I think that you might want to get a better quality pair of needles.
I bought a pretty cheap pair (from Walmart) and I felt like I was fighting the cord when I tried to use it. T he cord kept getting twisted, and it made knitting feel very akward.
I like Addi Turbos, or (I think) Susan Bates needles. The Addi Turbos are more expensive (about $8-10/pair) but the cord is very flexible, and cooperative. I would totally recommend them.
Oh yeah -- when I use circulars, I sometimes rest my hands on my lap, and let the knitting fall over my knees or lap. If it's really long, then I let it fall to the floor (I sometimes have a laundry basket, or in a backpack at my feet.)
However you are comfortable is what you should do. There is a good article on Knitty here: