A rolled-up towel under the tailbone helps

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manas
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A rolled-up towel under the tailbone helps

Postby manas » Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:58 am

Hello all,

many years ago, a monk once suggested this, and I have used it ever since. I don't have a webcam, else I would demonstrate how I do this, but a verbal description might be enough. I take a towel, and lay it out flat on the floor. Then, I get something like a newspaper (that's worked fine for me), and roll a bit of it into a slim, firm kind of rod, as firmly as I can. I make a rod of about 1cm diameter. Then, holding it firmly with both hands so it does not unravel, I carefully roll it into the towel, so that pretty soon it is encased in towelling, and can no longer slip or unravel. I try to roll up the towel quite firmly too, so that I end up with this sort of rod made of towel, with a core of paper. This rod I sort of shove just under my tailbone, when I'm sitting on my meditation cushion. (Actually I just sit down in such a manner that it ends up there, but I want to explain the exact placement.) If I am facing North, the rod will be just behind me, going from East to West, if that makes sense. The idea is not to actually sit on top of it, but rather, for it to just push against your tailbone, which then creates more ease for the lower back. It really helps me to sit up in a straight and relaxed way, for longer. It seems to prevent lower back pain, for me.

I hope this explanation is clear. I'm not sure if this would work on a soft or mushy meditation cushion as well as a more firm one, which is what I use. But it has really saved my lower back a lot of trouble over the years.

I hope this information ends up helping another meditator.

metta,
manas.
:anjali:

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Sati1
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Re: A rolled-up towel under the tailbone helps

Postby Sati1 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:07 am

Thank you, manas. I might try this out, since I have experienced back pain while meditating.

:anjali:
Sati1
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"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)

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Re: A rolled-up towel under the tailbone helps

Postby Viscid » Wed Jan 08, 2014 7:51 pm

I've been looking for ways to avoid the pain of the last 15 minutes of an hour sit. Will give this a try.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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Re: A rolled-up towel under the tailbone helps

Postby Viscid » Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:59 pm

Update: Does indeed help a bit. Puts some of your weight on the tailbone and takes a bit of weight off the pubic bone-- so less ass pain. No magic bullet, though.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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manas
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Re: A rolled-up towel under the tailbone helps

Postby manas » Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:04 pm

Viscid wrote:Update: Does indeed help a bit. Puts some of your weight on the tailbone and takes a bit of weight off the pubic bone-- so less ass pain. No magic bullet, though.


Hi Viscid,

what it does for me, is take some of the pressure of maintaining an erect yet relaxed spine, off the lower back. By pushing against the tailbone / against the backside, it seems to gently encourage better posture. Anyway I'm glad it helps in some way, even if not perfectly.

I recommend experimenting with it. Try: positioning the rod more forward (towards the center of) the cushion, or further back. Or placing more of (the edge of) your backside in it, or less. Or, making the rod thicker, or thinner. Find what works.

manas :anjali:
Last edited by manas on Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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manas
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Re: A rolled-up towel under the tailbone helps

Postby manas » Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:15 pm

Satti1 wrote:Thank you, manas. I might try this out, since I have experienced back pain while meditating.

:anjali:


You're welcome, satti. I think back pain is something a lot of meditators (of any tradition) have to tackle. We have to experiment, imho, until we find a way to do it that doesn't cause too much pain or stiffness upon arising, because we need our backs for our entire life, so they need to be taken good care of.

kind regards,
manas.
:anjali:

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Re: A rolled-up towel under the tailbone helps

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat Jan 11, 2014 1:57 am

What kinds of cushions do you guys use? The reason i ask is that since switching to a buckwheat cushion i seem to have less back pain. Its harder and lets the pelvis tilt forward a bit and still maintains a firm seat.
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
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Re: A rolled-up towel under the tailbone helps

Postby daverupa » Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:15 am

m0rl0ck wrote:What kinds of cushions do you guys use?


Image

Image

I have never been able to use cushions comfortably; it's almost excessive asceticism to sit on one for more than about twenty minutes. A recumbent chair or meditation bench solves the problems I've otherwise experienced, including lower back pain.

My current bench has folding legs and will fit in a backpack. It's something of a magic bullet in my case as the bottoms of the legs are rounded, which allows for a precise posture. (There is a cushion which attaches with velcro straps, for what it's worth.)
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: A rolled-up towel under the tailbone helps

Postby Viscid » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:38 pm

manas wrote:
Viscid wrote:Update: Does indeed help a bit. Puts some of your weight on the tailbone and takes a bit of weight off the pubic bone-- so less ass pain. No magic bullet, though.


Hi Viscid,

what it does for me, is take some of the pressure of maintaining an erect yet relaxed spine, off the lower back. By pushing against the tailbone / against the backside, it seems to gently encourage better posture. Anyway I'm glad it helps in some way, even if not perfectly.


Yeah, I noticed, after removing it, how much more difficult getting the hip rotation is without it. I sit flat, directly on the floor, so maintaining that forward hip rotation is especially difficult. The towel definitely helps.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James


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