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Thread: Sitting Cross Legged

  1. #1

    Sitting Cross Legged

    There is no way I can sit in the full lotus position with the legs of a fourty year old bus driver. So I sit reasonably comfortable in the Burmese posture. My legs give me some pain and fall asleep often. Will this discomfort cease the more I practice just sitting? Please give me feedback about how to overcome this difficulty.

    Gassho

  2. #2
    Mp
    Guest
    Hello there,

    From my experience yes, over time things do ease. But that being said I feel it is important to ensure your zafu fits your body (not to flat or not too big/bulky) and that you also care/prepare your body to be in that position you have chosen. Sounds like being a bus driver you sit all day, so maybe try some yoga/stretching exercises to open the hip flexers and strengthen the core/lower back.

    These are just some ideas that have/do work for me and I hope they can for you. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

  3. #3
    Thank you Shingen _/|\_

  4. #4
    Joyo
    Guest
    What Shingen said....

    Just wanted to add a comment about the yoga. If I miss one or two days, it is hard for me to sit also, as my hips and lower back are so stiff. So, would definitely try some yoga. Also, yes, you will find that over time it becomes easier to sit, and for extended periods of time. Much like any other exercise, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes.

    All the best to you

    Gassho,
    Joyo

  5. #5
    Because of this aging body I sit Burmese all the time, on rare occasions half lotus.
    Discomfort and numbness are part and parcel of practice and ease with time. the more you sit, the more gravity is helping you with these stiff joints.

    gassho

    Taigu

  6. #6
    I am 48 with 4 years of sitting and stretch for 2 minutes before and after. Always go back to seiza bench after trying other positions.

    Gassho, Jishin

  7. #7
    Hi,

    Yes, in time and with practice the pain will go away and you'll sit much more comfortably for longer periods. Just keep on sitting and be patient.

    Also I suggest you practice a little yoga warm up before sitting. There are tons of nice videos in YouTube you can practice with. Over the years it has helped me a lot and now I am able to sit in half lotus for about 40 to 50 minutes without pain.

    Hey, what's your name? And how do you look like? A nice real photo avatar of you would help

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  8. #8
    Initially I started out sitting on chairs or stools. I also did some other things which were useful at the time but are not part of "just sitting" and have been discarded. Despite my age and arthritis I started getting onto an improvised zafu.

    For me there is a difference. The balance your body achieves sitting on a cushion with your knees bent and also on the floor can not be matched by sitting on a stool or chair.

    From there I purchased a well-stuffed commercially made zafu/zabuton set which I have used since. These further improved the sense of balance than my softer, improvised cushions.

    My legs are closest to being in the Burmese fold than either of the Lotus postures, but it brings my knees in contact with the zabuton or floor and provides a reference point for feeling balanced and grounded.

    My legs stiffen and fall asleep, but I have built up to being able to tolerate a 30 minute session without more than normal discomfort.

    Gassho,
    Chris

  9. #9
    Hi,

    Taigu's videos on sitting are great:

    TEACHER TALKS, TIPS AND TOPICS > Words by Taigu > Shikantaza > How to Sit

    Hope you find them helpful,

    Gassho
    Lisa

  10. #10
    Taigu's videos are very informative. Personally, I turn my zafu on its end and sit in the seiza position. I lose circulation in all other positions. I would recommend trying different positions to see what works best for you. Although some pain and discomfort seems inevitable, I see no reason to punish your body.

    Gassho, Entai

    泰 Entai (Bill)
    "this is not a dress rehearsal"

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by A beginner in Texas View Post
    Initially I started out sitting on chairs or stools. I also did some other things which were useful at the time but are not part of "just sitting" and have been discarded. Despite my age and arthritis I started getting onto an improvised zafu.

    For me there is a difference. The balance your body achieves sitting on a cushion with your knees bent and also on the floor can not be matched by sitting on a stool or chair.
    If one is sitting with a Zafu, then having the knees rest on the floor in a stable way is best. They should not be up in the air like this (a photo by a student meant to show what not to do).



    But like this ...



    Even though there is no "good Zazen" or "bad Zazen" .... knees stable on the mat is good Zazen (If you are around here long enough you will realize that both ways of viewing Zazen are true at once ... good and not good, all beyond thinking there is any "not good" Zazen! Even the bad Zazen is "Big G" Good Zazen!)

    However, as far as chair sitting ... such depends on the person. If that is how someone needs to sit ... that is perfect Zazen. Same with seiza or reclining or standing if needed. I knew a fellow with a spinal injury who stood every Zazen. Perfect Zazen. Find a way that feels comfortable, balanced, where one can pretty much let the body drop from mind, and do so with patience and sincerity and dropping all goals and judgments of "bad" or "great" from mind ... and such is GREAT ZAZEN even if reclining or seizaing or standing!!

    By the way, Zazen is NOT a matter of feeling "balanced" or "unbalanced" because even "unbalanced Zazen" is good Zazen, and True Zazen is a certain "Big B" Balance that transcends all small human measures of "balanced or unbalanced". But, that being said, one of the ways to feel "balanced" in Zazen is to sit in Zazen free of the need to feel "balanced"!!! Doesn't that sound counter-intuitive? But such "finding" by abandoning all need to "find" is part of the key to this crazy-sane Practice called "Shikantaza". We find "Big B" Balance and balance ... in part by the posture, and in part by sitting beyond all human measures of "balance vs. lack of balance".

    Quote Originally Posted by raindrop View Post
    Hi,

    Taigu's videos on sitting are great:

    TEACHER TALKS, TIPS AND TOPICS > Words by Taigu > Shikantaza > How to Sit
    Yes, right here ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...ntaza-by-Taigu

    More here from Taigu for our Beginners (We are all Beginners) Series ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...-FOR-NEW-FOLKS

    Also, some very basic information on chair sitting (and Zazen sitting in general) in our short introductory booklet ... Guide to Basic Sitting:

    https://sites.google.com/site/jundot...edirects=0&d=1


    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-10-2014 at 01:34 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #12
    Hi Tin Sandwich! My 2 cents: You can try seiza if you have a suitable seat. It doesn't even have to be a seiza bench - I sit seiza on my wife's Minnie Mouse footstool, and I've seen pictures of people sitting seiza on zafus by turning them on their side and then straddling them.

    If you still choose burmese and your knees do not go all the way to the floor, you can try placing a small pillow under each knee to help with stability. It might also help with your leg pain. As for your legs falling asleep, well - I don't know how to answer that except just take your time standing up and shaking your legs. Some kinhin after helps.

    Gassho,
    Raf

  13. #13

  14. #14
    Hi, Tin Sandwich:

    i am 56 years old and a desk bound corporate attorney. Sitting all day is a modern problem. It tightens our backs and hamstrings, and the lack of vigorous movement makes our hips inflexible. The hips, the knees and the abdominal muscles (the core) are all important in good sitting posture. As others have suggested, yoga would be a good way to increase your flexibility and ease your leg pain.

    As luck would have it, I am also an RYT 200, which is the designation for a certified yoga teacher in the States. And, last year, I made a brief yoga video focusing on legs and back, for the sangha to use. The exercises are very basic, nothing complex. The link is below if you are interested.

    Gassho,
    Juki



    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ght=Yoga+video
    "First you have to give up." Tyler Durden

  15. #15
    Yes, that you for that Juki. We will be posting that again for this year's Rohatsu Retreat as well.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    Yes, yes!

    I have been practicing yoga for a couple of years now and I can't talk enough of the wonders it has done for my health and my sitting. I'm still a beginner and pretty ignorant, but so far it has worked.

    A little yoga can give you flexibility and strength for better and longer sitting sessions.

    If you can, go for it. You won't regret it.

    Juki's video is fantastic.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin


    Quote Originally Posted by Juki View Post
    Hi, Tin Sandwich:

    i am 56 years old and a desk bound corporate attorney. Sitting all day is a modern problem. It tightens our backs and hamstrings, and the lack of vigorous movement makes our hips inflexible. The hips, the knees and the abdominal muscles (the core) are all important in good sitting posture. As others have suggested, yoga would be a good way to increase your flexibility and ease your leg pain.

    As luck would have it, I am also an RYT 200, which is the designation for a certified yoga teacher in the States. And, last year, I made a brief yoga video focusing on legs and back, for the sangha to use. The exercises are very basic, nothing complex. The link is below if you are interested.

    Gassho,
    Juki



    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ght=Yoga+video
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

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