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Thread: Some Half-Lotus Advice Needed

  1. #1

    Some Half-Lotus Advice Needed

    Hello all! I sat zazen this morning in the half lotus position for 17 minutes, a milestone for me, and afterwards for the rest of the day till now my ankle and outer shin have been sore, and occasionally a spike of pain will come from my ankle. I sat with my foot and ankle resting on my thigh instead of my ankle and leg, which I'm told was a mistake. I also broke said ankle about 3 years ago with no PT provided and twisted it twice at the end of last summer, so it's already a little messed up. Is this pain normal tho for the first little while of half lotus sitting or did i possibly do some damage? Also can anyone recommend some stretches to do before sitting half lotus?

    Sorry for going over the 3 for this.

    Gassho, John
    ST/LAH
    Last edited by GrasshopperMan17; 07-01-2021 at 12:02 AM.

  2. #2
    Member Hōkan's Avatar
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    I've got nothing specific for you, but this thread may provide some balm (and stretches):

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...l=1#post286078


    Sat today in the Free Sitting Room.
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    Hōkan = 法閑 = Dharma Serenity
    To be entirely clear, I am not a hōkan = 幇間 = taikomochi = geisha, but I do wonder if my preceptor was having a bit of fun with me...

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by GrasshopperMan17 View Post
    Hello all! I sat zazen this morning in the half lotus position for 17 minutes, a milestone for me, and afterwards for the rest of the day till now my ankle and outer shin have been sore, and occasionally a spike of pain will come from my ankle. I sat with my foot and ankle resting on my thigh instead of my ankle and leg, which I'm told was a mistake. I also broke said ankle about 3 years ago with no PT provided and twisted it twice at the end of last summer, so it's already a little messed up. Is this pain normal tho for the first little while of half lotus sitting or did i possibly do some damage? Also can anyone recommend some stretches to do before sitting half lotus?

    Sorry for going over the 3 for this.

    Gassho, John
    ST/LAH
    I am guessing you are a big guy. Most "yogis" in Asia (like Nishijima Roshi) are wiry little guys with legs like rubber bands.

    Why not sit Burmese, with no pressure on the ankles at all?

    There is also a "quarter lotus" ... In quarter-lotus one foot is placed on the opposite leg's calf, while in half-lotus, the foot is placed on the opposite leg's thigh.



    No need to reinjure yourself!

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I am guessing you are a big guy. Most "yogis" in Asia (like Nishijima Roshi) are wiry little guys with legs like rubber bands.
    Im kind of big, and i do definitely have big thighs.

    Why not sit Burmese, with no pressure on the ankles at all?
    i dont know, i just wanted to try out half lotus and see if i could do it now. i am doing burmese pretty well now, but i wanted to kind of give it the old college try with the half lotus. ive been stretching in Pigeon Pose to open up my hips for lotus pose, but i didnt know it would hurt so much after sitting for so long.

    No need to reinjure yourself!
    i agree!

    Gassho, John
    ST/LAH

  5. #5
    Old Joke ... Buddha goes to a doctor and says, "Doctor, it hurts when I do this."

    Doctor says, "Well, don't do that."

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by GrasshopperMan17 View Post
    Hello all! I sat zazen this morning in the half lotus position for 17 minutes, a milestone for me, and afterwards for the rest of the day till now my ankle and outer shin have been sore, and occasionally a spike of pain will come from my ankle. I sat with my foot and ankle resting on my thigh instead of my ankle and leg, which I'm told was a mistake. I also broke said ankle about 3 years ago with no PT provided and twisted it twice at the end of last summer, so it's already a little messed up. Is this pain normal tho for the first little while of half lotus sitting or did i possibly do some damage? Also can anyone recommend some stretches to do before sitting half lotus?

    Sorry for going over the 3 for this.

    Gassho, John
    ST/LAH
    Hi John.
    I usually sit in half Lotus and I find that correct placement on the zafu is what makes for a pleasant or painful sitting. Angle your hips and legs in such a way that both your knees comfortably touch the floor. Try to get the foot as high up on the thigh as possible. Make sure your bottom is comfortably sat on a decent chunk of the zafu and not just on a small part. Your back should naturally assume the upright position and it should be relaxed. Watch for tenseness in the back/legs. Tension is good, but tenseness is different. If you’re squeezing any part, clenching your buttocks or any other type of “stress”, check your posture.
    Some numbness and sometimes very faint paint is common, especially during longer sits. You can always sway gently in a circular motion before you start sitting, allowing the body to find its balance on the cushion and if during sitting you get too numb, do the same movement: from the hips, rotate your trunk in wide circular motions, allowing the legs to stretch nicely.
    But, be sure of this: IT IS NEVER 100% PAINLESS

    SatToday Sorry for the very long reply there!
    Bion
    美音

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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by GrasshopperMan17 View Post
    Also can anyone recommend some stretches to do before sitting half lotus?

    Gassho, John
    ST/LAH
    Instead of Pigeon, try Agnistambhasana (Double Pigeon). It really targets hip rotation flexibility.

    I think it's good to explore different sitting postures, but don't hurt yourself. Every body is different. I've been practicing yoga for about 14 months now, but even half-lotus is just a no go for me anymore at my age with old injuries (ankle, knee), impediments (neuropathy from multiple lower ab surgeries), and a lifetime of sedentary jobs.

    The best thing I ever did was to get a seiza bench. I didn't know zazen could be as pain-less as it is for me in that posture.

    One other tip and something that isn't mentioned as much: props. Discussion of different postures is pretty common now, but I don't see much discussion of using blankets, pillows, or even yoga blocks to bolster different areas, which is a shame as these can really help.

    For instance, putting a folded blanket under my hands has significantly reduced pain in my shoulder blade area during sitting--just that couple of inches of extra height make all the difference.

    Similarly you might try a blanket or small pillow under your knee(s) to reduce pressure. Or a yoga belt around the shin and thigh to take pressure off the raised ankle.

    Happy (and safe!) experimenting!

    -satToday

  8. #8
    thank you all! after doing some of the stretches mentioned here and elsewhere, i sat today with my leg and not my ankle propped up against my thigh and there was no pain afterwards in my ankle (a little stretch related pain in my calf and shin for a bit, but it wasnt too concerning). i switched to burmese halfway through the sit as well. you all are awesome!

    Gassho, John
    ST/LAH

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by GrasshopperMan17 View Post
    thank you all! after doing some of the stretches mentioned here and elsewhere, i sat today with my leg and not my ankle propped up against my thigh and there was no pain afterwards in my ankle (a little stretch related pain in my calf and shin for a bit, but it wasnt too concerning). i switched to burmese halfway through the sit as well. you all are awesome!

    Gassho, John
    ST/LAH
    That sounds fantastic! Happy for ya, friend!

    SatToday
    Bion
    美音

    -------------------------
    Join me on Insight Timer
    Help me feed those in need by joining my Share The Meal team HERE

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by GrasshopperMan17 View Post
    thank you all! after doing some of the stretches mentioned here and elsewhere, i sat today with my leg and not my ankle propped up against my thigh and there was no pain afterwards in my ankle (a little stretch related pain in my calf and shin for a bit, but it wasnt too concerning). i switched to burmese halfway through the sit as well. you all are awesome!

    Gassho, John
    ST/LAH
    That's great! I too had problems at first with the half lotus, but i kept stretching and now I can sit my whole 20 minutes in the half lotus position without pain, only slight discomfort towards the end of my sitting.

    Gassho, Fred

    SatToday

  11. #11
    Hi.

    Im a fairly big guy, (6ft 1 and almost 15 stone) and i sit half lotus. I concur with Bion with regard to the positioning of the zafu. for me, if i get that wrong i get a "dead foot". If i get it right and i maintain my posture i can sit 2o minutes, or more pretty comfortably. Good luck.

    Karl, just about to sit.

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