foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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johnny
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foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby johnny » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:48 pm

if i meditate for an hour or so my left foot, and only the left, falls asleep so much that i cannot move it. i can move my leg, but i cannot even wiggle my toes. the leg and foot still have a healthy pink color and are not looking like the circulation is cut off or anything, it just doesn't work.

this lasts only about thirty seconds too maybe a minute or so and then i can wiggle them, and then needles and pins for a minute, and then i'm fine.

anyone know about this?
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

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Re: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:01 pm

johnny wrote:if i meditate for an hour or so my left foot, and only the left, falls asleep so much that i cannot move it. i can move my leg, but i cannot even wiggle my toes. the leg and foot still have a healthy pink color and are not looking like the circulation is cut off or anything, it just doesn't work.

this lasts only about thirty seconds too maybe a minute or so and then i can wiggle them, and then needles and pins for a minute, and then i'm fine.

anyone know about this?

I get this, try doing some stretches to loosen up your leg muscles, & alter your leg possitioning. you may be putting to much pressure on your leg with the bend, or the stretch of the muscles.
Do you cross your legs the same way i.e. left foot clossest to you, each time?
I tend to sit in the Burmese posture or quater lotus with my left foot closest to me, I also get tight leg muscles for some reason so I have put it down to a mixture of the two although nothing seams to stop this fully except not sitting crossed legged.
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Re: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby johnny » Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:04 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
johnny wrote:if i meditate for an hour or so my left foot, and only the left, falls asleep so much that i cannot move it. i can move my leg, but i cannot even wiggle my toes. the leg and foot still have a healthy pink color and are not looking like the circulation is cut off or anything, it just doesn't work.

this lasts only about thirty seconds too maybe a minute or so and then i can wiggle them, and then needles and pins for a minute, and then i'm fine.

anyone know about this?

I get this, try doing some stretches to loosen up your leg muscles, & alter your leg possitioning. you may be putting to much pressure on your leg with the bend, or the stretch of the muscles.
Do you cross your legs the same way i.e. left foot clossest to you, each time?
I tend to sit in the Burmese posture or quater lotus with my left foot closest to me, I also get tight leg muscles for some reason so I have put it down to a mixture of the two although nothing seams to stop this fully except not sitting crossed legged.



thanks. you have experienced this? total lack of ability too move it?

i do right foot on left thigh, left foot on right. it almost always slips off so i sit in half lotus for the rest of the time with my right foot still on my left thigh and my left foot on the floor.
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

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Re: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby bodom » Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:06 pm

From Bhante G:

It is very common for beginners to have their legs fall asleep or go numb during meditation. They are simply not accustomed to the cross-legged posture. Some people get very anxious about this. They feel they must get up and move around. A few are completely convinced that they will get gangrene from lack of circulation. Numbness in the leg is nothing to worry about. it is caused by nerve-pinch, not by lack of circulation. You can't damage the tissues of your legs by sitting. So relax. When your legs fall asleep in meditation, just mindfully observe the phenomenon. Examine what it feels like. It may be sort of uncomfortable, but it is not painful unless you tense up. Just stay calm and watch it. It does not matter if your legs go numb and stay that way for the whole period. After you have meditated for some time, that numbness gradually will disappear. Your body simply adjusts to daily practice. Then you can sit for very long sessions with no numbness whatever.


:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

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Re: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby johnny » Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:08 pm

bodom wrote:From Bhante G:

It is very common for beginners to have their legs fall asleep or go numb during meditation. They are simply not accustomed to the cross-legged posture. Some people get very anxious about this. They feel they must get up and move around. A few are completely convinced that they will get gangrene from lack of circulation. Numbness in the leg is nothing to worry about. it is caused by nerve-pinch, not by lack of circulation. You can't damage the tissues of your legs by sitting. So relax. When your legs fall asleep in meditation, just mindfully observe the phenomenon. Examine what it feels like. It may be sort of uncomfortable, but it is not painful unless you tense up. Just stay calm and watch it. It does not matter if your legs go numb and stay that way for the whole period. After you have meditated for some time, that numbness gradually will disappear. Your body simply adjusts to daily practice. Then you can sit for very long sessions with no numbness whatever.


:anjali:


thanks!

this has been happening too me for many years. and i have read roughly the quote above many times, my concern is it's not just numbness, it's lack of ability too wiggle my toes or move my foot! :o
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

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Re: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:21 pm

johnny wrote:thanks. you have experienced this? total lack of ability too move it?

i do right foot on left thigh, left foot on right. it almost always slips off so i sit in half lotus for the rest of the time with my right foot still on my left thigh and my left foot on the floor.

I did say I get this!
considering your leg slips off, you are possibly trying to contort your body into a posture it isn't comfortable with, and due to extra pressure on the left leg....
not saying this IS the problem, but it looks like it to me.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby daverupa » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:41 pm

Use a meditation bench, cushion, pillow... it's simply compressed nerves, adjust the sitting position and it's solved. No use just enduring it for the sake of the "I am sitting in lotus" dhamma.

:heart:
    "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: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby johnny » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:30 am

daverupa wrote:Use a meditation bench, cushion, pillow... it's simply compressed nerves, adjust the sitting position and it's solved. No use just enduring it for the sake of the "I am sitting in lotus" dhamma.

:heart:



thanks much :)

and ugh, i know you're right but i've heard too many people say it has to be lotus or bust. and the buddha always said "cross leg position" which i'm pretty sure is lotus.

please convince me lotus doesn't matter! sincerely. i don't like lotus! however i would need a posture that is as conducive too wakefulness since lotus helps with that a lot.
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

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Re: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby Kamran » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:30 am

I think this is usually caused when blood flow to the foot is slowed down(its not completely cut off). The blood is pushed out to capillaries. It like when there is an accident on the freeway and everybody takes the side roads :) In time, new capillaries will grow and the blood will be re-routed to your foot.
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.

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Re: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby dharmagoat » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:53 am

Kamran wrote:I think this is usually caused when blood flow to the foot is slowed down(its not completely cut off). The blood is pushed out to capillaries. It like when there is an accident on the freeway and everybody takes the side roads :) In time, new capillaries will grow and the blood will be re-routed to your foot.

Numbness in the legs is definitely associated with compressed nerves and not poor circulation. The two may occur together, but they are quite distinct.

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Re: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby daverupa » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:52 am

johnny wrote:i've heard too many people say it has to be lotus or bust. and the buddha always said "cross leg position" which i'm pretty sure is lotus.

please convince me lotus doesn't matter!


The burden of proof is on the claim that lotus is important, essential, or an otherwise superior aid.

Now, the phrase "legs folded crosswise" is simply part of a stock descriptive pericope; it means one is sitting with purpose, with neither legs akimbo nor lazy reclining. Note also that the following reference to setting the body straight is of course also not quite literal; the natural s-curve of the spine should be maintained to facilitate relaxed sitting for long periods, but no slouching should be permitted.

In a culture which is primarily one of chairs, adhering to a perceived-as-ideal seated form becomes distracting asceticism. There are many stories of people with blown menisci (basically, knee damage) on account of this sort of thing, a situation which greatly limits ones seating options. Of course, on the less severe side of the spectrum are the nerve compression sensations which you have experienced, which can manifest in very distracting but relatively harmless ways.

So the negatives are very clear, and no positives beyond nostalgia are as yet identified.

:heart:
    "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: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby johnny » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:20 am

daverupa wrote:
johnny wrote:i've heard too many people say it has to be lotus or bust. and the buddha always said "cross leg position" which i'm pretty sure is lotus.

please convince me lotus doesn't matter!


The burden of proof is on the claim that lotus is important, essential, or an otherwise superior aid.

Now, the phrase "legs folded crosswise" is simply part of a stock descriptive pericope; it means one is sitting with purpose, with neither legs akimbo nor lazy reclining. Note also that the following reference to setting the body straight is of course also not quite literal; the natural s-curve of the spine should be maintained to facilitate relaxed sitting for long periods, but no slouching should be permitted.

In a culture which is primarily one of chairs, adhering to a perceived-as-ideal seated form becomes distracting asceticism. There are many stories of people with blown menisci (basically, knee damage) on account of this sort of thing, a situation which greatly limits ones seating options. Of course, on the less severe side of the spectrum are the nerve compression sensations which you have experienced, which can manifest in very distracting but relatively harmless ways.

So the negatives are very clear, and no positives beyond nostalgia are as yet identified.

:heart:



interesting. thank you sir!

so you're saying that there is risk of blown menisci from sitting lotus? is this something that is a cumulative effect or the result of pushing yourself too far and causing injury? like let's say i eventually can sit lotus comfortably with no pain or numbness, is it likely this will over time be damaging my knees no matter what?

also: what's another pose that promotes wakefulness like lotus?
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

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Re: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby marc108 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:59 am

johnny wrote:and ugh, i know you're right but i've heard too many people say it has to be lotus or bust. and the buddha always said "cross leg position" which i'm pretty sure is lotus.

please convince me lotus doesn't matter! sincerely. i don't like lotus! however i would need a posture that is as conducive too wakefulness since lotus helps with that a lot.


lotus is 100% a cultural thing, and imo, is not in any way necessary. i think if your leg is going completely numb you should think about sitting in a chair or doing some stretching to loosen up your hips and knees. if you cant feel anything, you run the risk of seriously injuring your knees as you wont be able to feel when too much is too much. the only goal of sitting postures should be: to keep the body mostly comfortable, to be structurally stable so you dont fall over & to keep the spine erect so the breath flows freely.

Bhante Sujato has spoken out very critically of the idea that lotus is necessary, and I very much agree with him. In a talk I recently listened to, he mentioned he has already has a few knee surgeries and that many of the senior monks in the Therevadin & Tibetan traditions have had knee surgeries.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

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Re: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby reflection » Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:20 am

I've had this, the ability to not move my feet. The solution is first not get too fed up about it and second, try another posture. One that doesn't compress your feet as much.

Meditation is about posture of the mind, not really about posture of the body. The posture just has to be comfortable and attentive. No need for full lotus.

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Re: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby Bonsai Doug » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:38 pm

marc108 wrote:lotus is 100% a cultural thing, and imo, is not in any way necessary.

My feeling also. You can see this if you just Google something like "meditation positions." You'll see
that Buddhists cultures around the planet meditate in many different positions. If the Buddha had been
born in say, Japan, we'd now be discussing just how important it is to kneel during meditation.

OP - Simply seek out a position which is comfortable for you. It's the meditation, not the position, which
is paramount.

Just my 2½ cents worth. Your mileage may vary. :)
Now having obtained a precious human body,
I do not have the luxury of remaining on a distracted path.

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Re: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby johnny » Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:35 pm

awesome and thanks sooo much too all giving me good reasons too forget lotus. i've never really cared for it.

last question: have any of you been able too attain jhana without it? probably a silly question since well known teachers don't always recommend it, but i'm curious.
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

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Re: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby marc108 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:17 pm

johnny wrote:awesome and thanks sooo much too all giving me good reasons too forget lotus. i've never really cared for it.

last question: have any of you been able too attain jhana without it? probably a silly question since well known teachers don't always recommend it, but i'm curious.


I have always meditated in a chair and it's never been an issue for me as far as developing concentration... Bhante Sujato also uses a chair, and he clearly has/is attaining the deepest stages of Jhana.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

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Re: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby johnny » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:29 pm

marc108 wrote:
johnny wrote:awesome and thanks sooo much too all giving me good reasons too forget lotus. i've never really cared for it.

last question: have any of you been able too attain jhana without it? probably a silly question since well known teachers don't always recommend it, but i'm curious.


I have always meditated in a chair and it's never been an issue for me as far as developing concentration... Bhante Sujato also uses a chair, and he clearly has/is attaining the deepest stages of Jhana.


sweet!!! thanks sir!
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

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Re: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby johnny » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:29 pm

dharmagoat wrote:Numbness in the legs is definitely associated with compressed nerves and not poor circulation. The two may occur together, but they are quite distinct.


your name and avatar make me happy.
Last edited by johnny on Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

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Re: foot falling asleep too the point that i can't move it???

Postby TravisGM » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:30 pm

Your name and avatar make me happy

I have to agree :D
To be happy...


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