A timely subject any time
Thank you for sharing!
I thought a similar way, as I could sit full lotus with out issue.
That changed as all does, and I could not sit that way (injuries added up, weight added on )
and I actually did my self more injury trying.
The "Type" of posture is not the great gate, its Sitting (be it a chair, stool, bench cushion, standing, walking or lying down) first and foremost - in a sustainable manner, surrendering the chase for the RIGHT WAY, and Sitting (be it any of the other bracketed things!) Left foot on top, or right... half lotus or Burmese? What if you cannot move your feet or have them? Is the being sitting in a lesser style!?
Once I was given that same invitation to surrender it and move on... well sitting - however its done, is no longer physically painful! (I now sit Burmese and at work, in a chair sometimes).
Jundo and Taigu have some really good stuff on this topic with video included over on the SERIES OF TALKS FOR NEW FOLKS section. Check it out if you haven't already.
Yes, in additional to Taigu's wonderful talks on posture in the "We're All Beginners" video (here is the first of those, and they follow every 2 or 3 talks) ...
I would also point you to the book "The Posture of Meditation" which applies to chair sitting as well (review here, with a couple of cautions). Taigu likes the book too.
I prefer the Lotus or Burmese as they are very stable and comfortable when sat properly ... and one truly can "drop the body" because the body is forgotten. The balance of the posture facilitates balance of mind (not two). However, as Susan describes ... when it is truly not possible or there are other health concerns, an alternative posture such as Seiza or a chair are fine. One can also find balance and stability so.
The basic rule of thumb is that the posture, whichever it is, should be balanced and comfortable enough to sit for longer periods of time while "letting the body drift from mind." That means, for example, that the neck, back or knees etc. are not parts of the body we are "thinking about and focusing on" until they may start to hurt (or I just mention them) and suddenly our attention is there. Otherwise, we go through most of life not giving them any notice. Also, a balanced posture facilitates a balanced mind (mind and body are not two in our Practice). In other words, find a balanced, stable posture where the body is comfortable, then ... FOGETA 'BOUT IT!
Here is a comment on attitudes to posture, and some misunderstandings ...
and here is another thread. Though about Seiza, much of the same Wisdom applies ...
...and if you sit when sleepy, maybe one of these too
I'm quite active but can not sit well in the full lotus. Burmese seems to suit my physique well and provides as a sturdy, comfortable balanced place. There are good gentle stretching exercises and yoga which could help, but You have to work with what you have.
On a side issue sitting half lotus, gently, has resolved a niggling Iliotibial band syndrome http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iliotibial_band_syndrome I had in my left knee. The main thing is to be gentle but sitting can be good to gain a little mobility in your knees and hips.
Those knee chairs are actually not good for meditation. When sitting to meditate, you want to be stable; you want your body to be firmly in contact with the ground. Many knee chairs - such as the one in the picture - are not an all stable. Since the wood is flexible, as your weight shifts, your entire body shifts. This is good for dynamic sitting when doing things, but not when meditating (IMHO).Originally Posted by Taigu
I long used a knee chair like that - but bigger, with a back so I could lean back - for my work. Then I had a brain hemmhorage, and had balance problems. Using the chair was impossible, because I was fighting to maintain my balance at every movement, as the wood parts moved.
Note that some knee chairs are built so there are not separate pieces of wood for each knee, and in those cases don't move in the same way.
I prefer Burmese, but if sitting all day I alternate with a seiza bench; Doc said changing postures is good for the arthritis (as previously noted, some are much better than others). By the end of the day, I'm usually in a chair for the last round or two. Several folks I know swear by those ergonomic kneeling-computer-chair thingies, others sit in chairs, one's back is such that she lays down. The object isn't to sit; it's to meditate. Some discomfort is one thing, but if it really hurts, you're no longer focused upon your practice, but on the pain, so whatever facilitates your practice, go with it.
Hi Emmet,Emmet wrote:
Several folks I know swear by those ergonomic kneeling-computer-chair thingies, others sit in chairs, one's back is such that she lays down. The object isn't to sit; it's to meditate. Some discomfort is one thing, but if it really hurts, you're no longer focused upon your practice, but on the pain, so whatever facilitates your practice, go with it.
I understand the wonderful point you are making here but,
When sitting just sit
When laying just lay
No meditation required.
We just had a wonderful thread here on this very subject a while back.
Some good user comments from that article as well:
Sitting on the floor, and squatting, are eastern postures that people in eastern cultures use all day every day (or did - perhaps that is changing). So lotus for an easterner is a ritual form of everyday sitting. For a westerner, it is not, because westerners sit in chairs or on benches or stools from a very early age. The two postures develop different strengths, tendon lengths, flexibilities, senses of balance, etc. A westerner stting in lotus or half-lotus is making a much different effort than an easterner. Maybe there is an advantage in the lotus, or maybe it is just the ritual posture because floor sitting was universal in the cultures where Buddhist meditation developed. And this is a millenia-old difference - even though chairs were very rare in most western households until as late as the 18th century, floor sitting was also rare - benches or stools, not floor cushions, were used.
There are things to be said for continuity and symbolic reminders; there are also things to be said for not being attached to meaningless ritual. Which might be which?Sitting cross-legged on the floor was the normal/natural way of sitting for all occasions for centuries in the country of Buddha's birth and later in the countries through which it first spread. Westerners do not normally sit on the floor. It is not therefore natural to us - this is a culturally-embedded phenomenon that has come to be viewed as required by Western practitioners. Therefore, even if you have no injury, I see no reason for demanding it of oneself.
I thought to post this for several reasons. It is a little TV story about my friend and Soto priest, Rev. Kyoki Roberts, who teaches in Pittsburgh. A lovely film about a lovely Sangha. You may notice that, among the many others topics in the film, Kyoki sits in a chair due to physical issues.
I sit in a wheelchair, and that's ok, too.
Btw, wheeling kinhin is also ok.
The (non)point of both is the (non)process of it, not the outcome posture/action.