Preparatory stretches for Lotus / sitting

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Re: Preparatory stretches for Lotus / sitting

Postby Kabouterke » Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:47 pm

Good links... I'll have to try some of these out.

There are three things that Zen traditions typically use that might be of use to someone:
1. Makkoho exercises. This is the traditional "pre-meditation" stretching routine often recommended for Zen meditation. Just Google images the word.

2. One thing that I have very really helpful in aligning your back is to do something that my old Zen teacher taught me. Once your are seated on your cushion, fold your entire torso over towards the floor, like a plank. You can rest there for a few seconds to make your thighs loosen up. Once your head is on the floor or as close to the floor as it's going to come, put your hands and the floor and arch your back backwards (like you wanted look at the ceiling, or like the Cobra posture in yoga) without over-stretching. Once your spine feels a little looser, come back up and do the next exercise below or start meditating.

2. To get squarely centered on your cushion once you are already side and have taken care of your legs, start swinging your entire body from your lower back to your to your head in very wide arcs from left to right, like a metronome. But keep your buttocks in place. Over the course of 10-30 seconds, you make those arcs increasingly smaller until you find the center. You can also do it front to back.

There are videos of this movement all over the internet, but for some reason I can't find one now. Because of that, the next best thing is a weeble wobble advertisement from the 70's in the US. :tongue: Check out the weeble wobble at 0:17-0:18



There you go! Just a few ideas from a different tradition to give you some options :)
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Re: Preparatory stretches for Lotus / sitting

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:01 pm

manas wrote:DEAR MEMBERS, PLEASE DON'T PUSH YOUR KNEES TO THE POINT OF PAIN

Whatever you do, work with your body, not 'against' it; under professional guidance, gradually, step-by-step, and not pushing beyond pain.

You get one pair of knees per lifetime. Take care of them!

Furthermore: meditation doesn't *have* to be in full lotus, or even in half lotus, to be effective. There are plenty of ways to get ourselves sitting on the floor in such a way that our spine is erect yet comfortable. ...

... and you don't even have to sit on the floor to meditate anyway. So long as your "spine is erect yet comfortable" you can be stable, relaxed and alert, and that's really what you're looking for. Sitting in a straight chair with your feet flat on the floor can work just fine.

:namaste:
Kim
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Re: Preparatory stretches for Lotus / sitting

Postby Kabouterke » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:34 pm

Kim OHara wrote:... and you don't even have to sit on the floor to meditate anyway. So long as your "spine is erect yet comfortable" you can be stable, relaxed and alert, and that's really what you're looking for. Sitting in a straight chair with your feet flat on the floor can work just fine.

:namaste:
Kim


True, true, true. A straight and erect spine is the essential ingredient, IMO. However, half lotus, and especially full lotus, pull your hips forward and out which kind of "locks" the natural curve of your lower back in place, giving the rest of the back the natural support that it has when standing up. I can really feel the difference.

If you can do any of the "lotuses" I say go for it... but definitely don't stress your knees trying to get into those positions like I did when I was stupid and a teenager. It's better to work slowly up to it, if you can, rather than to have to stop meditating for a few weeks to let your knees heal! Been there, done that.
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Re: Preparatory stretches for Lotus / sitting

Postby Mkoll » Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:20 am

Friends,

The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga by Bernie Clark is the best I've found in regards to stretching. Stretches are not demanding of the musculature (like in many hatha yoga asanas) and are held for much longer. One is encouraged not to cause pain but to only go to an "edge" that can be held for a long period until the body begin to release, then to push to a new "edge", repeating the process. I can't recommend the book highly enough and the author has a website with free instructional videos and articles.

:namaste:

James
Peace,
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