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Sitting posture - disaster :(

misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a HinduIndia Veteran
edited April 2013 in Meditation
Hi All,

After sitting in full lotus position in my meditation for the last 1.5 years, few day back i found a link posted in a comment by @Invincible_summer in another thread. Going through this link, i found that i have been sitting as shown in figure 13b - which is incorrect - though it was comfortable for me, only numbness occurred in my legs after some duration. Now i have been trying to sit in figure 13a - for that i am doing figure 11 as an exercise and then trying to sit in figure 13a. But it is causing much pain in my legs in sitting in figure 13a, as i try to put the portion from ankle to top of foot at right angles to other leg, as shown in figure 13a, and not in parallel as shown in figure 13b. within five minutes or even less time, a slight pain is starting as soon as i sit in figure 13a and it continues on and on, until numbness also starts along with pain and at that time, i change my sitting posture as we sit in normal sitting to relax my legs.

Also, after my sitting duration in figure 13a, i am finding there is some pain in both my legs during the whole day - this thing has started from the last few days and it is continuing till today, since i am trying for sitting in figure 13a these days.

So question here- does sitting in figure 13b for nearly 1.5 years has hurt my legs already?

the other problem i find is - only in full lotus i am having comfort in keeping my back straight - other postures i tried but it seems that i have to put extra effort to keep my back straight through-out sitting duration and these other postures (except full lotus posture) does not seem stable to me (or may be i am not doing them correctly). what to do now - after 1.5 years of daily meditation, i still do not know in which sitting posture should i sit. This seems like a disaster to me. Should i stop doing meditation - may be i am a totally hopeless case to even sit in meditation, leave aside any concentration? Please suggest. Thanks in advance.


  • BhanteLuckyBhanteLucky Alternative lifestyle person in the South Island of New Zealand New Zealand Veteran
    edited April 2013
    Relax! this is not the end, not a disaster, not a problem.
    I recommend...
    A chair. The greatest invention for inflexible western meditators since meditation itself.
  • Should i stop doing meditation
    In one sense yes. Meditation is not something done, rather it is our undoing.

    Walking meditation, using the chair or Egyptian pose, kneeling, burmese posture are all open to you. Prostrations and asana can also be meditative . . .

    I would recommend doing the yoga stretching and thinking less about stopping meditation and more about starting again . . . I hope that makes sense and is helpful. Pain is not a good indicator of ease. Be gentle with yourself.
  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran

    I recommend...
    A chair. The greatest invention for inflexible western meditators since meditation itself.

    But i am not from west. rather i am from india, so i sat in my childhood on ground sometimes - though it was normal sitting with cross-leg but feet going down on ground, in opposite of full-lotus where feet goes up on other leg - i hope you get the picture of normal cross-leg sitting which i am saying here. But this normal cross-leg sitting does not help in keeping the back straight and i find that after every 2 min, i have to make my back straight.
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited April 2013
    Sit, then, with your feet on the ground, cross-legged, as you're used to doing. Then sit with your back against a wall to ensure the straight posture. It's ok to cheat. In the meantime, keep doing the exercises. It takes time to limber up. Give yourself a month of doing the exercises, then try again to sit as the diagram recommends. One very easy way to have correct posture, i.e. all the chakras aligned, is to meditate lying down, until you're able to do the full lotus.

    Meditating and cultivating one-pointedness of mind is more important, imo. With all the fretting your doing about having the right posture, you're probably losing your focus on the meditation. Or losing some of the calming benefit of it.

    But thank you for posting. Those exercises look really useful, I'm going to try some of them!
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    Meditation is not a posture but a willingness to simply observe all arising phenomine without affecting with it.
    The various postures are just tried and true positions that minimize physical distractions for different body types. If one doesn't work for you, the only thing that stops you from trying another one is an attachment.
  • BonsaiDougBonsaiDoug Simply, on the path. Veteran
    edited April 2013
    I can't sit full lotus for varied reasons. But I do thank you for the link as I now have a name for the posture I use: Siddhasana - Sage posture; although with my hands folded atop one another, resting in my lap.

  • At the moment, I am using the Burmese pose

    In some systems the back is curved.
    Attentive, at ease, alert is the key.

    Hope you find something you are comfortable with.

  • Why does being from India make sitting in a chair less feasible?

    Not discouraging you from doing the stretching. I think that would be valuable to do in any case. But while you're developing concentration, you should put a high priority on keeping yourself comfortable so the mind can settle down.
  • I was trying to follow this sequence of stretches last year, and was sitting in 13A, but I found it put huge tension on my ankle as it straightened out my foot. This quickly became quite painful. Anyone else had this problem? Any solutions known?
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    It takes a very long time for the ligaments, tendons and muscles in the body to adapt and change. If you sat in the same position for so long, that is what your body was used to. You can change it, but expect it to take time for those body parts to adapt to those changes. Ligaments and cartilage especially, and you need to be gentle with them or you can cause damage to them over time. There is a difference between discomfort and pain, make sure you pay attention to it. Discomfort can be worked through, to a degree. Pain should not be, most of the time. A headache is one thing. Sore knee joints and ligaments are another.
  • ZeroZero Veteran

    Hi All,
    Should i stop doing meditation...

    You've asked this a number of times.
    Perhaps you should - then you will at least have a 'no meditation' to compare.
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    I really like this site for posture questions. There are many links to different aspects on the right side.
  • SabreSabre Veteran
    edited April 2013
    In what ways we can sit depends on our body. We have to pick a suitable posture. I'm not saying stretching is bad, but even if one is young, does sports, does stretches, even then full lotus may not be comfortable.

    So don't over stress it, because there is nothing spiritually advanced about full lotus. One who sits in full lotus can easily have stressful meditations while somebody who sits like a train wreck can be happy and peaceful.

    Also consider a posture is not just a choice of full lotus or half or whichever, it also involves cushion position and angle, position of the hands etc. All these seemingly tiny things can change the balance in the body. If your back starts changing it may just as well be your cushion is not correct. I always start of with 5 till 10 minutes of finding a good posture, changing it in details like moving my hands from my lap to my knees, changing the angle of my feet etc. If you just sit down, wiggle a bit and keep yourself forced in that position, in my experience, the pains you have know are a result of that.

    Having said all that, if you keep having problems, it's probably best to have somebody look at your posture in real life.
  • BonsaiDougBonsaiDoug Simply, on the path. Veteran
    I have to wonder... if The Buddha had been born in say, Japan for example, might we now be discussing the proper kneeling positions?
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