Meditation Poses

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Meditation Poses

Postby FaceaceRAWR » Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:19 am

I'm really having an issue here and it bothers my meditation endlessly! :juggling: I'm trying to find a good meditation pose and half-lotus seems to be my favorite, but it hurts [as well as the lotus] around the knees and I've tried whatever I've read. I'm aware I need to use my hips, but I can't seem to do it. Even in half-lotus. I know I probably shouldn't START with this and I'm not. I just want to make sure I'm doing it correctly before I regularly practice it, y'know? After reading about how it can cause permanent injury to my knees I'm really worried and It's hard to concentrate when I feel like I'm destroying my knees.

So, long story short: What is the proper way to do lotus/half-lotus without my knees hurting? Do I just have week knees? Any other recommended poses to help with my flexibility if that is the issue? Any tips or comments would be appreciated. I've been using the Lion pose in Yoga [without the growling] or the Hero pose lately and they aren't my cup of tea. I like green tea. :coffee:

Thanks in advance for any advice you could muster for a newbie.

Sincerely,
Ace :strawman:
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Re: Meditation Poses

Postby chownah » Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:19 am

I can't sit in half lotus any more as my knees won't handle it. If you are under the age of about 40 it is likely that if you approximate the half lotus and you sit every day twice a day then after awhile you will develop more knee flexibility and you can then do the half lotus and you might be able to after another while be able to do full lotus.....but it takes time....and for some people it just ain't going to happen.

As for instructions on how to do it....well...there really isn't much technique and I'm sure someone here can give better instruction than me.
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Re: Meditation Poses

Postby cooran » Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:28 am

Hello face...,

Meditation posture workshop
Please consider all the links in the left-side margin:
http://www.wildmind.org/posture

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Meditation Poses

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:41 am

I found this page useful too: http://www.mro.org/zmm/teachings/meditation.php

And see this thread for some more advice, including stretching from Ven Dhammanando
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 13&start=0

:anjali:
Mike
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Re: Meditation Poses

Postby Jonttu » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:20 pm

I once read from a yoga book that in order to avoid permanently hurting the knees, it's important to kind of lock them first when getting into the lotus pose. This assures that the knees don't bend in abnormal ways, and that the flexibility comes from the hips rather than from the knees. I've found that using this technique with a good zafu, I can sit an hour in lotus, with minor pain occuring only in the last 10 minutes of the session.
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Re: Meditation Poses

Postby daverupa » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:36 pm

The reason your knees hurt is because when your cross your legs without proper hip flexibility, the femur and tibia (which are normally aligned = parallel to each other) are tilted < like this, and the bones are pinching the menisci. This, over time, will ruin the knee(s).

The solution is to ensure that the two leg bones remain oriented appropriately. There are a number of solutions which are hard to describe solely with words; try reading this and see if it helps.
    "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: Meditation Poses

Postby FaceaceRAWR » Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:47 am

chownah wrote:I can't sit in half lotus any more as my knees won't handle it. If you are under the age of about 40 it is likely that if you approximate the half lotus and you sit every day twice a day then after awhile you will develop more knee flexibility and you can then do the half lotus and you might be able to after another while be able to do full lotus.....but it takes time....and for some people it just ain't going to happen.

As for instructions on how to do it....well...there really isn't much technique and I'm sure someone here can give better instruction than me.
chownah


Actually, you did give me some nice advice, chownah: Just keep trying and eventually I'll get it. It's inevitable. In fact, I finally got the half-lotus down. I had no idea you should lean back and position your hips in the right position. :embarassed:
cooran wrote:Hello face...,

Meditation posture workshop
Please consider all the links in the left-side margin:
http://www.wildmind.org/posture

with metta
Chris


I've never been called face before, but it matches my name so why not. :tongue:

Thank you for the link, Chris; it looks very useful and I'm definitely adding it to my 'Good Reads' favorite folder. c: I can't wait to read it! :hug:

mikenz66 wrote:I found this page useful too: http://www.mro.org/zmm/teachings/meditation.php

And see this thread for some more advice, including stretching from Ven Dhammanando
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 13&start=0

:anjali:
Mike

Oooo! I like that first pose. I've never seen it before, but it looks sooooo comfy! :bow:
Thank you, Mike! :smile:

Maybe I should have searched the forum before I asked my question, ehhh. I'm going to read that thread next! :thumbsup:
Jonttu wrote:I once read from a yoga book that in order to avoid permanently hurting the knees, it's important to kind of lock them first when getting into the lotus pose. This assures that the knees don't bend in abnormal ways, and that the flexibility comes from the hips rather than from the knees. I've found that using this technique with a good zafu, I can sit an hour in lotus, with minor pain occuring only in the last 10 minutes of the session.


I've been doing stretches as of late for more flexibility. The way I was positioning my spine and where I was putting my weight, I believe, was putting a lot more pressure than was required on my legs. I'm not sure why an inch of where I put my back could do all that, but I'll listen to my body and not cause it pain.
Thank you for replying and helping me out, Jonttu! I really appreciate it! :thanks:
daverupa wrote:The reason your knees hurt is because when your cross your legs without proper hip flexibility, the femur and tibia (which are normally aligned = parallel to each other) are tilted < like this, and the bones are pinching the menisci. This, over time, will ruin the knee(s).

The solution is to ensure that the two leg bones remain oriented appropriately. There are a number of solutions which are hard to describe solely with words; try reading this and see if it helps.


THANK YOU! A LOT! The information about why they hurt is very useful to me. I like learning why anything and everything so that I can better understand it all. Not to mention, that link is going to guarantee my knees won't fall off when I'm a' walkin' down the street singing... :spy:

Daverupa, you are awesome. :clap: :clap:


Sincerely,
Ace :strawman:
p.s. I can't wait for my next meditation now! :meditate:

EDIT: I spelled 'for' as 'fore' and I let it get to me.
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Re: Meditation Poses

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:15 am

FaceaceRAWR wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:I found this page useful too: http://www.mro.org/zmm/teachings/meditation.php
...

Oooo! I like that first pose. I've never seen it before, but it looks sooooo comfy! :bow:
Thank you, Mike! :smile:


Yes, "Burmese" is what I use. It has the advantage over the Lotus positions that:
1. Less flexibility of hips is needed, and less chance of straining the knees because the rotation of the hips is less.
2. Since the legs are not on top of each other there is less chance of cutting off circulation. I can sit in half Lotus if I have to, but my legs tend to go to sleep.

Another thing. I don't think any position is very useful if it's only a mediation posture. If you're not comfortable to just sit like that for normal activities then it's probably a distraction to meditation. At home I spend quite a lot of time sitting in the Burmese position (on some cushions) with my computer, books, or papers on a coffee table. If I couldn't do that comfortably I'd meditate on a chair rather than start off with additional sources of discomfort.

:anjali:
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Re: Meditation Poses

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:25 am

mikenz66 wrote:Another thing. I don't think any position is very useful if it's only a mediation posture. If you're not comfortable to just sit like that for normal activities then it's probably a distraction to meditation. At home I spend quite a lot of time sitting in the Burmese position (on some cushions) with my computer, books, or papers on a coffee table. If I couldn't do that comfortably I'd meditate on a chair rather than start off with additional sources of discomfort.


I do that too; I'll usually sit cross-legged and/or lotus in front of the computer or when sitting on a sofa watching tv.

Flexibility seems to be something that you have to "use it or lose it." Many people lose their flexibility at a young age. I remember as a kid being told not to put my feet up on the sofa even though it felt comfortable for me to do so by sitting cross-legged. Fortunately I got involved in martial arts and so kept most of my flexibility. The cross-legged positions are desirable due to the balance and symmetry but are not required. Mindfulness can come in any position and the Satipatthana Sutta refers to the other 'positions' of standing, walking, and lying down. Ananda attained enlightenment in the lying down position, just as his head was about to hit the pillow.
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Re: Meditation Poses

Postby FaceaceRAWR » Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:07 pm

I've been sitting a lot of indian style [criss-cross apple sauce XD] lately, but I'm not doing it for meditation. I just want to broaden my horizons for sitting and keeping my back level so I can let my vertebrae lay on top of each other, otherwise it begins to hurt. I don't really want to sit in other positions because I don't want to hurt my body and it actually feels so much better nowadays to sit on the floor this way. I don't really like chairs because my dog looks so sad standing up and placing her head in my lap. Looks awfully uncomfortable.

Anywho, I understand what you're saying, Mike, and that is definitely not the case. I'm just focusing on meditation poses because I want to practice new poses so I can cycle through them and not get all stiff from one or three. :tongue:

And I'm 18 years old, 19 August 25th, so I guess I should be happy I have this interest that my peers don't really accept. I'm happy they deal with it, though.
David N. Snyder wrote:...Mindfulness can come in any position and the Satipatthana Sutta refers to the other 'positions' of standing, walking, and lying down. Ananda attained enlightenment in the lying down position, just as his head was about to hit the pillow.

I'm going to have to read through that. I'm not really wanting to start a new thread, but I have another question: Where can I find a GOOD and informative site on Mindfulness and the 10 recollections? I want to ask someone who knows his stuff. :buddha2:

Thanks for posting and helping! I appreciate it! :hug:

Sincerely,
Ace :strawman:

EDIT: Thought of that question up there as I was rereading posts.
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Re: Meditation Poses

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:17 pm

Hi Ace,
FaceaceRAWR wrote:Anywho, I understand what you're saying, Mike, and that is definitely not the case. I'm just focusing on meditation poses because I want to practice new poses so I can cycle through them and not get all stiff from one or three. :tongue:

I wasn't talking about you in particular. I agree with what you are saying here, and it's good to have some variations.

What was trying to say is that I think thatthese positions are useful for meditation because they are comfortable ways of sitting, not because there is something "spiritual" about them. Such positions are really useful when attending open-air events where one has to sit on the ground, for example...

:anjali:
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Re: Meditation Poses

Postby FaceaceRAWR » Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:46 pm

I understand. I just didn't want you to think I was going to be foolish and force myself into a pose before I let my mind clear.

I'm also searching for any information, by the way, and I'd love any you could offer. It's for this Word Document I'm starting so I can keep track of everything and eventually print it out. Even to share with anyone who is interested; I'm sure I won't need it by the time I finish it.

Thanks again for helping me to find the Burmese. :thumbsup:

Sincerely,
Ace :strawman:

EDIT: rethought some words and changed my mind about something.
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Re: Meditation Poses

Postby FaceaceRAWR » Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:16 pm

After a bit of searching for a good guide to Vipassana meditation I came across this link. I'm not sure if there's a link-sharing place on this forum for useful links, but here it is in case anyone stumbles upon this thread looking for help with meditation.

How to Meditate, Vipassana style. :meditate:

Sincerely,
Ace :strawman:
p.s. I'm not sure about rules on double-posting, but if it's an issue feel free to merge my posts. My intent is to help and not to raise my post count.
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