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Yogas, zazen, and full lotus

Discussion in 'Zen DIR' started by wmjbyatt, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. wmjbyatt

    wmjbyatt Lunatic from birth

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    I have trouble sitting full lotus for any extended period. I can take the position, but it puts serious stress on my ankles, so I usually sit zazen in half lotus.

    I recently decided that I'm young enough that I might as well get myself able to sit full lotus properly, so I looked into some stretches for it. I thought the problem was in my ankles.

    Turns out it wasn't. I was skeptical when I saw people swearing up and down that all the primary stretch is in the hips (because my full lotus doesn't hurt my hips, y'know?), but I did some of the basic hip-stretching yoga poses that were recommended on various forums and, would-ya-look-at-that, after just two days my full lotus is getting easier.

    So I've been doing some really basic stretches, sitting a short period in full lotus, and sitting a longer period (until standing seems right) in half lotus, and my entire practice has improved.

    Just thought I'd mention. Normally I ignore the neo-hippie new age-y *********, so I ignored yoga entirely (despite the fact that I'm aware of the empirically measurable health benefits), but just a little routine seems to be helping.
     
  2. DreadFish

    DreadFish Cosmic Vagabond

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    Sounds good. I need to work on my knees right now, they are a bit sensitive from too much sitting and not enough strengthening (gotta both stretch and strengthen, otherwise you just tear down the tissue, I sure learned that first-hand once :eek:). So, I got a bit of work to do before I can transition from half to full-lotus.

    Yeah, I am also averted to new age stuff. I just take yoga in it's old religious form. Both Buddhism and Yoga are from India, so it works out for me :D (And there are Buddhist Yogis who do Hatha Yoga) It helps to see what kind of yogis started Hatha Yoga (the Nath Yogis). It makes yoga seem very different to imagine that it was started by heavily ascetic yogis in the cold Himalayas, not a little yoga instructor with a fitness routine at the local YMCA :D
     
  3. SageTree

    SageTree Spiritual Friend
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    I hurt my ankle many years ago and no doubt one is more sensitive than the other, but hey man.... what ARE those asanas to get the hips loose?
     
  4. apophenia

    apophenia Well-Known Member

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    Try sitting with just one foot resting on the upper thigh (heel in groin, sole of foot facing up), with the other leg straight out in front of you, for a minute or two, then swap sides. Do this regularly. Unless you get knee pain - if you do, stop doing it unless you get instruction from a yoga teacher.

    Also sitting with soles of feet together, baddha konasana - Google Search, is a good exercise to prepare for padmasana (lotus).You may need some support under your knees until they can drop naturally to the floor.Exert some force to push your knees toward the floor, but not to the point of severe discomfort. You can also put some weight on your thighs to help bring knees to the floor.

    Also, sit with some height under your buttocks, as much as you need to feel pain free and maintain a straight neutral spine.

    And do these exercises daily. It will take time to become fully comfortable.

    Yoga classes really are advisable though. If your lumbar spine is convex (i.e. you can see (feel) spinus processes protruding in the lower spine), you will be doing your spine no good at all.

    Remember to keep your thoracic spine moving forward slightly and drop your shoulders, and allow your head to move slightly backwards with chin slightly tucked toward sternum, and sense crown of head floating up.

    Actually, go to a yoga beginners course at least and ask for some pointers. It makes a big difference.
     
    #4 apophenia, Feb 10, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012
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  5. apophenia

    apophenia Well-Known Member

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    1.Dangerous pose (sankatasana). Ask a yoga practioner for instruction.

    2.Salamba Kapotasana Pigeon pose yoga tutorial

    That's just two. A yoga teacher could show you heaps more. I'm 56 and didn't really practice earnestly until about 4 years ago, by which time I was in major discomfort all the time because of bulging discs I didn't know about. I couldn't walk or sit properly without pain. I feel pretty damn good now, but wow, if only I had begun yoga years ago.. (when I thought I was immortal and had it all worked out, LOL ).

    Apropos to that - Mr Iyengar (the man who rehabilitated and developed yoga in the 20th century) is about 95 now, and can still do backbends with his head between his ankles.

    It is probably good to be able to die in lotus posture, sure beats the usual routine ...
     
  6. SageTree

    SageTree Spiritual Friend
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    Thanks Brother, I actually have a semi-regular asanas time in my practice and just wondered which ones you were talking about as I can get into lotus for about 10 mins, but then my ankles begin to ache a bit, from injury or unconditioned state.


    Thanks for the thorough advice and kind words.

    :namaste
    SageTree
     
    #6 SageTree, Feb 10, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012
  7. no-body

    no-body Well-Known Member

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    The rule of thumb is if it hurts, quit doing it. Forcing yourself to meditate in a certain manner seems like you are missing the point of meditation anyway.
     
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  8. DreadFish

    DreadFish Cosmic Vagabond

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    You have no body, so it's probably much easier for you to sit in the lotus posture :D
     
  9. SageTree

    SageTree Spiritual Friend
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    I agree man, but here is the thing... when I'm in Lotus I find it a lot less painful to sit up right and concentrate, until my ankle hurts.

    But if I just sit half my back hurts after a while...
    And if I sit in kneeling posture it's harder to get up after.

    So which is the pain I ought not deal with?
    Not meditate at all? ;)

    Just joking... just saying why I care to investigate. :D
     
  10. wmjbyatt

    wmjbyatt Lunatic from birth

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    Well, the no-**** answer is to meditate while walking, while eating, while peeling potatoes, while chopping wood and carrying water. But maybe that's later.
     
  11. SageTree

    SageTree Spiritual Friend
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    Honestly, this is the way I meditate much of the time, cultivating constant awareness.
    Thanks for the kind words :D
     
  12. apophenia

    apophenia Well-Known Member

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    Far better to give up meditation, which is a kind of mental fabrication.

    But that's now, and if you experience distraction from now, meditation is still recommended.

    :rainbow1:

    Once you have renounced meditation... ( LOL) ...

    I suggest to sagetree that if sitting in an asana causes pain, talk to a yoga teacher. If it hurts your ankle, that would most likely be because your ankle is stressed by the posture, and that stress would be the result of insufficient rotation of the hip.

    If your kitchen tap is leaking, and you are not sure how to fix it, call a plumber.

    The patriarchs didn't discuss kitchen sinks in detail. ( Although Vairochana did mention sitting posture, and Mr B.K.S. Iyengar has sussed it out nicely since circa 1930, and teaches it quite well now).

    B.K.S. Iyengar 1938 newsreel Part 1 (SILENT) - YouTube
    Iyengar Yoga 1938 Film SILENT - YouTube



    :rolleyes:
     
  13. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    Actually a bit of pain and discomfort is beneficial, to do so otherwise is just cheating yourself out some important aspects that require addressing. At least that's the case with Zazen.

    Of course, it dosen't mean you push yourself to the point of causing undue harm to yourself. ;)
     
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