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Seiza Meditation Posture


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#1 OldChi

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 08:54 AM

For those of you who meditate in Seiza posture i was wondering if you could give me some insight.

-Whenever i use seiza posture for meditation my legs fall asleep and i feel pain in my rignht ankle.

-Is this simply a matter of stretching out my joints and persistance in seiza position which will allow me to stay in this position for long periods of time or is this simply not a good posture for suspended meditation?

-Thanks

#2 thelerner

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 09:16 AM

We sat a lot of seiza for Aikido. In 13 years I never found a way to sit in for long periods comfortably. Still I was usually good for 15 to 20 minutes before the pain then numbness started. During long meditations I'd simply grin and bear it.

If it wasn't a strict meditation period I'd shift up every few minutes to relieve the discomfort, though my Sensei's ideal was to accept it. Past the pain you're into the numb period which is easier to stand, though its pins and needles when you get up.

I was told if I'd started it as a child my veins and whatnot would have adapted and I'd be able to sit longer.

Things that help; sitting lightly, don't put your full weight down on your legs (it will ultimately happen but gently work against it). Sit as if there's a piece of rice paper between your butt and legs and you don't want to crinkle it.

One way to get the feeling of that is lift your body up before sitting seiza, then lowering it half way down, then half that, and another etc, feeling like you're never all the way down, just continually slowly lowering while keeping some space.

There are seiza benches that keep you in position. You can make them pretty cheaply. Sitting on a mat (or pillow) then having a second pillow(regular not zafu) between your legs and butt also increases comfort.

Sitting Seiza is worthwhile because it keeps a straight spine and helps with focused attention. For Westerners (& larger people) it can be hard on the knees. For longer meditations I usually do half lotus.


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#3 RyanO

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 09:36 AM

I used to meditate in this position often, but have since adapted because of the pain not during the meditation, but the coming out of the numbness afterwards. It was painful and just didn't seem healthy.

Nowadays I mostly sit in a chair (especially since I've had a recent ankle injury).

As Michael says, though, Seiza is a useful position because it is easy to stay upright. A Zafu between legs and butt is a good way to go. One thing I like doing is spreading your knees and legs so that your butt is sitting on the Zafu and the Zafu is on the ground. It is quite comfortable.

#4 OldChi

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 10:26 AM

Thanks for the insights fellas. I appreciate it.

#5 Ya Mu

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 05:42 PM

For those of you who meditate in Seiza posture i was wondering if you could give me some insight.

-Whenever i use seiza posture for meditation my legs fall asleep and i feel pain in my rignht ankle.

-Is this simply a matter of stretching out my joints and persistance in seiza position which will allow me to stay in this position for long periods of time or is this simply not a good posture for suspended meditation?

-Thanks

I used to advocate the "knee chairs" (some call them "computer chairs" or "back chairs") for this type of posture. If it hurts that is not a good thing. This posture is OK, but I like crossed leg better.

#6 ~jK~

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 07:06 PM

For those of you who meditate in Seiza posture i was wondering if you could give me some insight.

-Whenever i use seiza posture for meditation my legs fall asleep and i feel pain in my rignht ankle.

-Is this simply a matter of stretching out my joints and persistance in seiza position which will allow me to stay in this position for long periods of time or is this simply not a good posture for suspended meditation?

-Thanks


Tradition is intertwined with the culture where the tradition has developed.

From what I've read, the 'Seiza' is for formal situations where a person needs to sit, in a position easy to rise from, for only a small time when preparing tea, serving others etc.

Here's what I found on the web.

"Difficulties with the Seiza: http://en.wikipedia....za#Difficulties
Sometimes stools are provided for elderly or injured people even when others are expected to sit seiza-style. It is advisable, particularly in formal situations, to at least try to sit seiza-style. Non-Japanese who have not grown up sitting in this posture may, however, have difficulty assuming it at all. Those unfamiliar with seiza will likely find that maintaining it for more than a minute or two tends to lead to loss of circulation, with the accompanying 'pins and needles' feeling, followed by painful burning sensations, and then eventually complete numbness in the legs. However, the physical discomfort lessens with experience as the circulation of the blood improves. Experienced seiza practitioners can maintain the posture for forty minutes or more with minimal discomfort. Certain knee problems are greatly agitated when assuming this position, specifically Osgood-Schlatter disease.

Special seiza stools are available in Japan. They are folding stools, small enough to be carried in a handbag, which are placed between the feet and on which one rests the buttocks when sitting seiza-style. They allow one to maintain the appearance of sitting seiza while discreetly taking pressure off the heels and feet."
***
I took Japanese style karate also (Chito-Ryu) for about 12 years and taught it for 5 years. After I began traveling, I quit most of the practice but kept limber.
I have retained the secondary reactions etc -

Meditation, to me, takes priority over all else.
Although - I find it a bit strange that I prefer to meditate on a bus more than all other places... (I think it is the seat. :wub:

I almost forgot - the primary law of archetecture:

"Form Follows Function."

It seems, to me, to be applicable in this scenerio.

Edited by ~jK~, 27 May 2010 - 07:26 PM.

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