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Thread: getting to full lotus

  1. #1

    getting to full lotus

    Hi,

    This is my first posting in this forum. Maybe somebody else posted a similar thread before - sorry if that is the case.

    I am struggling alot with my stiff legs and hips. Full lotus is impossible for me and I am even struggling in the half lotus. What can I do to become more flexible? What stretches do you recommend? Do you know any good material (on the web or maybe some book on amazon)?

    How much do the legs become more flexible merely by sitting?

    In case nothing really helps, what alternative ways of stitting do you recommend and why?

    Thank you for your comments!

    Fuhma

  2. #2

    Re: getting to full lotus

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuhma
    Hi,

    This is my first posting in this forum. Maybe somebody else posted a similar thread before - sorry if that is the case.

    I am struggling alot with my stiff legs and hips. Full lotus is impossible for me and I am even struggling in the half lotus. What can I do to become more flexible? What stretches do you recommend? Do you know any good material (on the web or maybe some book on amazon)?

    How much do the legs become more flexible merely by sitting?

    In case nothing really helps, what alternative ways of stitting do you recommend and why?

    Thank you for your comments!

    Fuhma
    Hi Fuhma, and welcome again.

    I am sure that Taigu will soon be along with a comment, but be sure to watch his various videos on posture in our "Beginner's Series" (and the rest of the series too) ...

    viewforum.php?f=20

    Also, this book may be helpful ...

    viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2111

    This old thread is on some helpful yoga stretches and Lotus posture ...

    viewtopic.php?p=15434#p15434

    This is on unnecessary pain during Zazen ...

    viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2968

    But Taigu's talks during the Beginner's series are the right and best place to look.

    Gassho, Jundo

  3. #3
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: getting to full lotus

    Gassho to you Fuhma,

    We all have an idea of what perfect sitting is, full lotus and deep samadhi...and when we sit, all we meet is physical difficulty and inner mess.Well, let me put it another way, ideal practice is not practice, what you have and meet here and now is all there is, you may start a race with yourself, a competition to get everything better as you see it, but in my clouded yeyes, it is not practice, just another end gaining, another form of spiritualism materialism. Be who you are, with bounds and imperfections, take this beautiful bundle to the cushion and allow gravity and your response to it to do the job. The more you sit, the easier it is going to be. You may do some excellent yoga stuff and streching but ahain it is not practice... Many Zen teachers and priests do sit in burma these days, some on benches when they have a real physical issue, some on chairs...Don't turn the whole thing into an obscession. You see, guys like Dogen or old Japanese people had very opened hips due to their lifestyle, no chair around, another kind of food. And you were not born in old Japan, and your lifestyle has hardly anything in common with this one.
    I would recommand you to free yourself from the need to perform and become a Zen athlete. I would also invite you to practice burma as I do, Jundo often does, and many other guys around. Zen is not about meeting the criteria generated by our deluded self, Zen is meeting the real person here and now, cripple or not is not the point. Relax. Enjoy your sitting. Take care.

    gassho


    Taigu

  4. #4

    Re: getting to full lotus

    Thank you, Taigu. I needed to hear this also very much. Gassho, Ann

  5. #5

    Re: getting to full lotus

    Totally agree Taigu,
    after forty-odd years of sitting lotus and half lotus my specialist told me I must not bend my knees, as in knelling and sitting cross legged. Getting used to sitting in a chair was not easy but after the Rohatsu retreat with all it's extra sitting periods I have finally got used to it. Whatever position you sit in you just need to allow it time to sort itself natually - Do nothing and all is done-.

    Gassho

    Joe

  6. #6

    Re: getting to full lotus

    Full lotus is nice and stable, this link worked well for me: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http...g.html&h=eb79c

  7. #7

    Re: getting to full lotus

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    I would recommand you to free yourself from the need to perform and become a Zen athlete... Zen is not about meeting the criteria generated by our deluded self, Zen is meeting the real person here and now, cripple or not is not the point. Relax. Enjoy your sitting. Take care.
    It is nice to hear this... thanks!

  8. #8

    Re: getting to full lotus

    Hiyas

    Just tossing this in, as a testimonial, for what its worth, as what has already been said covers it all.

    I used to be able to sit full lotus and did so for a year or so. I got a bit heavier in weight and grew a bit in size as well and forcing full lotus simply worsened a bad knee I had from 20 years of snowboarding and other abuse.

    I hung on to this notion of "Correct and right" position and felt a bit "less" when I switched to Half lotus. I really thought I was missing something I was... the whole damn point ops:

    I sat in pain for sometime thinking I was gaining something for this suffering and I was... just more suffering

    I was kindly asked to sit just Burmese... with a foot slightly up on thigh if I could but not to even "push" that... Voila!
    I could sit basically distraction free and have since!! Now its just ALL the other distractions that come and go.

    Another key bit that helped was to not forcibly snap into any of the positions you choose but to "grow" or flow into them - Forced into position is not usually easy to maintain and will actually collapse in faster than we think! Growing into is not a guarantee of longevity in sitting but it is a much more natural way, and allows for our bodies a bit of time to adjust. Rather than forcing, and locking, just sit with our mind and body straight and every so often expand. move a bit on an outward breath.

    Now I sit the with relative ease when entering the Dharma Gate of Great Ease in the position that works best for me. I found half lotus meant I was bit off kilter to one side (depending on which leg was up on where) that provides stability and sustainability when I sit so I can keep my mind on my business - er or not .

    Please just take this for what its worth, I am not any expert in this area! Just sharing what I found worked for me (Thank you Taigu!)

    Gassho
    Shohei

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