Sitting for long hours

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

Post by Dazzy »

My legs get numb after 10 mints sitting in meditation no matter how I sit. But I can't sit on a chair in the class and in retreats. Kind of not facilitated. This problem is an obstacle to my practice. :cry:

How do you overcome this please? If I practice more will my legs get used to sitting long hours?
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tiltbillings
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Re: Sitting for long hours

Post by tiltbillings »

Dazzy wrote:My legs get numb after 10 mints sitting in meditation no matter how I sit. But I can't sit on a chair in the class and in retreats. Kind of not facilitated. This problem is an obstacle to my practice. :cry:

How do you overcome this please? If I practice more will my legs get used to sitting long hours?
Every retreat i have gone to, sitting in a chair is an option. See if there is something in these Gioogle options that might help:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%2 ... =&gs_rfai=
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
Dazzy
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Re: Sitting for long hours

Post by Dazzy »

But I don't like to get used to sitting on a chair so that I won't be able to sit on the floor at all
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Ben
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Re: Sitting for long hours

Post by Ben »

Try to appreciate the fact that numbness is just a sensation - nothing more, nothing less.
If you have a chronic ailment or injury, then I think you should look into either a chair, low-folding chair or other sitting/posture device to make your meditation a bit more fruitful. But in the interim, try to maintain your focus on the object of meditation for longer and longer periods irrespective of any numbness in your legs.
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: [email protected]..
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tiltbillings
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Re: Sitting for long hours

Post by tiltbillings »

Dazzy wrote:But I don't like to get used to sitting on a chair so that I won't be able to sit on the floor at all
But it is the "sitting" - the meditation - that matters, not whether it is on the floor or in a chair. Basically, doing leg stretches daily will help you towards your goal, but don't push it; take your time.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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tiltbillings
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Re: Sitting for long hours

Post by tiltbillings »

Ben wrote:Try to appreciate the fact that numbness is just a sensation - nothing more, nothing less.
But the question is, what is causing the numbness?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
Dazzy
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Re: Sitting for long hours

Post by Dazzy »

Ben wrote:Try to appreciate the fact that numbness is just a sensation - nothing more, nothing less.
If you have a chronic ailment or injury, then I think you should look into either a chair, low-folding chair or other sitting/posture device to make your meditation a bit more fruitful. But in the interim, try to maintain your focus on the object of meditation for longer and longer periods irrespective of any numbness in your legs.
kind regards

Ben
Will it kill my legs? :jawdrop:

I mean it is not healthy to deny blood circulation for long hours
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Ben
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Re: Sitting for long hours

Post by Ben »

Dazzy wrote:
Ben wrote:Try to appreciate the fact that numbness is just a sensation - nothing more, nothing less.
If you have a chronic ailment or injury, then I think you should look into either a chair, low-folding chair or other sitting/posture device to make your meditation a bit more fruitful. But in the interim, try to maintain your focus on the object of meditation for longer and longer periods irrespective of any numbness in your legs.
kind regards

Ben
Will it kill my legs? :jawdrop:

I mean it is not healthy to deny blood circulation for long hours
When I go on retreat I sit cross-legged for up to 16 hours a day and my legs are fine.
Use your common sense. If there are such unpleasant sensations that it is dominating your awareness - move, but move slowly and with awareness.
But if your numbness is just a distraction to practice, then maintain your focus on the primary object of meditation!
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: [email protected]..
Dazzy
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Re: Sitting for long hours

Post by Dazzy »

Ben, was it hard for you at the beginning? I am a beginner so all I want to learn from experienced practitioners is

1) Is this normal?

2) Will it be fine with practice once my legs gradually get used to it?

3) Will it be a health risk (which obviously is not as you say)?

Thanks
lojong1
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Re: Sitting for long hours

Post by lojong1 »

For the first month, my legs hurt after 5 mins., numbed by 15 mins. and I was quite worried about health risks of sitting too long. When I stopped worrying about it, 3 hour comfortable sits were doable. Sit through and feel all you can handle, then shift them or stand a bit, no guilt. Watch how quickly and fully you recover each time. The cause is mostly mental. It gets easier.
elcfa
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Re: Sitting for long hours

Post by elcfa »

1) Is this normal?
Not sure for others, but it was for me. It went from numbness to mild pain to excruciating pain so much so that my clothes were full of sweat and my body was shaking.

2) Will it be fine with practice once my legs gradually get used to it?

Yes. Your body will get used to it and suddenly one day you no longer experience it.

3) Will it be a health risk (which obviously is not as you say)?
No. Not that I am aware of having sat regularly 12-14 sessions *1 hr /day for countless months of retreats.

Some tips for you: it is ok to move slowly if the pain is unbearable while being mindful.
Pain (numbness is the start of it) is actual an invaluable help for you to focus the mind and to see the impermanence nature of all things. Observe the pain/discomfort and you will see that the feeling/pain is not constant as you thought, but changing and composed of actually tiny (but powerful), fast moving, fast dying sensations like a powerful wave is nothing but a collection of fast moving water drops. It would be difficult to see to begin with since your mind would not be able to concentrate but with practice you can see. You may want at first try to differentiate different "tastes" of pain: sharp pain, slow cooking pain, vibrating pain,... (I still remember that I counted sth like 20 different tastes in one sitting) or different locations of pain to focus/calm the mind.
Good luck.
You may want to read achan Mun's account of pain meditation or The Science of Enlightenment: Teachings & Meditations for Awakening Through Self-Investigation from Shizen Young who explains a bit about meditation about pain.
Shonin
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Re: Sitting for long hours

Post by Shonin »

Dazzy wrote:Will it kill my legs? :jawdrop:

I mean it is not healthy to deny blood circulation for long hours
It's not caused by the blood circulation being cut off, it's caused by the main nerve that runs down your leg being compressed. I'm not aware of any side -effects of doing this long term.
Sanghamitta
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Re: Sitting for long hours

Post by Sanghamitta »

Short term effects in my case include a very wobbly few minutes due to numbness when I first stand...but it soon passes.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
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bodom
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Re: Sitting for long hours

Post by bodom »

This is 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:
Do everything with a mind that lets go. Do not expect any praise or reward. If you let go a little, you experience a little peace. If you let go a lot, you experience a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you will know complete peace and freedom. Your struggle with the world will have come to an end.

- Ajahn Chah
Sanghamitta
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Re: Sitting for long hours

Post by Sanghamitta »

Cant say that I have ever reached the point when numbness does not happen at all Bodom... :smile:
But its not a prob.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
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