Before sitting in meditation one should also pay attention to how one eats and dresses. One should not meditate less than an hour after finishing a meal, since at that time blood has rushed to the stomach and intestines and one can easily become drowsy. One should not be too full or too hungry; seventy to eighty percent full is best. One’s clothing should be loose, comfortable, and soft to promote good circulation. Having sufficient sleep will also prevent one from falling asleep during meditation and wasting precious time.
Once all preparatory work is complete, one can then begin sitting in meditation. In the Chan School, sitting meditation is generally divided into three stages: *3 regulating the body, regulating the breath, and regulating the mind
*3 A more complete explanation can be found in Master Zhizhe’s Smaller Text on Stopping and Seeing (小止觀).