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Full Lotus Posture and Energetic Meridians

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Came across this (relatively?) new study on the full lotus posture and the effects of it on the body's energetic meridian channels:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5433118/

 

Surprised it hasn't been shared around more in the different "spiritual"/meditative communities, altho it's somewhat understandable. A lot of weekend warrior meditator types like to downplay the significance and importance of the posture, especially because it's quite difficult for most people in today's age to get into it. 

 

From my limited understanding one's flexibility/ability to enter full lotus is directly linked to how well chi is flowing through their body and whether they have blockages etc. I've also heard that the full lotus isn't as important until the leg channels have actually opened up, however I would envision that stretching would help to achieve this/clear blockages, as opposed to simply sitting and hoping that one day you reach deeper states of meditation where the Qi makes its way through the blockages

 

In short, the study found that full lotus energizes the body after 20 minutes of sitting and increases over longer sits.

Sitting in a chair on the other hand drains one's energy overtime

 

This finding is in line with what many from the past have said and also supports what one of our fellow full-lotus loving residents here on TDB.

 

I'm not there yet with proper full lotus but I'm getting there (right knee can't quite hit the ground yet), curious if any of you guys sit in it regularly and what was your path like towards getting there?

 

Did you do yoga/stretching to get to the point of being able to sit in full lotus, or did you just focus on sitting and let your body naturally reach that point?

 

Perhaps you don't even care at all, or put it to the side like I've done for several years

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For the next study:

1) Compare with half lotus. 

2) Specify the seated position. 

One can assume that the participants had proper alignments in the lotus, the question is if they had that in the chair seated position. 

 

I don't feel energized seated in a chair either, so in that regard it was an interesting study although it had a weak Method section. 

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Posted (edited)

YES, I've made this argument many times before...but falling mostly upon deaf ears here.  Colonized (left-brained) Daoism has been reduced to a left-brain, beta state, mental exercise...instead of the original, holistic Daoism.

Quote

the process of attaining full lotus would demand releasing such tight areas, vastly increasing flexibility, and losing any excess weight - not to mention all the psychological clearing involved in all these physical changes as well..  All of which would lay a true foundation for pursuing more advanced practices later...

Quote

The traditional curriculums often include (or implicitly do by "requiring" prerequisite jibengong) a very rigorous, yoga-type, preliminary stretching/bodywork routine.  Whereas most New Agey ones COMPLETELY OMIT THAT - and jump right into all the passive, slo-mo air swimming!
But if you're wayyy too stiff to even come close to the splits...then how can you expect energy to easily pass through your body???

This is well-known in Chinese internal health culture.  But New Age Westerners don't want to hear it because then it often requires long, grueling discipline, facing and fixing your own sh*t FOR REALZ, and very delayed gratification.  And that doesn't fit neatly into fun weekend workshops!

(Not that I am saying this is absolute, and there are always exceptions to the bell curve.  But generally speaking, it is something to consider - as your study indicates.)

Edited by gendao
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, ezza said:

 

one's flexibility/ability to enter full lotus is directly linked to how well chi is flowing through their body and whether they have blockages etc. I

If you read Travell/Simmons The trigger point manual, the authors cite research stating that:

Women tend to have greater joint movement/more flexible connective tissue then men. 

The same goes for asians, then africans, then kaukasians. 

 

If this still stands, and was done in the same culture: Asian women are the most accomplished in meditation, while the kaucasian male carries a handicap in this aspect. 

 

Good for you, ladies 😁

Edited by Mudfoot
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1 hour ago, gendao said:

YES, I've made this argument many times before...but falling mostly upon deaf ears here.  Colonized (left-brained) Daoism has been reduced to a left-brain, mental exercise...instead of the original, holistic Daoism.

In a recent thread, it was argued that things like proper alignments was unnecessary. 

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1 hour ago, Mudfoot said:

Women tend to have greater joint movement/more flexible

 

Flexibility is only one indication of a lack of blockages in a specific aspect of a meridian. There are plenty of hyper-mobile people for example. They don’t have clear channels, they just have no connection through the soft tissues - just as bad as being completely stiff.

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10 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

Flexibility is only one indication of a lack of blockages in a specific aspect of a meridian. 

Just drawing a conclusion to the bitter end.... 😁 

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7 minutes ago, Mudfoot said:

Just drawing a conclusion to the bitter end.... 😁 

 

Relaxed strength is another indication.

 

I sometimes stand for hours in I Jong / Wuji posture. Most beginners can barely last 5 minutes in correct structure.

 

For me it’s quite easy and relaxing, because when I settle into the posture, it’s like  sitting into a stretchy, springy internal ‘hammock’... or trampoline... (took many years to get to this point mind you!)

 

This shows that I have a relatively more unblocked and connected internal network.

 

However I still have lots of issues to work on - because, for example, I get hot, sweaty and uncomfortable when I allow the energy to mobilise. My legs are also still contracted. So I know my channels aren’t open.

 

The deeper channels have other physiological indications that they’re open.

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6 hours ago, Mudfoot said:

it was an interesting study although it had a weak Method section. 

Yeah I myself wasn't 100% taken by the method section however I'm almost like that for any study I look at these days aha.

TBH was surprised there was even a study done on this at all, would be great for them to test out different positions too

 

4 hours ago, gendao said:

Westerners don't want to hear it because then it often requires long, grueling discipline, facing and fixing your own sh*t FOR REALZ, and very delayed gratification.  And that doesn't fit neatly into fun weekend workshops!

This seems to be a rather common issue when it comes to a foreign tradition/practice being taken on by a new culture.

 

Everything gets interpreted through that culture's lens and they then pick and choose according to the things they like/know whilst getting rid of the rest that doesn't sit well with them. Sometimes this creates a better alternative, but most other times it butches things thus resulting in a watered down version! 

 

3 hours ago, Mudfoot said:

If you read Travell/Simmons The trigger point manual, the authors cite research stating that:

Women tend to have greater joint movement/more flexible connective tissue then men. 

The same goes for asians, then africans, then kaukasians. 

 

If this still stands, and was done in the same culture: Asian women are the most accomplished in meditation, while the kaucasian male carries a handicap in this aspect. 

The link between qi flow/channels and flexibility is just something I heard in passing but I think it does make sense fundamentally. As freeform outlined you can also have the opposite though when one is too relaxed/flexible, and the Qi still can't flow because now there isn't a connection, whereas with stiffness its just a blockage/wall standing in the way

 

From my point of view, the study only states that full lotus DOES produce/result in higher energy of the meridians (as masters of past have noted that it locks the channels and keeps energy going up/through them), this doesn't necessarily mean it is the best posture.

 

Everyone has a unique physiological/genetic/energetic makeup and it could be that the Burmese, half lotus, or some other posture is best/most suitable for them at different stages of their practice. Having options to utilize and choose from postures sounds like the best approach, and of course full lotus is just that, an ideal to perhaps work towards and shoot for

 

If we're serious about our practice, meaning we'll be at this (hopefully) for more than 10 years, an investment into working towards full lotus could be worthwhile, especially as it makes one's ability to sit in any other posture for longer much easier.

 

-----

 

Drew has mentioned multiple times before that SFQ's Chunyi Lin stresses and emphasizes the ability to sit in full lotus for at least 2 hours for his higher/advanced students.

 

More recently, I've come across a Chan Buddhist lineage that emphasizes working towards sitting in full lotus for at least an hour as one of the first major milestones to work towards

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Most of the sages and saints who became awakened did not use the lotus posture, and most of the people I have seen in retreats who do are damaging themselves or have a violent approach to their practice.

Awakening does not require any particular energy patterns to occur within you, energy work is always secondary to self-recognition and transmission.

Astavakra was a sage who had rickets and his body was in extremely poor shape, no matter he is a great sage.

 

The priority is self-recognition, if your teacher does not teach it, then leave. 

He does not teach it because he does not know it.
Self-recognition is not a follow up from flow of qi - this is wrong.

Self-recognition should happen on day 1.

Only self-recognition is immortality, dying without it means you are finished and have completely failed.

 

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18 minutes ago, ezza said:

Yeah I myself wasn't 100% taken by the method section however I'm almost like that for any study I look at these days aha.

Yes, looking at research with a critical eye pays of in the long run 

18 minutes ago, ezza said:

TBH was surprised there was even a study done on this at all, 

And even though there are weaknesses, the result is still useful. 

 

Thanks for sharing it! 

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19 minutes ago, rideforever said:

 

Self-recognition should happen on day 1.

Is that a realistic approach? 

How many times does that happen? 

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, Mudfoot said:

Is that a realistic approach? 

How many times does that happen? 

 

With the teachers I study it happens every single time.
Each student has 1 to 1 meeting where both transmission and direction on how to recognize transmission is given.
Every time for every student.
Sometimes it is not so organised but still given, for instance with teachers like Mooji sort of watered down but real transmission happens with guidance on how to recognize.

However mostly it is not given because the teacher is not really a teacher.
He might say ... yes yes don't be so keen maybe in 10 years.
But it is a lie.   He will never give it because he doesn't have it, and he doesn't care.
All he cares is to have an audience.
After 10 years you will be tired, and won't care either.
Then you die, a man with many energies still dies.

 

So if one has a spiritual intent, then you must do this for yourself, if you value your life.

After you can return to any other teacher, and it doesn't really matter because you already know what you are doing.

 

Edited by rideforever

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42 minutes ago, rideforever said:

 

With the teachers I study it happens every single time.
Each student has 1 to 1 meeting where both transmission and direction on how to recognize transmission is given.
Every time for every student.

If you have Self-recognition, what further use do you have of a teacher? 

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A glimpse is useful, but it will not be stabilised or ‘expanded’ and ‘refined’ without a strong body, open channels and still mind (in that order).

 

I’ve seen many experience chasers that go to advanced teachers to soak up the transmission but walk away with no actual inner growth, just a great experience.

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5 minutes ago, Mudfoot said:

If you have Self-recognition, what further use do you have of a teacher? 

 

Much. 

Buddha sat in meditation until he died, Jesus prayed every evening many hours.
The path is the path, it is ever deeper entry.
But ... who is interested in such things.

 

Transmission is not an "experience".   It's only purpose is to facilitate self-recognition in the student.   

The state of the teacher is shared with the student.  
Experiences and big energies ... this attracts a lot of people who get what they want; nothing.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, rideforever said:

 

Much. 

Buddha sat in meditation until he died, Jesus prayed every evening many hours.

Thats practice. Not getting further transmissions from a teacher. 

 

"A person of superior virtue...  ... immediately awaken to one's fundamental Nature, there is nothing to cultivate..... 

 

Not a description of me though... 

Edited by Mudfoot
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14 hours ago, Mudfoot said:

If you read Travell/Simmons The trigger point manual, the authors cite research stating that:

Women tend to have greater joint movement/more flexible connective tissue then men. 

The same goes for asians, then africans, then kaukasians. 

 

If this still stands, and was done in the same culture: Asian women are the most accomplished in meditation, while the kaucasian male carries a handicap in this aspect. 

 

Good for you, ladies 😁

People have asked me how I was able to get into full lotus so easily. At first I thought it was because I used to do "butterfly" stretches all the time from playing soccer (football) but I only played up till 15 years old. So then I remembered - I had a very intense Shiatsu massage as a gift from a friend (who happened to have meditated with Chunyi Lin before he was even well known). So during the massage - this was very strange - I was only 26 years old and the lady literally just FIXATED on my lower back. And I'm not trying to be lewd but I had to work super hard to sublimate my energy (and this is before I knew anything about any of this stuff). haha. And after that massage I had some kind of kundalini activation.  I'm actually surprised I "survived" that meditation and maybe the lady was too. haha.

 

And anyway of course getting "energy healings" helps a huge deal - so people can get phone healings from http://springforestqigong.com or http://guidingqi.com

 

I sit in full lotus at the computer but recently someone reported really "feeling" the energy strongly - this person was female and so she had her kundalini awakened since females are yang internally. But this also creates a lot of love feeling so I just emphasized to her that the energy is impersonal from the  Emptiness (and not about me).

 

And also Jim Nance told me to sit with the left leg on top - and then as I studied - I realized this is for males with the lower body being yin and the left leg is yang. So when I sit with left leg on top then it clears out the intestines much better. Otherwise sitting with right leg on top does not really clear out the intestines.

 

So the left leg on top stores up the energy while right leg on top is more for external energy "healing."

 

So also qigong master Wang Liping states that ONLY the full lotus really deeply opens up the lower back nerve channels to really sublimate the qi. I don't know - but the qigong masters who do 49 day cave meditation fasting do so in full lotus meditation - NONstop for 49 days - no sleep!!

 

So also someone injured themselves by "forcing" themselves into full lotus - and then they even visited me in person! So they had read my rants here. And as I sat in full lotus next to them on the couch - the person exclaimed: "Your eyeballs are pulsating!" haha. Yes I knew they were - that's the qi energy going out from the pineal gland.

 

I think this person might have gone to Burma? I don't know. Sorry I forgot your name if you're still reading this website. I am not a "name" person.

 

Yes for me - if I am not in full lotus then the energy channels stiffen up pretty fast. So then I start to get concerned I won't be able to sit in full lotus anymore! So but when the channels do open up again - then the bliss increases. As Master Nan, Huai-chin states - sitting in full lotus shows the energy channels are open and it's just a foundation to deeper meditation - and also the bliss increases the more you sit in full lotus.

 

(yes this was typed while in full lotus). I actually got carpal tunel from when I worked as a relay transcriber for the DEAF community - and once my dad asked me how I dealt with the pain. And I said - I just sit in full lotus! He could not understand how sitting in full lotus would clear out the energy blockages in the tendons in my wrists. haha.

 

 

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I originally meditated in full lotus - not as a weekend warrior but 3-8 hours a day.

 

I have also meditated in half lotus - particularly when injured and a knee was delicate.

 

I have also meditated standing up and in a seated position.

 

My meditation has generally been from 3-18 hours in a single sitting.

 

My original base practice is traditional Yoga - wherein 98% of the practice is meditation and asanas are adjuncts to the meditation.

 

Qi Gong and standing meditation necessitates the opening of the leg channels far more than anything I have experienced in any other form - (though it may be that this is true for me because I came to these practices about 40years after initial practice - but I do not think this is the case).

 

It has been my experience that any of the various typical meditation postures are equally effective more or less. Certainly as one has come to Be In meditation then the differences are removed even further.

 

Distractions due to discomfort are important considerations to consider as well - and a cold blue leg is not a good thing.

 

Simple sitting meditation in a chair or standing offers up considerable advantages - the leg channels are not touching other channels or crossed. The feet are on the earth.

The back can easily be properly positioned. In uncrossed positions such as this the subtle bodies do not spin or spin far less. The hands can still be positioned to radiate upward or on what ever mudra that might be wished. And the breath is not confined particularly as might be the case for a “laughing Buddha” with a gut might experience in lotus - though this can be mitigated with a pillow easily.

 

What is entirely more important is the general posture and where the awareness is held and if one is in trance or out of trance.

 

At the end of 18 hours in a single sitting - one can be WIDE awake and very energized and embodied with the legs and bodies in light and be in no breath - or - one can have a very different set of experiences - Lotus - Half Lotus - Sitting upright in a chair - Standing - These have no big bearing though Standing Meditation can easily be argued as the most powerful on several levels. 

 

A meditator distracted by discomfort and health and health concerns such as blue legs is much better off not distracted.

 

Also - subjugation of the body is a disservice to practice. It is fine to work with and on the body - but the whole no pain no gain thing is fiction. (That is not to imply it is a cake walk - it is to imply that beating a horse may make it obey - but in de-spiriting a horse you have tossed aside a great deal and confirmed wilfulness and controlling in your nature).

 

 

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, Spotless said:

I originally meditated in full lotus - not as a weekend warrior but 3-8 hours a day.

 

I have also meditated in half lotus - particularly when injured and a knee was delicate.

 

I have also meditated standing up and in a seated position.

 

My meditation has generally been from 3-18 hours in a single sitting.

 

My original base practice is traditional Yoga - wherein 98% of the practice is meditation and asanas are adjuncts to the meditation.

 

Qi Gong and standing meditation necessitates the opening of the leg channels far more than anything I have experienced in any other form - (though it may be that this is true for me because I came to these practices about 40years after initial practice - but I do not think this is the case).

 

It has been my experience that any of the various typical meditation postures are equally effective more or less. Certainly as one has come to Be In meditation then the differences are removed even further.

 

Distractions due to discomfort are important considerations to consider as well - and a cold blue leg is not a good thing.

 

Simple sitting meditation in a chair or standing offers up considerable advantages - the leg channels are not touching other channels or crossed. The feet are on the earth.

The back can easily be properly positioned. In uncrossed positions such as this the subtle bodies do not spin or spin far less. The hands can still be positioned to radiate upward or on what ever mudra that might be wished. And the breath is not confined particularly as might be the case for a “laughing Buddha” with a gut might experience in lotus - though this can be mitigated with a pillow easily.

 

What is entirely more important is the general posture and where the awareness is held and if one is in trance or out of trance.

 

At the end of 18 hours in a single sitting - one can be WIDE awake and very energized and embodied with the legs and bodies in light and be in no breath - or - one can have a very different set of experiences - Lotus - Half Lotus - Sitting upright in a chair - Standing - These have no big bearing though Standing Meditation can easily be argued as the most powerful on several levels. 

 

A meditator distracted by discomfort and health and health concerns such as blue legs is much better off not distracted.

 

Also - subjugation of the body is a disservice to practice. It is fine to work with and on the body - but the whole no pain no gain thing is fiction. (That is not to imply it is a cake walk - it is to imply that beating a horse may make it obey - but in de-spiriting a horse you have tossed aside a great deal and confirmed wilfulness and controlling in your nature).

 

 

Quote

But sitting cross-legged [padmasana full lotus] is not samadhi: it is only the most basic technique for learning samadhi. If you can not sit cross-legged [full lotus] what else is there to talk about?

 

https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/Nan-Huai-Chin-Working-Toward-Enlightenment.pdf

Quote

When we feel comfortable as we sit in meditation, when after a little while our legs get numb, these feelings are all within the skanda of sensation. The skanda of sensation is exhausted only when we escape from these configurations of feelings.

 

So Master Nan, Huai-chin - when he gave his talks - would say how many monks here can even sit in full lotus for a week? So you want to work up to one week of non-stop full lotus meditation.

 

After that I would say then "real" meditation kicks in (Nirvikalpa Samadhi aka the Emptiness).

 

https://www.thedaobums.com/topic/6121-respect-for-full-lotus/

 

Quote

Liping says that lotus is the foundation for building a strong dantien and stove/cauldron and without this strong foundation you cannot correctly develop this in your own body. He says lotus closes the meridians in the legs and seals the yin gates (perinium, anus, sexual organs) to allow the qi to collect in our bodies during meditation. If you sit in a chair you simply won't get the same results he says.

 

Edited by voidisyinyang

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Posted (edited)

In so far as regarding meditation and its highest forms - lotus is unnecessary and completely non-essential.

 

It is fine to be a fan of it (as I was for years) and I still enjoy it from time to time and often sit in lotus at the movies. But - it should not be considered an important wall to climb in order to reach the most brilliant light.

 

It is useful for many lesser achievements and I am not talking against it - but in a scale of importance for meditation at its highest levels it is not on the scale at all. It is not important, required or integral - it simply offers some excellent benefits but is of zero necessity. 

 

Some very good teachers may have incorrectly stated otherwise and or their followers and translators but It is unequivocally not in any way necessary nor even necessarily highly advantageous to the highest states.

 

Edited by Spotless
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1 hour ago, Spotless said:

 

though Standing Meditation can easily be argued as the most powerful on several levels. 

But harder to do for longer times. 

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Posted (edited)

It is interesting to note:

 

When doing Full Lotus or Standing Meditation the legs can have difficulties - but interestingly at a certain point the legs do not go to sleep, turn blue or become inoperative - to the contrary - they are quite alive and pink and ready to resume activity with only a mild bit of flexing or none at all. 

 

Though i I cannot speak for lengthy standing meditation - but at the end of 10-15+ hours seated (full lotus, half lotus or in a chair) the legs are generally very full of energy and not 

paralized and unable to walk.

 

This is radically dependent on where one’s awareness is seated, posture and whether one is in trance or not.

Edited by Spotless
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2 minutes ago, Spotless said:

 

Though i I cannot speak for lengthy standing meditation - 

I rarely do more than an hour, so I cannot speak for that either. 

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