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Thread: Lazy Feet

  1. #1

    Lazy Feet

    When I sit, I sit for 15 minutes at a time being less than a month old to Zazen. Without fail, at minute 12 or 13 the tingling in both of my feet has become so intense that I generally spend the last 2 minutes sitting in more of a sprawled out position instead of with legs crossed.

    Is there a trick to not having my extremities fall asleep while sitting?

    Gassho,
    Phil

  2. #2

    Re: Lazy Feet

    Phil,
    I know how you feel. I am new to sitting zazen and my feet go numb everytime. Maybe some of the others will have a solution for this.

    Gassho,
    Bryan

  3. #3
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Lazy Feet

    Hi Phil,

    For anyone to give advice we will need a little more info on your sitting in general. What are you sitting on? What position are you sitting? With a few more details we can take a closer look at it and try to offer advice.

    Gassho,
    John

  4. #4

    Re: Lazy Feet

    I've found that the higher my butt sits on the zafu, the less stress is on my legs, because my hips are rotated down more and that facilitates blood flow better. Also, I sit in kind of a modified half lotus, with my left foot on my right thigh/calf (just behind my knee) and my right foot just on top of my left calf. Hope that helps!

  5. #5

    Re: Lazy Feet

    I guess my "zafu" is just an oversized pillow, which I don't always use. I'd say 50% of time I'm just on the floor. I have wondered if I needed to engineer some sort of solution where I sit just a bit higher then my legs.

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Re: Lazy Feet

    Hi Philip,
    I recommend Rev Taigu's videos on the basics of sitting posture. It's full of great advice and can be found on the site here.

    It is important to establish a stable posture right away. It is not a good idea to sit on the floor. Sit on a zafu, hardback books, a block of wood ... whatever lifts you up off the floor and allows your pelvis tilt a little forward.

    Also, it is vital that your knees are on the floor, and not floating in an unstable position in mid-air. When the knees are on the floor, your position is stable and can be sustained with practice for long periods. What suits you might be one of the Lotus postures, the Burmese posture, a simple cross-legged posture; whatever. See Taigu's films for guidance.

    In terms of sleepy feet, that should not be anything to worry about. It is normal. The more you sit the more stable and comfortable sitting will become, and the longer will be the periods you can sit for. If your circulation is back to normal and the numbness gone within five minutes of rising from a sit, then there is nothing to worry about. However, if you rise and still have pain and discomfort after five minutes, you need to change something about how you sit.

    To experiment is key. Put the time into establishing a good posture for yourself ... whatever that is.

    This is my basic advice. These are lessons I've learned in over twelve years of sitting. So, i'm new to zazen, really!

    My best advice is to look to Taigu and Jundo for advice and guidance. They have real experience and knowlege and are very approacable.

    Gassho to you,
    Soen

  7. #7
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Lazy Feet

    I guess my "zafu" is just an oversized pillow, which I don't always use. I'd say 50% of time I'm just on the floor. I have wondered if I needed to engineer some sort of solution where I sit just a bit higher then my legs.
    Here is where i believe your problem stems. In what we learn the knees must be lower than the hips etc. A proper zafu makes a huge difference on posture hence enabling proper blood flow. I suggest you invest in a good one as its worth it. The way I think of it is if you take up exercising you wouldn't go out running in a suite and dress shoes. Unless of course you're at a wedding and the building catches fire :shock:
    Seriously though I would start there and then watch Taigu Sensei's video lessons. You'll be tiptop in no time.

    Just a ponderance of my own, what the heck did the Buddha sit on? I doubt it was a Zafu!

    Gassho,
    John

  8. #8

    Re: Lazy Feet

    A mat made of dried grass that he did not smoke ...of course
    Something like that.

    gassho


    Taigu

    PS : waiting for a zafu a rather thick blanket folded in a squarish pad would work rather well...Just a thought and an erstaz.

  9. #9

    Re: Lazy Feet

    Thanks for all the advise! I'll see about using a folded blanket or something to elevate me a little, and I'll also go check out Rev Taigu's sitting videos. I agree I want to get in to a good habit now so I don't develop any bad ones.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Lazy Feet

    A mat made of dried grass that he did not smoke ...of course
    I thought I had it all figured out till that last part! Because if he did smoke it that sure as hell would have explained that whole psychedelic trip he had with Mara in it! :lol:

    Gassho,
    John

  11. #11

    Re: Lazy Feet

    Maybe try only 10 minutes for awhile

  12. #12

    Re: Lazy Feet

    Quote Originally Posted by Matto
    Maybe try only 10 minutes for awhile
    And use the other five minutes to streeeeeeeetch.

    Really--best long term solution there is, apart from learning how to levitate and sitting in the air .

    Metta,

    Saijun

  13. #13

    Re: Lazy Feet

    Hi,

    Only a moment today to point you to some good past threads on legs "falling asleep" and the sciatic nerve and such ... I think you will find some good solutions in there ...

    viewtopic.php?p=41977#p41977

    viewtopic.php?p=28865#p28865

    It is not a good idea to sit on the floor. Sit on a zafu, hardback books, a block of wood ...

    I agree that it is best to not sit on the floor, but neither would I recommend hard books or a block of wood! Ouch! If one really really really can't find a Zafu, then tightly folded bed blankets will do.

    Gassho, J

  14. #14

    Re: Lazy Feet

    another travel possibility is an inflatable beach ball in a pillow case. Don't inflate it too much but you can adjust the hight to your requirements.

  15. #15

    Re: Lazy Feet

    Try using a bench - seems to make life easier on the legs, knees, etc.

  16. #16
    disastermouse
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    Re: Lazy Feet

    Quote Originally Posted by Sloppy_Zen
    Try using a bench - seems to make life easier on the legs, knees, etc.
    A bench removes the sleepy leg syndrome, but it's a little less 'planted' than sitting cross-legged. I also get legs that go numb when I sit cross-legged, no matter what I use.

  17. #17
    Treeleaf Unsui Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Re: Lazy Feet

    Jundo is right. A soft blanket or quilt or whatever is better. But I have used books and wood on occassion. Need breeds invention. There's always the phone book!
    Good luck with the sleepy legs.
    Gassho
    Soen

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