai Chi/Meditation Master’s blog which covered this:
The basic answer according to Bruce Frantzis is that until you are doing extremely advanced work with the left or right energy channels it doesn’t matter that much, and the biggest issue of one hand over the other is to stretch the more tense side. There are a lot of extra minor details though, so you might want to skim through it.
Good morning Tim
I can only speak on the topic of meditation in the tradition that I practice (btw, the ten points are meaningless, it’s the information that counts). The position of the hands aren’t too important unless one is doing deity meditation and becoming the deity in tantric meditation (best work with a teacher on that one).
As I have been taught if you are right-handed, the right hand is placed on top of the left with palms up with thumbs touching. If you are left-handed, it is with the left hand on top of the right. Of course, there are other postures and mudras in meditation such as the posture of receiving with both hands on the knees, palms up with thumb touching the index finger of each hand.
In some meditation techniques one assumes the mudra of the deity. There are many mudras used in sitting meditation (see http://www.meditationinfo.net/1/mudras.htm for some). Obviously, in walking meditation one does not use a mudra but the hands are generally overlapped (palms inward and lightly held–not gripping) above the navel instead of at the sides of the body.
If you are working under the direction of a qualified teacher, my advice is to discuss the question with him or her. He or she is best suited to answer this question since it depends on the tradition you are following.
Hope this helps.
May all be at peace.