What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

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

What position do you use for sitting meditation?

Full Lotus
6
15%
Half Lotus
12
29%
Burmese
10
24%
Kneeling
6
15%
Chair
7
17%
 
Total votes : 41

What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby salty-J » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:49 am

.....and as a follow up to the poll answer, do you feel using a chair has disadvantages?
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Re: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:52 am

Greetings Salty-J,

salty-J wrote:.....and as a follow up to the poll answer, do you feel using a chair has disadvantages?


To be honest, the most productive meditation sessions I've ever had have been in a chair, so for me it's had advantages!

That said, I generally still (stubbornly? habitually?) sit cross-legged just like I was taught in kindergarten... so I don't quite know what to select as far as your poll goes!

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby bodom » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:03 am

Half lotus right leg on top of left.

: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: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby Guy » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:23 am

Mostly chair, sometimes burmese. Like Retro I tend to have best results on a chair.
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Re: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby salty-J » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:25 am

oops, I knew I was forgetting an option..... :embarassed:
The things I've read always list using a chair last, so that is why I am asking about any disadvantages.....
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Re: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby Lampang » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:50 am

Kneel, using a home-made bench.

I too got the impression that sitting in a chair was frowned on so I've avoided it.
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Re: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:58 am

salty-J wrote:.....and as a follow up to the poll answer, do you feel using a chair has disadvantages?


You also forgot quarter-lotus: one foot on the calf of the other leg, but half lotus is close enough to that.

The Satipatthana Sutta mentions, going to a place and sitting "cross-legged" but that was the style at the time and the Sutta mentions the importance of being mindful in any position. Therefore, I think non-cross-legged positions are fine.
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Re: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:01 am

Greetings David,

David N. Snyder wrote:The Satipatthana Sutta mentions, going to a place and sitting "cross-legged" but that was the style at the time and the Sutta mentions the importance of being mindful in any position. Therefore, I think non-cross-legged positions are fine.


It's interesting actually. When attempting the Goenka 'body sweep' technique, sweeping up or down the legs, I found it far more difficult to do when my legs were interwoven. When it was a straight "foot on the floor" scenario, scanning up and down was easier, without needing to somehow work out what feelings and sensations were associated with each leg, or without having to change the geo-spatial direction of the sweep part way through at the ankle or knee.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby Reductor » Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:25 am

Half lotus descriptions list the right leg on top of the left. I do left on right, 'cause my right doesn't fold down low enough (I think I messed it up as a kid).

Are there any specific reasons that right on left is preferred?
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Re: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby bodom » Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:11 am

thereductor wrote:Half lotus descriptions list the right leg on top of the left. I do left on right, 'cause my right doesn't fold down low enough (I think I messed it up as a kid).

Are there any specific reasons that right on left is preferred?


I have noticed that in the Theravadin tradition right hand in left and right leg on left is the usual instruction and in Mahayana esp. Zen the opposite instruction is given with left on right. The reason given in Zen is that the right side of the body is the active while the left is the passive and this is supposed to balance the yin and yang or something of the sort. When I practiced Zen I never bought into it though. I never heard of any significant reason for hand placement in Theravada. I just know right on left is more natural and comfortable for me. Note also there are teachers in both traditions who instruct to rest with hands on knees so really it is all about personal preference and comfort.

. :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: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby poto » Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:58 am

These days it's usually a chair or a couch.

A few years ago I dislocated one of my knees and tore some cartilage. Since then I can't sit in half lotus without pain. Sitting in half lotus for a full meditation session would be very painful. I can manage to sit cross-legged for 10 or 20 minutes without pain sometimes now though. Over time my knee has gotten better, so maybe in a few more years I'll be able to sit in half lotus without pain again.
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Re: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:17 am

I use the walking position, standing, and Burmese. (Walking is at least as important in my practise, it's where I really get to notice intention
retrofuturist wrote:It's interesting actually. When attempting the Goenka 'body sweep' technique, sweeping up or down the legs, I found it far more difficult to do when my legs were interwoven. When it was a straight "foot on the floor" scenario, scanning up and down was easier...

This is true, but it passed, in my experience. It's also much easier to do a body scan when standing, which I do at each end of the walking track before and after turning.

I am not very good at meditating on a chair, it just doesn't feel that stable. However, I've made a conscious effort to learn to sit on the floor - we do that for dinner, and I sit on the floor by a coffee table to use my computer when at home. So there's nothing "special" about my meditation position (which I believe is the idea - it's just a comfortable way to sit, not something esoteric). The key for me is having quite a high stack of cushions, so my back can be bowed corrected, and my knees (or, rather, my legs) are on the floor.

I think I do Burmese with legs the opposite way from "normal", but I see that as simply a flexibility issue, again, nothing special...

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Re: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby Ben » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:01 am

Cross-legged doesn't appear on your poll so I can't vote. What I mean by cross-legged is probably the same as what Retro means. Leggs crossed below the calves with calves resting on the feet.
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Re: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:02 am

salty-J wrote:.....and as a follow up to the poll answer, do you feel using a chair has disadvantages?


I use y=to sit burmese style but now use a bench for kneeling because my legs would go numb and cease up! quite interesting when the fire alarm went off one day.
so long as the body is held erect any sitting posture is good.
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Re: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby salty-J » Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:57 pm

Manapa wrote:
salty-J wrote:.....and as a follow up to the poll answer, do you feel using a chair has disadvantages?


I use y=to sit burmese style but now use a bench for kneeling because my legs would go numb and cease up! quite interesting when the fire alarm went off one day.
so long as the body is held erect any sitting posture is good.

that happens to me too if I actually settle in half lotus, (okay, quarter :tongue: ) when it's time to get up.....I have to literally move my feet and legs with my hands and arms, because I can't move them at all, and then afterwards there are very intense "leg fell asleep/waking up" sensations which are interesting to try and observe without aversion! I would just keep trying like this, but my knee has the arthritis (@36! How you like them apples?) which ends up causing so much pain sometimes I opt for the chair.....but I guess for whatever reason, I want to be able to sit lotus position eventually, as it is recommended in the books I'd read.....it's nice to hear so many of you sit "Indian style"/cross legged, or in a chair though, at least I am not in bad company in not utilizing exotic sitting positions..... :namaste:
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Re: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:54 pm

poto wrote:These days it's usually a chair or a couch.

A few years ago I dislocated one of my knees and tore some cartilage. Since then I can't sit in half lotus without pain. Sitting in half lotus for a full meditation session would be very painful. I can manage to sit cross-legged for 10 or 20 minutes without pain sometimes now though. Over time my knee has gotten better, so maybe in a few more years I'll be able to sit in half lotus without pain again.

Yes I suffered a cartilage tear too. So I sit with legs loosely crossed, sometimes with a cushion under that knee, and try to keep my back straight.
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Re: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby seanpdx » Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:00 pm

Full lotus, no cushion. But I'm flexible, I like the stability of full lotus, my ankle bones get sore if I sit cross-legged too long, and I like the flexibility of not requiring a cushion to meditate. That said, I've been known to briefly meditate in any number of positions, depending on where I am, what I'm doing, and how I'm feeling -- cross-legged, half-lotus, burmese, in a chair, kneeling, sitting in a bar. =)
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Re: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby bodom » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:37 pm

Larry rosenberg tells a story:

Some students wonder if "cross-legged posture" refers to the full -lotus position. Probably the Buddha did mean the full -lotus, and there is no question that it is an extremely stable posture. I myself had a teacher who thought the full lotus extremely important, and who asked me to master it. It took me ten years. The first year i couldnt even get into it. The next year i could hold it for perhaps minutes. Now the full lotus is quite comfortable for me. But my own judgement is that it usually isnt worth a new students trying so hard to learn it. If it sets up an unrealistic goal, it can become an occasion for suffering and a distraction from the real purpose of dhamma practice. It can too easily be used in the service of the ego. Years after i had mastered the full lotus, another teacher walked by while i was sitting, tapped on my shoulder, and gestured toward my full lotus. "This is the whole problem for you." And it can be a problem if it is something you attach to.
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: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:24 am

salty-J wrote:
Manapa wrote:
salty-J wrote:.....and as a follow up to the poll answer, do you feel using a chair has disadvantages?


I use y=to sit burmese style but now use a bench for kneeling because my legs would go numb and cease up! quite interesting when the fire alarm went off one day.
so long as the body is held erect any sitting posture is good.

that happens to me too if I actually settle in half lotus, (okay, quarter :tongue: ) when it's time to get up.....I have to literally move my feet and legs with my hands and arms, because I can't move them at all, and then afterwards there are very intense "leg fell asleep/waking up" sensations which are interesting to try and observe without aversion! I would just keep trying like this, but my knee has the arthritis (@36! How you like them apples?) which ends up causing so much pain sometimes I opt for the chair.....but I guess for whatever reason, I want to be able to sit lotus position eventually, as it is recommended in the books I'd read.....it's nice to hear so many of you sit "Indian style"/cross legged, or in a chair though, at least I am not in bad company in not utilizing exotic sitting positions..... :namaste:


no arthritis for me, but the muscles in my left leg dis-coordinate so have to do stretches quite often. I am not a fan of the normal chair, but my stools (hehe) do me well with little to no problems, depending on how often/long I sit. only had real problems once and that was on a retreat where the flaw was hard, although wasn't due to the muscles issue.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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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: What position do you use for sitting meditation.....

Postby AdvaitaJ » Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:56 am

I voted "Kneeling", assuming that would include the use of a bench.

I've done quite a bit of running over the years, carrying about 25-30 pounds more than I should and that has resulted in some fairly substantial calf muscles...to say nothing of the fragility of the knee joints! I used half-lotus for a few months, but would have consistent problems with knee pain, numbness, legs slipping out of position, etc after 20 minutes or so. Within a week of building my bench, I was comfortably up to 45 minutes with little pain and now, a bit over a year later, 45 minutes is generally pain-free and, depending on what the mind is doing, over an hour is now very do-able with minimal discomfort.

I've tried a chair a couple of times and found the center of gravity too high for my liking. While the bench is not as stable as cross-legged positions, it still provides a fairly large "base" that seems to help me forego the need to consciously balance.

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