Results 1 to 21 of 21

Thread: Zazen: Half-lotus and ankles

  1. #1

    Zazen: Half-lotus and ankles

    I've been trying various postures for zazen to try to find something stable. I've sat seiza the most in the past, which tends to be hard on my knees. I'm currently experimenting with half lotus. The issue I'm running into is that whichever foot is resting on top tends to have pressure on the ankle. This winds up leading to pain in the ankle by the end of the sitting, as well as numbness and tingling in the foot. Is this indicative of a problem withe my posture? Is there some position where the foot can rest without torquing the ankle?

    -Dan

  2. #2
    Hello Dan,

    it might make sense to talk to a good Yoga instructor close to where you live, since it is very hard (no to say dangerous) to "diagnose" other peoples' posture issues via the internet.

    My personal advice would be to keep trying slightly different setups, even different cushions, blankets etc. It's truly a voyage of discovery. I used to have major issues with one of my feet falling asleep, but after a few years I somehow learned to adjust my ankles ever so slightly, so that it is much less of a problem now.

    Be gentle and be patient. You don't have anything to prove to anyone, it's all part of the ever arriving journey.


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Last edited by Hans; 10-14-2014 at 03:43 PM.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    Hello Dan,

    it might make sense to talk to a good Yoga instructor close to where you live,
    I agree with what Hans has said, and also say to give the Burmese a go. Fat thighed and not very flexible Westerners (and many young Japanese too) can have trouble with the Lotus.

    Instructions for the Burmese are in the Guide to Basic Sitting I provided you.

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

    If you will speak to a Yoga instructor, bring your Zafu or tell them that you wish to sit high. Many Yoga folks sit low to the ground, which is rather different.

    Let us know how it goes.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Mp
    Guest
    Hello Dan,

    Hans speaks my words in regards to finding a good yoga teacher to help with this. Also, please be gentle and listen to your body and don't push it. =) I have one trick that helped me move into half lotus and that was resting the folded leg onto of the other. Eg: if you were bring your left foot up onto the right thigh, instead on bringing it all the way up, try resting it on top of your right calf. Does that makes sense? This way I found I was not putting too much strain on my left knee or ankle ... allowing my body to tell me if it like this or not.

    Hope this helped. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

  5. #5
    Nothing wrong with a seiza stool or bench is there? There is no need to hurt yourself forcing your body into a position you just cant do just to stick to an idea or concept involving a zafu. A litle tug of war training of the mind is fine but longtime nerve damage cant be the point of our practice.

    Gassho

    Myoho
    Mu

  6. #6
    Thank you all for the suggestions. There actually is a yoga center very close to my office and I know the teachers there; not sure why I never thought to ask them about zazen posture before, but it makes sense that they would be able to help diagnose postural issues. They're great about correction, too: reach, pull, ahh! Speaking of which, I should really start doing yoga again to get some flexibility back. I've let a lot of good habits lapse over the last few years. Well, one moment at a time. Or was that time at one moment. Anyway.

    I'll experiment and see how things go. I think I will try a bench, as well; I always sat seiza with the zafu when I was younger because I was too embarrassed to get a bench from the back of the zendo. Now I'm too lazy to be embarrassed, so I might as well broaden my experiments. I suspect the bench will relieve the knee issues I was having, as I suspect previously I was torquing the knee joints in that way they're not supposed to be turned.

  7. #7
    Hi Dan!

    I agree with the guys. If you haven't developed the flexibility for lotus, go for Burmese. It's really comfortable and it will help you build resistance in your knees and ankles.

    I practice yoga and I can tell you that it will work marvels for your zazen and flexibility. After many many years of trying, I am finally able to sit half lotus. Full lotus will come in a few more years

    Take it slow, enjoy and just sit.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  8. #8
    Hello Dan,

    All of these answers are excellent - particularly the recommendation of Burmese posture (which is matter-of-factly practiced by almost everyone in my Zendo here in Grenoble, and enthusiastically endorsed as the official westerner's posture by my teacher back home in Canada). Chairs have robbed us of the naturally stretchy properties we were born with. Make sure you are alternating the leg that is closest to your body, as this can cause some imbalances and discomfort. You may already know this from lotus, but better safe than sore!

    To that end, Hans has a very good idea about seeing a Yoga Teacher. I would add that a physiotherapist might be better suited to "diagnosing" any muscular imbalances or joint laxity that might be giving you trouble, and can prescribe easy exercises to do at home to correct it. If you live in a country that does not charge through the nose for such things, I would highly encourage it. Yoga teachers are not diagnosticians, and Yoga is not always a one size fits all cure for aches.

    I'd also like to congratulate you on overcoming your embarrassment. I'm glad you're taking good care of your body.

    Bows and bows,

    Yahantei
    Last edited by Yahantei; 10-14-2014 at 10:38 PM.

  9. #9
    Shinyo
    Guest
    Dan,
    Have you tried putting your zafu on its side for seiza? I first learned zazen in seiza as a kid in martial arts. As I've gotten older, this doesn't feel so good. Even though it is the way I learned. I've never tried the stools, as already mentioned, but may give it a try.

    Gassho

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Yahantei View Post
    Hello Dan,

    All of these answers are excellent - particularly the recommendation of Burmese posture (which is matter-of-factly practiced by almost everyone in my Zendo here in Grenoble, and enthusiastically endorsed as the official westerner's posture by my teacher back home in Canada).
    😄

  11. #11
    I acquired a nice seiza bench and now my body is more comfortable with the sitting. I'm still hopelessly scatterbrained, but that's okay.

    Shinyo, I did sit seiza for about a year with the zafu on its side. It worked okay, but I ran into problems with my knees after a while. I'm finding the bench helps a lot as it allows more of my weight to be directed through my sitting bones, taking almost all of the weight off of my knees and ankles. It's the first time that I've ever felt like I had a truly stable posture in zazen, with my weight pushing downward into the floor rather than getting bound up in my back muscles or routed through my joints. It feels right (at least when I'm not tilting absent-mindedly), as there really shouldn't need to be any struggle in my body against my posture. I push on the earth, the earth pushes back and there is a fine balance.

    -Dan

  12. #12

    Zazen: Half-lotus and ankles

    Hey Dan,

    When I think I have it, I don't. One day I sit Burmese and I say to myself, I got it. I aim my head towards the sky and sit like a mountain. A day or two later my back hurts. The next day I sit on the Seiza bench and I say to myself, now I have it. No back pain. A day or two later I am off balance and I am falling asleep. A day or two later I.

    I am learning to accept that no two days of sitting are alike and that's okay. 😄

    Gassho, Jishin
    Last edited by Jishin; 10-26-2014 at 01:08 AM.

  13. #13
    Shinyo
    Guest
    Dan,
    I'd like to hear how the bench works out for you after some time. I've debated getting one for quite some time. Does anyone know an inexpensive place to order from?
    Gassho

  14. #14
    Please also review the wonderful series of talks by Taigu during our "Always Beginners" Series ...

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

    ... as well as this wonderful book, on finding the constantly changing posture for us ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-OF-MEDITATION

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Jishin,

    I just sat now because I neglected to this morning. As if to spite my new appreciation for the bench, my back found a way to tighten and there was no settling. Thanks for the reminder.

    -Dan

  16. #16
    I just started doing half-lotus myself. The first time I did it too long and was limping around my room trying to get my leg to wake back up. XD

    - June

  17. #17
    Dan,
    I'd like to hear how the bench works out for you after some time. I've debated getting one for quite some time. Does anyone know an inexpensive place to order from?
    I do my zazen now for five years on the bench. Both knees are pretty demaged. It works wounderful and I stretch my knees like I would sit full lotus. So, I have also the triangle and it is very stabile. I bought one in amazon and a second I did myself. If you want the size etc. I can send you, how my bench is made. It is important, that your feet do not hurt because the bench, if it is to low.

    Gassho
    Ernst

  18. #18
    Shinyo
    Guest
    Thanks Ernst. I might try to make one.

    Gassho,
    Shinyo

  19. #19
    This is the original:







    If you cannot see it on the photo, here is the link:
    http://www.amazon.de/s/ref=sr_pg_4?r...qid=1414516809
    So I can put my feet beside and not between the bench foot. The wood is 4cm thick.
    Size: 18cm in the back and 14cm front is the foot
    13cm x 32cm is the plate, where you sit. That is all.

    I am not shure if you want it right now. So, just in case I post it. Maybe there is some use.

    Gassho

  20. #20
    I sit with a seiza bench. It's wonderful but you need to get the correct size for your body type. Opt for taller rather than shorter or you will kill your knees and ankles. They are really easy to make if you have access to some simple power tools. Most lumber stores will even cut your boards for you.

    Here's a plan:
    http://www.michiganbuddhist.com/seiza/

    If you buy one I would recommend the ones from Zen Mountain Monastery. They are hand made by the monks.

    http://monasterystore.org/seiza-bench/

    Gassho,
    Jeffrey
    "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
    Henry David Thoreau, Walden

  21. #21
    Shinyo
    Guest
    Thanks for the links Jeffrey!

    Gassho,
    Shinyo

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •