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Thread: Zazen and Blood Clots

  1. #1

    Zazen and Blood Clots

    Hello everyone.

    I was wondering if anyone has had a similar situation as me.

    About a week ago my leg started hurting and I thought I bruised a muscle or something at work. The pain began to become quite unbearable over the course of a week to the point I could hardly walk or sit Zazen.

    I went to the doctor where they sent me for an ultrasound where it was discovered I have a blood clot in my leg. They think I developed it because of either family history or because every weekend I am on the road driving sitting in the same position for 7 hours to pick up my son from his mother and to drop him back off.

    I have been put on meds for the blood clot and also pain killers for the pain. I have had blood panels done and they will look at the blood clot again soon to determine if another course of action will be needed such as the hospital. I usually refuse to take pain killers but I have to admit to myself that the pain had become unbearable to the point that I couldn’t eat or sleep. So I started taking them.

    All this has made sitting Zazen very difficult. It has been a very long time since I have gone days without sitting Zazen or even missed one day. But due to the swelling of my leg, the overall pain and the pain killers making me feel dopey I have not been able to sit for several days.

    I was wondering if anyone in our community has had a similar issue like this and any advice they may have. Did the blood clot in your leg affect the way you sat Zazen such as length or position? How long did it affect the length or position? Also any overall info you may have regarding blood clots in the leg and how long it took to recover and what your personal experiences and process to recovery may have been. The doctor has of course told me these things but I like to hear from others living their everyday lives with this.

    I am sorry to run long but I thought I would post this since it is a major life event directly tied into sitting Zazen.

    Thank you everyone!

    Gassho
    Bobby
    SatTodayLAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Bobby; 07-22-2021 at 09:48 PM.
    "When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
    Shunryu Suzuki

  2. #2
    Hi Bobby

    I know that at least one member has had blood clots but cannot remember if they affected their legs.

    My advice would be to not sit if it gives you pain, at least any pain that is above mild discomfort. If pain is too great to practice at all then wait until you are recovered or do what Jundo refers to as 'insta-Zazen' which are really short periods of Zazen throughout the day, in whatever posture, for a minute or so at a time.

    If you can practice seated in a chair or laying down without as much pain, then do that.

    Working with your long-term health is the most important thing here and I wonder if there is some kind of medical professional you can talk to about how to ameliorate the affects of your seven hour drives, whether it be frequent stops to re-establish circulation or compression tights, some kind of special cushion or whatever?

    Apologies for running long. Take it easy. Zazen can wait. Getting your health right is most important.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Hi Bobby

    I know that at least one member has had blood clots but cannot remember if they affected their legs.

    My advice would be to not sit if it gives you pain, at least any pain that is above mild discomfort. If pain is too great to practice at all then wait until you are recovered or do what Jundo refers to as 'insta-Zazen' which are really short periods of Zazen throughout the day, in whatever posture, for a minute or so at a time.

    If you can practice seated in a chair or laying down without as much pain, then do that.

    Working with your long-term health is the most important thing here and I wonder if there is some kind of medical professional you can talk to about how to ameliorate the affects of your seven hour drives, whether it be frequent stops to re-establish circulation or compression tights, some kind of special cushion or whatever?

    Apologies for running long. Take it easy. Zazen can wait. Getting your health right is most important.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    Thank you Kokuu.

    I have never sat Zazen in a chair but I think I will give it a try as insta-Zazen. If I put my leg up or outstretched I think I could make it work.

    Unfortunately if I try laying down I think the pain meds have me feeling too dopey right now and I may fall asleep or zone out until my body hopefully gets used to them.

    I was also wondering about the long drives. I am hoping I don’t have to start doing every other weekends or something since my son and I very much enjoy our weekends together. I will ensure to ask the doctor about this on my next appointment.

    Thank you again for the response. I am going to try the chair insta-Zazen.

    Sorry for running long.

    Ghasso
    Bobby
    SatTodayLAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    "When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
    Shunryu Suzuki

  4. #4
    Hi Bobby,

    Oh my, in this world of excess sitting, whether long distance driving or behind a desk, there is the risk of what is known as "economy-class syndrome:" blood clots from long periods of unbroken sitting. Yes, Zazen is just more sitting, in addition to your "on the road driving sitting in the same position for 7 hours" and other daily sitting. It is rare, in my understanding, but it can happen to some in long sitting. When I fly long flights, I make sure to get up every hour or so and just walk a bit down the aisle, and do some stretches.

    First, follow your doctors advice on this! That comes first. You do what your body medically needs to do according to your doctor. Do what the pain requires you to do, and do not force yourself to sit in an excessively painful or risky way. What you need to do is ALWAYS good Zazen no matter the posture!

    You can sit in another posture, or even undertake more walking Kinhin, or standing Zazen! (Yes, I have seen a few folks just stand Zazen due to a spinal issue, sometimes placing their hands on the back of a chair for support). You can mix it up, a few minutes of each. Since you are sitting at home, nobody would be bothered. Nobody in a "brick and mortar" group sitting should be bothered either if you need to do something like that for medical reasons.

    You know, a monk's life in a monastery is far from sedentary: There is cleaning to do, work in the kitchen, hustling down long halls and many staircases, ceremonies with many movements, bowing and standing at key points of even Zazen time. Your few minutes of Zazen is one small part, but please EVERYONE do make sure that your lives in general are not too sedentary. Move, walk, exercise.

    Master Dogen said, in Fukanzazengi, "Have no designs on becoming a Buddha. How could that be limited to sitting or lying down?" Likewise for any posture. Do not be attached to a certain posture! If one is sitting, standing, walking or hanging upside down ... but is in balance and equanimity about the medical need to do so, it is PERFECT ZAZEN!

    And, yes, Insta-Zazen is recommended for EVERYONE at any time!

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...nners-%2813%29

    Sorry to run long.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-23-2021 at 12:26 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    PS - I also am reminded of this cartoon that was recently posted somewhere ...

    You are a human being, not a machine. It is okay to feel pain AND some mental resistance to pain. In other words, equanimity is not just "accepting pain." True equanimity is ALSO accepting that we are not always accepting, and that we sometimes are a bit miserable because we are human. Feel equanimity, including about not always being so equanimious about times in life that are hard. There is a difference between feeling a bit miserable VS. feeling even more miserable ABOUT feeling a little miserable sometimes.

    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Do not be attached to a certain posture! If one is sitting, standing, walking or hanging upside down ... but is in balance and equanimity about the medical need to do so, it is PERFECT ZAZEN!


    I wonder if another way of fitting in some alternative zazen could be to practice exercises prescribed by the doctors/physio in a way like kinhin or as a samu practice. So long as that doesn't lead to unbearability or doing the exercises non-safely or anything like that.

    Gassho,
    Charity
    sat/lah

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by coriander View Post


    I wonder if another way of fitting in some alternative zazen could be to practice exercises prescribed by the doctors/physio in a way like kinhin or as a samu practice. So long as that doesn't lead to unbearability or doing the exercises non-safely or anything like that.

    Gassho,
    Charity
    sat/lah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    I highly recommend insta-zazen practice. I am not able to sit zazen for now, but I insta-zazen throughout every day. I don't time it -- it's just wherever I happen to be, and no one notices.

    Gassho2, meian st lh

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
    迷安 - Mei An - Wandering At Rest

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby View Post
    Hello everyone.

    I was wondering if anyone has had a similar situation as me.

    About a week ago my leg started hurting and I thought I bruised a muscle or something at work. The pain began to become quite unbearable over the course of a week to the point I could hardly walk or sit Zazen.

    I went to the doctor where they sent me for an ultrasound where it was discovered I have a blood clot in my leg. They think I developed it because of either family history or because every weekend I am on the road driving sitting in the same position for 7 hours to pick up my son from his mother and to drop him back off.

    I have been put on meds for the blood clot and also pain killers for the pain. I have had blood panels done and they will look at the blood clot again soon to determine if another course of action will be needed such as the hospital. I usually refuse to take pain killers but I have to admit to myself that the pain had become unbearable to the point that I couldn’t eat or sleep. So I started taking them.

    All this has made sitting Zazen very difficult. It has been a very long time since I have gone days without sitting Zazen or even missed one day. But due to the swelling of my leg, the overall pain and the pain killers making me feel dopey I have not been able to sit for several days.

    I was wondering if anyone in our community has had a similar issue like this and any advice they may have. Did the blood clot in your leg affect the way you sat Zazen such as length or position? How long did it affect the length or position? Also any overall info you may have regarding blood clots in the leg and how long it took to recover and what your personal experiences and process to recovery may have been. The doctor has of course told me these things but I like to hear from others living their everyday lives with this.

    I am sorry to run long but I thought I would post this since it is a major life event directly tied into sitting Zazen.

    Thank you everyone!

    Gassho
    Bobby
    SatTodayLAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Hey Bobby, so is the issue the posture? Because in that case, it’s quite irrelevant. While posture and location facilitate the sitting itself and the stillness of the mind, ultimately zazen is a thing of the mind.
    The other day, I had to spend the night at some friends’ place and ended up not getting much sleep and waking up very early and tired. I had to choose the best option to sit zazen before starting the day and since I was way too tired and had no zafu nor cushions, I opted to just sit on the side of the bed, feet firmly on the floor. Same zazen as the one I sit in the zendo, with the zafu, bells, altar, candle and incense.
    So, keep that in mind, zazen is not just physical.

    Sorry for the length of this ..

    SatToday
    Bion
    美音

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  10. #10
    Thank you Jundo and everyone. The responses have been great.

    I know different postures can be done based on physical needs. I was was curious if there were others here who have had blood clots in their legs while practicing Zazen and what postures and ways of sitting Zazen seemed to help the best with their pain. With the location of my blood clot the pain can be very intense.

    All the responses and advice has been great so far. I decided to sit insta-zazen in a chair for now and seeing how that goes.

    Thank you again everyone! I really appreciate it.

    Sorry for running long.

    Ghasso
    Bobby
    SatTodayLAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    "When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
    Shunryu Suzuki

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    PS - I also am reminded of this cartoon that was recently posted somewhere ...

    You are a human being, not a machine. It is okay to feel pain AND some mental resistance to pain. In other words, equanimity is not just "accepting pain." True equanimity is ALSO accepting that we are not always accepting, and that we sometimes are a bit miserable because we are human. Feel equanimity, including about not always being so equanimious about times in life that are hard. There is a difference between feeling a bit miserable VS. feeling even more miserable ABOUT feeling a little miserable sometimes.

    Awesome!

    Thank you!



    Ghasso
    Bobby
    SatTodayLAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    "When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
    Shunryu Suzuki

  12. #12
    Hello Bobby,
    I agree with Kokuu, you need to focus on your health.
    My son-in-law developed a blood clot after a long drive and it took a couple of months for things to settle down. He is careful now to take
    breaks when driving distances. He had intense, throbbing pain and was instructed to elevate the leg as much as possible interspersed with a
    little walking. I seem to remember the results of blood test/ultra sound were important in ruling certain things out - everything was Ok and he has not
    had a repeat.

    Gassho

    Jinyo

    sat today

  13. #13
    Member Onka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    rural queensland australia.
    Bobby
    I'm probably the person Kokuu is referring to.
    Last year I developed a large clot in my right leg. Unfortunately before I got it officially diagnosed it broke up and clots went through my heart to both my lungs where a LOT of clots settled. Thankfully only one clot made it to my brain but it was in a 'safe' position.
    Yes the pain is indescribable, way worse than when I broke my back. I spent many months in and out of acute care ambulances and intensive care cardio wards last year where I was asked the 'end of life plan' questions and saw others die. Not fun.
    How are things now?
    I'm on Warfarin for life, I have to wear a compression stocking on my right leg, I can only 'sit' with my legs elevated and straight, my right leg has scarring, as do my lungs from the clots which mean that if I push myself physically my blood pressure drops and I get really lightheaded and can faint if I don't get my legs raised ASAP. My lungs also hurt regularly and laughing leads to inability to breathe easily.
    Life is very very different for me this year and my limirations affect every aspect of my lived experience. In saying this, there are tremendous positives.
    I have been diagnosed as having the blood disorder Factor 5 Leiden, I am now part of the public health system so have regular appointments with lung specialists, a specialist community nurse, a heart surgeon, a urologist and my GP so my health is in great hands.
    Practicewise, 'sitting' at home daily with pain, weird physical sensations in my heart, lungs and leg has been a gift that keeps giving. Shikantaza when fighting for every breath last year opened up Practice insights that have changed my life.
    If asked I would suggest you follow medical advice to the letter. I would also adopt the mantra of 'do what you can, when you can, how you can, and with what you can'.
    I'd also give yourself permission to feel any emotions that arise should your life look different from now on.
    Be kind to yourself Bobby.
    Gassho
    Anna
    ST/LAH
    *apologies for running long

  14. #14
    I had clots form in my carotid artery and shower into my brain a couple years ago. It wasn’t a typical carotid blockage, but a manifestation of a clotting disorder I didn’t know I had. So I am also on warfarin and lucky to be alive! And I am at high risk for all sorts of clots.

    I was very nervous to sit for long periods for the first 6 months or so and did a lot of Kinhin. As time passed, I went back to longer sits but I try not to go past 40 minutes without Kinhin. Before covid I cancelled a planned Sesshin at Zen Mountain Monastery because I was afraid of the risk of such long sitting, but now I think maybe I would go and chair sit some of the time. I sit seiza—even before the stroke, I couldn’t sit cross-legged comfortably.

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    She/her.
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  15. #15
    To all our folks commenting ...
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Onka View Post
    Bobby
    I'm probably the person Kokuu is referring to.
    Last year I developed a large clot in my right leg. Unfortunately before I got it officially diagnosed it broke up and clots went through my heart to both my lungs where a LOT of clots settled. Thankfully only one clot made it to my brain but it was in a 'safe' position.
    Yes the pain is indescribable, way worse than when I broke my back. I spent many months in and out of acute care ambulances and intensive care cardio wards last year where I was asked the 'end of life plan' questions and saw others die. Not fun.
    How are things now?
    I'm on Warfarin for life, I have to wear a compression stocking on my right leg, I can only 'sit' with my legs elevated and straight, my right leg has scarring, as do my lungs from the clots which mean that if I push myself physically my blood pressure drops and I get really lightheaded and can faint if I don't get my legs raised ASAP. My lungs also hurt regularly and laughing leads to inability to breathe easily.
    Life is very very different for me this year and my limirations affect every aspect of my lived experience. In saying this, there are tremendous positives.
    I have been diagnosed as having the blood disorder Factor 5 Leiden, I am now part of the public health system so have regular appointments with lung specialists, a specialist community nurse, a heart surgeon, a urologist and my GP so my health is in great hands.
    Practicewise, 'sitting' at home daily with pain, weird physical sensations in my heart, lungs and leg has been a gift that keeps giving. Shikantaza when fighting for every breath last year opened up Practice insights that have changed my life.
    If asked I would suggest you follow medical advice to the letter. I would also adopt the mantra of 'do what you can, when you can, how you can, and with what you can'.
    I'd also give yourself permission to feel any emotions that arise should your life look different from now on.
    Be kind to yourself Bobby.
    Gassho
    Anna
    ST/LAH
    *apologies for running long
    Thank you Onka.

    I am able to do the insta-zazen right now. And waiting for the next doctors appointment. The pain is still quite intense but I’m getting through. Right now waiting on more lab tests.

    Thank you again for sharing your experiences.

    Deep bows

    Ghasso
    Bobby
    SatTodayLAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    "When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
    Shunryu Suzuki

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    I had clots form in my carotid artery and shower into my brain a couple years ago. It wasn’t a typical carotid blockage, but a manifestation of a clotting disorder I didn’t know I had. So I am also on warfarin and lucky to be alive! And I am at high risk for all sorts of clots.

    I was very nervous to sit for long periods for the first 6 months or so and did a lot of Kinhin. As time passed, I went back to longer sits but I try not to go past 40 minutes without Kinhin. Before covid I cancelled a planned Sesshin at Zen Mountain Monastery because I was afraid of the risk of such long sitting, but now I think maybe I would go and chair sit some of the time. I sit seiza—even before the stroke, I couldn’t sit cross-legged comfortably.

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Thank you Jakuden.

    Ghasso
    Bobby
    SatTodayLAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    "When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
    Shunryu Suzuki

  18. #18
    Thank you everyone for you thoughts and experiences!



    Ghasso
    Bobby
    SatTodayLAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    "When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
    Shunryu Suzuki

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Bion View Post
    Same zazen as the one I sit in the zendo, with the zafu, bells, altar, candle and incense.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  20. #20


    Doshin
    St

  21. #21
    I googled blood clots and meditation, and found that it's not that uncommon. I was also shown a link to a YouTube video - to which I won't link here - entitled Dissolve Blood Clots Naturally by Cosmic Codes. :-)

    Gassho,

    Ryūmon

    sat
    -----

    流文

    I know nothing.

  22. #22
    Probably a good idea for most older folks to take a baby aspirin every day and full one
    on long drives of flights. Follow your doctors orders.

  23. #23
    Hi Bobby,

    I have never had blood clots, but I have an injured knee, that makes sitting Zazen hard after 20 mins, sometimes I simply just have to move or practice in a different form.

    I also sometimes sit for 3 mintues "mini" Zazen sits.

    Not sure if any of this helps you, but much metta to you I hope for your health.

    Gassho

    Tony,
    The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now. - Thích Nhất Hạnh

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