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Thread: on numbness and numblessness

  1. #1

    on numbness and numblessness


    Hope this isn't daft question but is there any sercret to sitting for longer periods without your feet legs going numb? Does the position make a difference? I find it hard to imagine that full lotus is any better but then again may be that's just becasue I can't manage it!

    I usually sit using a seiza bench I made, which is slightly taller than the commercial ones as I'm quite long/stout legged. I don't mind my feet/legs going numb at home but on one occasion at our group when it comes to kinhin I find it hard to be up on my wobbly feet in time and on one occassion I actually stumbled into someone ops:

    Just sat-along with Jundo to end with very numb feet.

  2. #2
    Hi Longdog
    I have raynaud's (whacked circulation) so most positions make my outer extremities numb(heck if i fall asleep with my hands resting on my stomach i wake with numb hands).
    I still sit Full lotus most times and it makes my feet and legs go completely numb. For me half lotus seems to be the best for long periods of time. For the zazenkai i sat for the better half of it full and remainder half. But no matter i just sit with the numbness and I am very slow to rise for kinhin and before i do i massage my feet a bit to get the blood moving. I guess since i have been sitting full lotus, my flexability has gotten a bit better and thus eases the pull placed on my ankles/feet so the blood can more readily flow. Then again I'm not a Doctor (and i don't even play one on TV) so i could be full of "it" and its all in my head


  3. #3
    My leg used to get numb. They don't usually anymore.

    Gassho Will

  4. #4
    I find that sitting right on the edge of the cushion (almost slipping off of it) helps avoid numb legs/feet.


  5. #5
    I had the same problem if not a bit worse while sitting Seiza on a pillow/ no bench. My feet would go to sleep to the extent that I couldn't stand for several seconds and couldn't walk for a couple of minutes. No feet there. I had broached the same question in an earlier post somewhere back there and had received assurances that the effect was temporary. None the less I asked my doctor and her take on it was don't stop "sitting" (good doctor) and if it goes away there it is no problem. Also, over the years it will get better.

    With Jundos encouragement I have been working towards Full Lotus". By having alternatives it puts different stresses on your legs so you can spread it around.

    Here is a good site on position...

  6. #6
    Thanks Drut, got that site and this one which is good
    and I do hope to get there one day but at the moment with my health when I try these things I go backwards not forwards.

    Unfortunately I've not noticed my legs/feet get used to it in the last 18months but I'll keep on anyway.


  7. #7
    Hi Longdog,

    Yes! I experience total numbness in my lower left leg and foot after sitting. It's like my leg isn't even there. I need to get up very slowly after sitting. In the retreat video, you probably could see me vigorously rubbing my foot and lower leg before kinhin. If I didn't do that, I'd take a serious spill (which I did a few times when I first started). After the retreat, my foot was still so numb that it was like I was stepping on a pillow for two days after that.

    I've been advised to try different positions on the zafu, but so far nothing works. I just may have to live with it, which is exactly what I've been doing.


  8. #8
    Yeh keep on going on Keith

    It just can be a bit embarassing, which I guess is a bigger problem for me than the numbness :lol:

    gassho, Kev

  9. #9
    I forgot to add another thing that is helpful for me. I try to get up as quickly as is safe to do so and instead of waiting for the pain I shift my weight from side to side almost stomping. It's the last thing one wants to do at that moment but it clears my legs more rapidly.

    I understand about the embarassment factor. I wouldn't go to the local Zendo for a long time lest I fall over.

  10. #10
    Ah ... underwear. No tight jockey shorts or speedos. Loose trousers too, that do not pinch anywhere.

    And I do find that a soft Zabuton can pinch the legs, so I agree with the idea of sitting with the legs toward the front edge. In Japan, where they sit directly with the Zafu on the hard tatami, it does not seem to be so much of a problem.

    I also find that, if my legs are very asleep, leaning slightly to the left or right restores the circulation in one or both legs. One should not have to be the Leaning Tower of Piza-Zazen, but a slight taking of the weight off one of the legs lets the blood flow.

    An aspirin may help too, before a long retreat day.

    Gassho, J

  11. #11

    Re: on numbness and numblessness

    After fighting much too long and being in too much pain as a result, I've broken down and gotten one of these:

    I emailed the guy and he said that they were selling them for $90, shipping included, so I decided to give it a try. I've been turning my cushion sideways the last few days due to terribly sore knees, and I'm glad that I have.

  12. #12

    Re: on numbness and numblessness


    Um, sitting on a stool will definitely take care of it. It can be a very solid position (a nice tripod of foot, foot, butt).....really.......


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