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Thread: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

  1. #1

    How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    Hello All,

    I have been experimenting with my zazen positioning and was hoping to pick the brains of other members who sit in full lotus. Basically I have only two questions.

    1. Where do your feet rest on your legs?
    2. How are your feet positioned?

    As you can see from my legs below, naturally my right foot is on my left thigh, and my left foot is in my "legpit" of my right leg. My feet are relaxed and therefore seem to be at a 45 degree angle from my leg...approximately of course.

    Some experiments I've been trying have been:

    1. Moving my feet further up on my thighs (a tighter pretzel). I found this puts discomfort on my knees.
    2. Moving my feet back so the 'blade' of my foot are on my thighs (a looser pretzel). I found that this eventually causes my ankle to cramp.
    3. Angling my feet so they are flat or right angles. This provided no discernible difference other than my mind was focused on trying to keep them that way...counterproductive.

    My reason for asking is that I have found that when I sit for longer than 30 min, I will have some cramping and instability when i stand up. I do stretch before and after each sit. I have been sitting this way for years so it's quite alright, just thought maybe I could learn from other's experiences and practice.

    Thanks in advance,

    Gassho,

    Shawn

    PS - I took this pic at the end of my sit tonight, so my legs naturally 'relax' over the duration of the sit...so may not be exactly 45 degree angles & up on thigh/legpit..but you get the idea.

  2. #2

    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    Just as a follow up comment to this...I have found the stretches from Dr. Mark Rosenberg very helpful regardless of whatever sitting position you prefer.

    http://howtostretch.com/lotus.html

    Gassho,

    Shawn

  3. #3

    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    Thanks for posting that link. I sit half lotus. My left leg is much more flexible than my right, probably because when I sit at my desk I usually have my left leg up on my right thigh. In any case, when I sit half lotus, I usually sit with my left foot higher up on my thigh (sort of like a tight pretzel), and my foot faces upward.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  4. #4

    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    Hi,

    I know Taigu will jump in here soon. Me, I sit "Full Lotus" like a man with elephant thighs and stubby legs, so not a good example. In the Lotus Posture, I resemble Ganesh ...



    I try to sit Full Lotus about once a week, just to keep flexible, but I find it puts much pressure on my 50 year old, pre-arthritic knees and ankles. I usually sit Burmese or Half Lotus. I feel that the Lotus is best suited to 60 kilo Asian men with thin legs, like my teacher.

    However, if one is to sit Full Lotus, your own body will tell you what is right. If you are feeling pain or pressure on the knees, I do not feel that it is good. The knees should rest comfortably, and both flat, on the mat. Taigu's teacher, Chodo Cross, has one of the most excellent sitting postures I have seen. Maybe Taigu will have a picture.

    I point you to some other threads, such as Taigu's excellent series on sitting posture (part of our Beginners series) ...

    viewtopic.php?f=20&t=2925&p=41806&hilit=+full+lotu s+#p41806

    And these other threads ...

    viewtopic.php?p=45082#p45082

    viewtopic.php?p=39384#p39384

    Gassho, Jundo

  5. #5

    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    Once again I have to follow Jundo's footsteps and repeat much the same: Full lotus is ideal but again for ten thousand reasons: injuries, culture, bone structure, diet, habits of a lifetime... It may be difficult and even harmful once you get on the other side...of the hill :wink: I sit Burmese or sometimes half lotus and I don't see my way of sitting as not as good as a full lotus. What is good is what works for you. In real full lotus the ankles should be much higher up, both feet forming a cup in which it is easy to sit the hands in hokaijoin. Always remember that lotus posture is done through opening and getting the hips very flexible. If you sit in lotus with very fixed hips you are getting ready for a leg injury at some point. Remember that half lotus always give you the feeling of inbalance, you have to sort of compensate to sit straight. I find Burmese very balanced, easy and not painful. Sitting doesn't have to be torture. It is the joyful gate.

    gassho

    Taigu

  6. #6

    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    . I find Burmese very balanced, easy and not painful. Sitting doesn't have to be torture. It is the joyful gate.
    Exactly it! All of the above! I have nothing to add beyond this bit about a personal experience.

    I sat full lotus for over a year... it was easy then as i was skiiiinnnny. (6'1" - 160lbs) this body changed (40lbs changed ) but my sitting position didn't and I injured my already weakened knee and found all sitting painful for about 6 months or so.

    All born out of a stubbornness and silly idea that I was only half sitting right in half lotus and not at all right in others...even though I said it was all good... I kept the opposite notion in my head. The wonderful advice above and especially the quoted bit have made sitting exactly that! The joyful gate! I sit Burmese regularly while still working on my body (it just makes sense, though all is perfect as it is... it all can handle some work to be done - well at least my wife agrees ops

    Gassho
    Shohei

  7. #7

    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    I sit almost exactly like you on your picture!

    This is how Mike Cross sits:


    I too have found your points 1, 2 and 3 to be worthless.
    You need more rotation in the hips and then I guess it will come naturally. If you put your feet higher it will hurt and they they will slide down again as you relax! :evil:

    You need a Zabuton or your feet will fall asleep and your knees will hurt. Stretch your piriformis muscle or your legs will fall asleep due to strangulation of the sciatic nerve. You may also need a higher Zafu. Open the hips, ie stretch your external rotators of the hip. Never put pressure on the knee because your hip is stiff, especially not when the knee is bent more than 90 degrees. Stretch before Zazen, 30 seconds of Cradle position is better than nothing. 'Point' with the foot as you lift the foot into position, then relax the ankle.

    http://zenmontpellier.voila.net/eng/lotus/lotuseng.html

    Attached files

  8. #8

    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    My legs would fall of if I tried..

  9. #9

    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    I actually surprised myself by being able to sit full lotus recently. But I can't hold the position for very long. First of all, I find that my left ankle bone digs very hard into my right thigh. Secondly, my left ankle becomes sore. But, I find that I feel the most stable when I am sitting full lotus. I don't feel like I'm teetering.

    I have been in yoga for about a year now and I think this has a lot to do with it.

  10. #10

    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    Quote Originally Posted by tcv
    I have been in yoga for about a year now and I think this has a lot to do with it.
    Oh yes!
    That's why they started doing these postures, to be able to meditate for three to six hours!
    I'm going to try Yoga too. I think.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  11. #11

    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    Quote Originally Posted by tcv
    I have been in yoga for about a year now and I think this has a lot to do with it.
    Oh yes!
    That's why they started doing these postures, to be able to meditate for three to six hours!
    I'm going to try Yoga too. I think.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    Can't recommend it enough. I occasionally go back to the "gym-gym" the weights, the bikes, the competition, all very pissing contest stuff sometimes. The atmosphere permeates tends to permeate you. I always go back to yoga. Moving with and listening to your body, opening slowly, building strength slowly. allow allow allow. A bit like zazen (then again, what isn't :P )

    Sometimes, depending on the teacher, it gets a bit too, errr... crystal pyramid and geomancy for me? If that's your thing, none of my business, but it's not mine

    Also if you do try it, laugh at yourself, its all you anyway.

    Gassho,
    Taylor (Myoken)

  12. #12

    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor
    Sometimes, depending on the teacher, it gets a bit too, errr... crystal pyramid and geomancy for me? If that's your thing, none of my business, but it's not mine
    It's what has kept me away, but I have started thinking, it's all in my mind. What am I afraid of? That I would be 'converted to Yoga', away from Zen? That I will start doing colon cleansings?

    Thank you Taylor!

    /Pontus

  13. #13

    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    How do I sit when in full Lotus?

    Unsteadly and rather achily. I generally sit in a sort of modified half Lotus (for to keep both knees on the ground) or Burmese. Sometimes, when I'm feeling all high and mighty, I try to do full Lotus, and it tends to bring me right back down to earth.

    So, I suppose it has its benefits for me, after all .

    Metta,

    Saijun

  14. #14
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    We always talk about pain in our legs and back . . . but here's a weird one. Lately I've been experiencing a little pain in the backs of my hands (in the palms-up, thumbs-just touching-mudra.) Has anyone else had this?

  15. #15

    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer G P
    We always talk about pain in our legs and back . . . but here's a weird one. Lately I've been experiencing a little pain in the backs of my hands (in the palms-up, thumbs-just touching-mudra.) Has anyone else had this?
    Hello Jennifer,

    Do you work with your hands much? You may have some problems with the tendons in your hands. If it persists, perhaps a visit to an orthopaedic specialist is in order?

    Metta,

    Saijun

  16. #16

    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    I would try not to bend so much in the wrists and see if that helps. Put a pillow or a blanket in your lap maybe?

    /Pontus (not an orthopedic specialist)

  17. #17

    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    After sitting for longer times in my crappy full lotus, I got a little pain from the inside of my right knee, probably the medial meniscus. So I have done a couple of yoga classes and tried to stretch my hip rotators some more. Be very, very careful if your knees hurt in the full lotus! You probably don't have enough hip movement and you may hurt your knees permanently.

    Anyway, I haven't had time to practice it much, but I liked this video very much. Jundo style pedagogy, a nice looking girl showing the pose and from what I can tell, sound advice. What else can one wish for in an instructional video?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USAeDzIbM5M[/video]]

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  18. #18

    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    We always talk about pain in our legs and back . . . but here's a weird one. Lately I've been experiencing a little pain in the backs of my hands (in the palms-up, thumbs-just touching-mudra.) Has anyone else had this?


    YES!! LOL I thought it was just me!
    I think it was because of my sitting posture, actually. I sit half-lotus, usually, or use a Seiza bench, because I have some bad injuries to my back and legs from the war...and so, there's no way I can sit "full lotus," and thus I don't have the base of my feet to rest my hands and wrists on. Early in my sitting, I was trying so hard to "do it right that I was unconsciously straining to keep my hands "right." Next time you sit, wait a couple of minutes and check out your thumbs... if there's a lot of pressure between them, you need to consciously relax a bit more.
    Or, just put your hands on your thighs or knees. Works for me sitting in seiza, and sometimes in half lotus.
    Hope that was at least vaguely helpful.

  19. #19

    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    Found a really good clip on lotus and knee pain!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQBKbJjqHy4[/video]]

  20. #20
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    Quote Originally Posted by KvonNJ
    YES!! LOL I thought it was just me!
    I think it was because of my sitting posture, actually. I sit half-lotus, usually, or use a Seiza bench, because I have some bad injuries to my back and legs from the war...and so, there's no way I can sit "full lotus," and thus I don't have the base of my feet to rest my hands and wrists on. Early in my sitting, I was trying so hard to "do it right that I was unconsciously straining to keep my hands "right." Next time you sit, wait a couple of minutes and check out your thumbs... if there's a lot of pressure between them, you need to consciously relax a bit more.
    Or, just put your hands on your thighs or knees. Works for me sitting in seiza, and sometimes in half lotus.
    Hope that was at least vaguely helpful.
    Ah! I'm a Seiza bench sitter too. I've started trying to relax my hands, and to use a cushion or folded blanket under them. Also . . . maybe I've just been playing too many video games lately. ops: :lol:

  21. #21

    Re: How do you sit when in Full Lotus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer G P
    Ah! I'm a Seiza bench sitter too. I've started trying to relax my hands, and to use a cushion or folded blanket under them. Also . . . maybe I've just been playing too many video games lately. ops: :lol:
    Video games with hand controls or a computer with a keyboard? If it's a keyboard, check the height of your chair, so that the forearms are horizontal and try to support your wrists with one of those gelly-like support thingies or a folded towel, so that you aren't sitting with extended wrists for too long. Tell us how it goes!

    Gassho
    /Pontus

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