Gyon

Sitting meditation not comfortable

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Hi,

 

I am new on this forum so i might be repeating an old topic. I am really trying hard to be comfortable during sitting meditation. I have been sitting on a pillow but probably on a wrong one. today i invested in a meditation cushion so hopefully it will help. My problem is the I get backache, I catch myself collapsing and my left leg goes numb and i need to straighten once in 1 hour. I usually mediate for 1 hour and would like to be able to concentrate on other things than my leg going numb or my back is aching or feeling uncomfortable. At time i do manage but not usually takes 30 min to get there. any expert tips how to make meditation more comfortable? I understand lying down isnt an option?

 

thank you

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You should not start from sitting because your qi of legs not open yet. You should start from moving gung 動功

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I have been doing it for a while now and have completed my orbits. I do spontaneous qi gong with a master so I am at the right level doing sitting meditation. 

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half lotus. without back support. though at times when i have to straighten leg (only left goes numb), i rest my back against a bed.

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Sitting on the edge of my bed or a chair is how i meditate, this works well and forces you to align in a comfortable way. Making sure the whole musculature of the body is in equilibrium via doing daily stretching routines like Sun Salutations is deeply valuable. 

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( this is from discussion from one of my teachers)

 

"Westerners are not trained from the birth to sit on the floor. Thus, when they start meditating, especially past their youth ( meaning their knees are not so strong), it causes them a lot of issues. Easterners sit on the floor all the time. Thus, you should not feel bad or guilty if you can't "sit". Find a way to sit comfortably, just keep your spine straight ( energy flow), chair is fine, pillows, cushions, whatever works for you. There should be no tension in your body. If you notice there is a tension, you should breath into it, if it does not pass, and you feel pain, you need to change your position. 

 

...

Please understand, when you get into meditation, you won't be feeling your body in its normal sense. You can get into trance and stay there for 9 minutes or 9 hours. If you have pain, especially sharp physical one, you have to listen to it. 

 

...

Yes, some schools make you sit through everything no matter what. I think it comes on later stages of training, I would not recommend new comers to do this. It's a gradual process. System shock is not good."

 

There are:

1. Laying Meditation

2. Sitting Meditation

3. Standing Meditation

4. Walking Meditation

 

Perhaps you can explore other methods as well if sitting is hard for you? But I think at 30 min you are good. Why do you need to meditate longer? What are you seeking there? If you do have a purpose/reason, then you need to train your body. 

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Hi,

 

I am new on this forum so i might be repeating an old topic. I am really trying hard to be comfortable during sitting meditation. I have been sitting on a pillow but probably on a wrong one. today i invested in a meditation cushion so hopefully it will help. My problem is the I get backache, I catch myself collapsing and my left leg goes numb and i need to straighten once in 1 hour. I usually mediate for 1 hour and would like to be able to concentrate on other things than my leg going numb or my back is aching or feeling uncomfortable. At time i do manage but not usually takes 30 min to get there. any expert tips how to make meditation more comfortable? I understand lying down isnt an option?

 

thank you

 

You should learn to open and close your joints and let the energy circulate even while seated in cross-legged posture. If you build up your sitting practice gradually (sit only 15 mins at a time, slowly, i.e. every 2 weeks, building up to 20-25-30 and so on) , with regular joint opening/closing, i think the circulation problem will go away. 

 

Also, consider using a meditation cushion or a folded blanket (I think raising your butt 3-4" above the ground is sufficient) to relieve pressure from the joints in the legs as well.

Edited by dwai
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Try using the burmese position, it is just as good as half lotus imo, and there is no pinching of nerve and blood vessels. 

 

Secondly I suggest you integrate Zhan Zhuang (standing Qigong) into your regimen. It realigns your whole posture so that sitting upright is EZ PZ for your spine. 

Edited by Deltrus

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Hi,

 

I am new on this forum so i might be repeating an old topic. I am really trying hard to be comfortable during sitting meditation. I have been sitting on a pillow but probably on a wrong one. today i invested in a meditation cushion so hopefully it will help. My problem is the I get backache, I catch myself collapsing and my left leg goes numb and i need to straighten once in 1 hour. I usually mediate for 1 hour and would like to be able to concentrate on other things than my leg going numb or my back is aching or feeling uncomfortable. At time i do manage but not usually takes 30 min to get there. any expert tips how to make meditation more comfortable? I understand lying down isnt an option?

 

thank you

Lol, welcome to the club.  Reality is, you will probably need about 15 years to release all your muscles enough to be able to meditate comfortably in full lotus...

article-1085707-006A4CFE00000258-904_468

In China, this was originally accomplished with years of grueling physical jibengong well before any meditation practice.  But this prerequisite practice was discarded in the WEIRD West due to their need for always isolating the "active ingredient" and instant gratification here.

meditateday5.jpg

As a result, results tend to vary...

 

Look folks, this guy is even doing stretching as part of his Wim Hof routine... 

Whereas by comparison, it's just weird that in "Americanized" Daoism, all the focus seems to be on (moving) internal martial arts or (still) meditating circuits open - but with very little emphasis on working your flexibility open.  In fact, any particular postures themselves seem to be vastly underestimated and dismissed as very unimportant.  Especially ones that are more difficult to achieve.

 

And yet, time and again, meditators then complain about how much sitting meditation strains them! :lol:

Edited by gendao
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There is almost no difference between full lotus, half lotus, simply cross legged, sitting in a chair or standing.

 

I started with full lotus and did many 1 - 18 hour sessions.

 

It is more important to be In meditation than in discomfort in a "perfect position" which is more concept than reality.

 

You may find that cushion height of around 6-9 inches better than the regular 4".

 

Definitely move a leg from time to time if needed - it is not necessary to suffer a stroke from a deep blue leg that has gone completely cold and numb in order to "get past the pain".

 

The full lotus is as misunderstood and over rated as semen retention.

 

The main component physically is a straight back, chin slightly tucked and tounge to top of mouth as though you just said the word bite, jaw relaxed. If you are in a group that teaches certain dogmas regarding lotus vs half or seated - tip your hat to the dogma but sit in comfort with pink legs not blue.

 

As you meditate more and more the leg issues will become less and less. Particularly after a few hours. If you are meditating IN the body and out of trance such issues will resolve themselves fairly quickly.

 

Standing meditation is arguably the most effective position so do not disregard it.

 

Sitting in a big chair with cushions and water and a blanket next to you is an excellent place to practice everything. You can be in full lotus until your body would like to go to half lotus or feet on the floor - with a simple adjustment it is done. The Gods don't keep score.

 

If for some reason you need to let the cat out or answer the door or take a pee - just do it and be with it and then gently resume - no resistance - no sweat.

 

If you have what you need when you start and you happen to go into the late night or next day and need a blanket or a sip of water or a Kleenex- start with them and you will need nothing.

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wow guys thank you for all your feedback. I will certainly try out some of these. my meditation cushion arrived yesterday and already found it much better. just need to try different things to find what is right.

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Regarding hand mudras - it is best not to do mudras unless you understand them and then specifically wish to do them.

Simply open palms up on each knee or hands in zen pose is fine.

 

In lotus with feet and hands both palms up it is quite nice - it is a very bright pose.

In the full sitting position with feet on the floor and palms resting open on the knees many energies can move easily and in comfort and awakeness - this is a very powerful open position.

In standing meditation their is great power and connection to all energies - it is arguably the most powerful and beneficial of all.

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I'm not pushing the full lotus, but I've committed to doing it safely and effectively. It has been more than 2 years of work, with more than 30 minutes per night of prep stretching and sitting. I worked up from less than 5 minutes to more than 20 minutes 100% pain free. I can go longer some times too. I used to feel the tension/pain in the knees, now that is gone. I've begun to feel it in the hips now that I've managed to open them deeper. But to echo what the others have said, it is very difficult and quite an endeavor. Despite the progress I've made, It will takes YEARS of work ahead of me.

 

Along the way, it has helped me sit longer in Burmese and half lotus.

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Tips for those wishing to do full lotus in comfort:

 

When sitting in regular situations - have one leg as high up on your lap as is comfortable as though it was in the lotus position.

When it has gone to sleep switch.

 

When stretching on the floor extend one leg out in front of you then bend and place the other as much as you can in the lotus position - as high as possible - such as foot touching your belly. Then gently lean forward attempting to touch your toes with the hand that corresponds to the straight leg. Next attempt to touch your toes with the other hand.

 

When possible sit in lotus when simply sitting. I often watch movies in the theater in full lotus - the arms in most theaters raise up and out of the way. Obviously if the theater is packed this might not be the best time - I see most movies in the daytime during the week when room is no issue.

 

A cushion is a big help if you are just getting to the point of a full lotus and indeed it is a big help if you have any back issues. When I was younger I did not use a raising cushion and once again it seems unnecessary, but for quite a few years in between I preferred a 6 - 9 inch cushion - this is primarily related to how limber you are and the condition of your back.

 

Many times throughout the day you may be able to pull up one leg and rest it on your lap with the bottom of the foot resting up and near your belt - this will greatly speed up things and it is good maintenance for staying limber in this.

Edited by Spotless
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For many beginners, a loose 'indian' sitting style is better, ie sitting on a zafu, a blanket infront, keeping the legs further out, not resting on each other.  Can help.

 

When you start you can put the zafu against the wall and lean on it as necessary.  After decades of sitting motionless, I've found as per Stillness Movement style, that a slight continuous bobbing motion helps me sit longer (in half lotus) without legs going to sleep or feeling uncomfortable.

 

Like anything else, use aids, as needed and grow gradually.  Stretching the time a bit each week.  Or there's the painful martial art way.  Sit seiza, ie on your knees, on a wooden floor, while listening to long lectures on how tough the early karatekas (or Aikidoists) used to be, powered by peer pressure and ego :)

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From my experience with both meditation and kundalini yoga.... all that is important is that your spine is straight. This is an issue for me as I have a curved spine from 20 years of computing at a chair slouched.

 

In KY she told us it will hurt but to get through the pain...but this coming from a lightweight woman who did 5 years of hatha yoga before K yoga and sometimes gets us to get up from full lotus to on feet in one movement ie jumping from lotus to on feet in one go... I don't even attempt that... but the fact she can do that as well as full splits tells me she doesn't understand what posture pain is.

Many people who have done 7+ day silent meditations tell me it REALLY hurts but 4-5 days in the pain leaves.

 

Make sure you take enough magnesium and zinc. Even trying full lotus will use muscles you never used before.

 

My first K session was 5 hours long and the day later I couldn't get out of bed, everywhere ached, but good ache, when you ache you know you have progressed...

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This isn't a thread about full lotus per se. But since it has gotten more attention, you should avoid doing it in public places. I think you had another thread about celibacy too. The energy flows of the full lotus are helpful in transmuting that energy. In public places, and especially when you are starting out, it is very easy for the energies of other people to get drawn into the flows that this asana creates. That is very bad news because it makes you into a repository for sick energy that exists in the environment.

 

If you have a good foundation in the practice, you might be open enough that things can pass through you without causing problems. But, again, doing it publicly is never ideal. Likewise, if you can't sit in full lotus yet, this means that the meridians are also not open. So, at this point, sitting in the asana publicly is not good advice since it will bring in energies that will probably get stuck and make you sick.

 

You can practice and stretch intermittently, but it is better to avoid sitting that way when other people (especially people without refined energy) are around. The flows, up from the perineum and out through the crown strengthen a torus-shaped field and it blends with energy in the environment. It is advisable to sit this way only in places that are energetically very clean.

 

Edit: spelling.

You can protect against this by grounding though.

 

 

A universal White Light Protection Technique

You can do this technique pretty much anytime, anyplace, (Except driving or operating equipment) and with practice, in a few seconds. The idea is to not be affected by other's nagativity and to not affect others with your own negativity.

Start with three deep breaths to fill and empty your lungs inhaling by the nose, exhaling by the mouth.

Inhale fully.

Exhale, letting your lungs fall empty

Inhale fully,

Exhale

Inhale

Exhale...haaaaaaaaa

Picture, imagine or visualise a ball of white light above your head, and imagine it or see it with your mind growing to the side of a basketball or beachball. This can be the white light light of God, the white light of Christ, or any belief system that you may have, (including none) so long as the light is white. If you have trouble imagining white, picture a cloud or a fridge door - a white one.

Now take some of the white light down the right side of your head, out over the right shoulder, down the right arm and past the hip down the right leg, the right knee, the right ankle, then under your feet. Continue and come up the left side passing your left ankle, left knee, left thigh, left hip, left arm, over the left shoulder left side of your head, until you reach the top of your head. That makes your first layer of protection for you.

Once again, take some more of the white light down the right side of your head, out over the right shoulder, down the right arm and past the hip down the right leg, the right knee, the right ankle, then under your feet. Continue and come up the left side passing your left ankle, left knee, left thigh, left hip, left arm, over the left shoulder left side of your head, until you reach the top of your head. That makes your second layer of protection for you.

Third and last time, take the rest of the white light from the ball down the right side of your head, out over the right shoulder, down the right arm and past the hip down the right leg, the right knee, the right ankle, then under your feet. Continue and come up the left side passing your left ankle, left knee, left thigh, left hip, left arm, over the left shoulder left side of your head, until you reach the top of your head.

That completes an effective form of spiritual protection for you.

Try it once to three times a day at first and see if it makes any difference for you.

With practice and repeated use, once a day can be plenty.

This exercise is safe for anyone whether they are in crisis or not, likely compatible with any mental illnesses where someone can still read this text.

For Kundalini users. This can be considered an initial first step that you ALWAYS do before working in any way with your or someone else's Kundalini.

It's also very useful for energy workers, massage therapists, therapists, etc who are working at helping people through their difficult moments.

Thanks to my teacher Denis Wilson for bringing this technique from India in the late 50's. Each of his guided meditations starts with this method.

This technique belongs to everybody. Use it.

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Perhaps try sitting near a wall or sofa for a time, to give yourself some back support as your body grows accustomed to the sitting.  Then after some weeks, move to the center of the room and see if that helps.

 

Are you stretching before you sit?  I always stretch and warm up the kidneys prior to sitting and that helps.

In my case I warm up and lubricate the ankles, knees, hips, spine, neck and shoulders.  Arms have never been an issue.

 

Either way, eventually your body should adjust and you will experience relaxation in the form you are using.

 

Here's wishing you good sitting mate.

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Hi,

 

I am new on this forum so i might be repeating an old topic. I am really trying hard to be comfortable during sitting meditation. I have been sitting on a pillow but probably on a wrong one. today i invested in a meditation cushion so hopefully it will help. My problem is the I get backache, I catch myself collapsing and my left leg goes numb and i need to straighten once in 1 hour. I usually mediate for 1 hour and would like to be able to concentrate on other things than my leg going numb or my back is aching or feeling uncomfortable. At time i do manage but not usually takes 30 min to get there. any expert tips how to make meditation more comfortable? I understand lying down isnt an option?

thank you

Walking meditation:

 

http://www.wildmind.org/walking/overview

 

They also give specific advice about how to do it correctly.

 

Also:

 

https://youtu.be/gR2vX4Wr-5I

 

Even though they are Buddhist sources anyone, regardless their personal beliefs, will benefit from walking meditation.

 

 

50/50. Sit, walk, sit, walk. Increase time for each abut every day. Start with 15 min the very first time.

 

Hope this helps :)

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Does anyone know why sometimes I have restlessness during meditation?

 

What is restlessness?

 

Do you mean you have a lot of thoughts when you are meditating?

 

If you mean this, it is normal.

 

Unless you combine the lead and mercury, you will have a lot of thoughts when meditating.

Edited by awaken

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Does anyone know why sometimes I have restlessness during meditation? 

 

Could be because your body wants to make a mudra

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From my experience with both meditation and kundalini yoga.... all that is important is that your spine is straight. This is an issue for me as I have a curved spine from 20 years of computing at a chair slouched.

 

In KY she told us it will hurt but to get through the pain...but this coming from a lightweight woman who did 5 years of hatha yoga before K yoga and sometimes gets us to get up from full lotus to on feet in one movement ie jumping from lotus to on feet in one go... I don't even attempt that... but the fact she can do that as well as full splits tells me she doesn't understand what posture pain is.

 

Many people who have done 7+ day silent meditations tell me it REALLY hurts but 4-5 days in the pain leaves.

 

Make sure you take enough magnesium and zinc. Even trying full lotus will use muscles you never used before.

 

My first K session was 5 hours long and the day later I couldn't get out of bed, everywhere ached, but good ache, when you ache you know you have progressed...

So unlike most of her students in far more pain...she preceded her Kundalini yoga with enough years of Hatha yoga to gain the flexibility to jump right out of full lotus up onto her feet.  In short, she didn't start "qigong" until she was able to pass the physical litmus test of "hands free" full lotus first.

 

So, why she doesn't also advise this basic sequence to her students is puzzling...  Maybe because then she'd have no students left? :lol:

Edited by gendao

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I sit for 40 minutes in the full lotus in the morning, and after many years I'm happy to report that it's mostly without pain or significant numbness.  Hoping to find myself with zero numbness all the time soon.

 

In one of his books, Red Pine visits a monastery where they sat 30 minutes, then 45, then 60, then 90, in alternation.  I've read that in many Rinzai monasteries, they sit 25, whereas in Soto it's usually 40.  I'm not sure how accurate that is.  At Antaiji, they apparently do a 5-day sesshin once a  month, sitting 50 minutes and walking 10 for 14 periods a day (at least, Shohaku Okumura reports that was the routine of his teacher Uchiyama).

 

I think there was a student of Chunyi Lin on this forum who reported that he advised anyone with the thought of becoming a healer to sit 2 hours in the full lotus every day.

 

All of this is to say that you might want to experiment with how long you are sitting.

 

In my experience, the lotus is about the pivots of the sacrum, and the way that the weight of the body induces involuntary activity in response to the stretch of ligaments and fascia.  You probably know what Gautama the Buddha was talking about, when he spoke of the cessation of ease apart from equanimity--that would be the moment when the ligaments and fascia alternate in stretch through involuntary activity, continuously.   That kind of  stretch/activity aligns the vertebrae to allow feeling to the surface of the skin, allows the "nondirection of mind" and the cessation of happiness apart from equanimity.

 

Fundamentally, the movement of breath acts, and the sense of self-location rests with equalibrioception, proprioception, graviception, and oculoception.

Edited by Mark Foote
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