What do you sit on?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby daverupa » Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:37 pm

no mike wrote:
daverupa wrote:...The trick is to get your knees to rest comfortably below your hips so that your back curves properly.


Any other tips on proper back curve? I catch myself slouching forward at times.


Some of that can be caused by having the front of the deltoids more developed than the middle and back of the deltoids, which leads to a resting state with a slight forward pull on the shoulders.

---

I have a few heuristics, and maybe they're useful. First, as above, I ensure that the knees are below the hips. Then, I make sure that my ischial tuberosities are pointing downward, making subtle adjustments here based on the sitting surface. This has a direct effect on the lower back.

In my sitting posture, at this point have considered three sections: the angle between the lower and upper leg to ensure knee alignment (it didn't really come up yet, but it's very important with cushions and lotus postures, while a bench largely avoids trouble here), the angle between the sitting surface and the hips, and the angle between the hips and the knees. I consider this the base.

Now the arms: the hands rest in the lap of the base, and the line from the ears to the shoulders is allowed to lengthen by relaxing the shoulders. It is here that I pay attention to what the deltoids are doing; shrugging in different circular directions can help loosen the area. This all has a direct effect on the upper back, but here as earlier, you'll notice that my attention is on the back only indirectly; mess with the peripheral ratios and the back fixes itself while staying relatively relaxed (but being upright means it's tense to some degree no matter what, so don't think that a relaxed posture is one without some muscle tone).

The head I treat like a bowling ball which I balance over the above base in whichever way requires the least muscle tone throughout the breathing cycle, while relaxing the jaw and smoothing the brow, and otherwise gentling the muscles around the ears generally.

I then do a pass where I relax my body from the head down, settling each body part as though they were hanging ornaments on a tree that's just entered a field of gravity. In this, the tree is the spine, and the ornaments the rest of the body, the first time I consider the spine and its tone in a direct way. (If you like, the breath can be noted as a somewhat bulbous ornament at this point, and if you were paying attention to the breath the whole time anyway, you're now well on your way through the first tetrad of anapanasati.)

Anyway, these are just some of my ruminations on it. Fiddle with your dials with patient joy, eh?

:heart:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: What do you sit on?

Postby 000 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:22 am

I use 2 small throw pillows about 1.5inch thick a piece...as long as my tailbone isnt on the ground then i can sit relatively long i guess.
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Re: What do you sit on?

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:10 pm

Zafu and Zabuton.

I purchased both from Zen Home Stitchery decades ago when I was a student and it really HURT financially. One of the best purchases I made in my life considering how much use I got out of each. Both are thick and firm ( buckwheat/kapok stuffing ), very well made.

If you decided to buy a quality cushions, shop around for ones where the covering can be removed via a zipper. Eventually you will want to wash them.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: What do you sit on?

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:32 pm

A buckwheat stuffed zafu. Its quite a mess to wash the cover, putting the buckwheat hulls back in etc. But like a previous poster intimated, its possibly the best $40 i ever spent. Dividing the $40 by the approximate number of minutes i have sat on it, it has cost me .001 cents per minute of sitting. What a deal :)
Its comfortable enough and an extremely stable and solid sit.
Last edited by m0rl0ck on Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: What do you sit on?

Postby beeblebrox » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:38 pm

no mike wrote:
daverupa wrote:I primarily use a meditation bench with folding legs; it fits into a backpack. The trick is to get your knees to rest comfortably below your hips so that your back curves properly.


Thank you, this helps me understand the recommendation for the cushion to be about 3" when compressed (Bhante G/Mindfulness, if I recall). Any other tips on proper back curve? I catch myself slouching forward at times.


Hi all,

I can sit quite comfortably on the ground without any back pain, in either burmese position or half lotus. (Full lotus is still hard on my legs.) My legs usually become strained before anything else, same as with cushion. It took me a while to train... something like a year and half with stretching and consistent practice, along with trial-and-error.

I would not intentionally try to curve the back... it likely will end up with an over-compensation in the back, and that will tire out the body.

I noticed some meditators would lean forward slightly when they sit; and I also read several times some people would compare the sitting posture to a "tripod" (with the buttocks and the two knees functioning as three points of support). This seems like a bad metaphor. It feels to me like if the weight rests on all the three points equally, I end up leaning forward.

To counteract this leaning forward, in burmese or lotus, I rest my hands on the thighs before the knees. If your pelvis is set against the ground, it's impossible for you to lean over backwards, no matter how far back you put your hands on the thighs... instead your shoulders will go back, and your chest will open up. It also feels like the spine stretches out upwards.

Just set the hands on the thighs comfortably, till it feels like the body is settled in this position and feels balanced, then you can put your hands in whatever position you like, while maintaining the posture. That's what I do. It feels relaxed. I also don't sit up very stiffly like I see some people do... I just rest in my sitting.

Hope people find these useful. It's not necessary to do without cushion. In fact, I always feel a bit immodest if I sat without one and everyone else was using it, especially the monastics.

:anjali:
Last edited by beeblebrox on Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What do you sit on?

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:43 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:A buckwheat stuffed zafu. Its quite a mess to wash the cover, putting the buckwheat hulls back in etc. But like a previous poster intimated, its possibly the best $40 i ever spent. Dividing the $40 by the approximate number of minutes i have sat on it, it has cost me .009 cents per minute of sitting. What a deal :)
Its comfortable enough and an extremely stable and solid sit.


You can buy zafus now with removable, washable, outer covers.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
Jhana4
 
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:25 pm

Jhana4 wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:A buckwheat stuffed zafu. Its quite a mess to wash the cover, putting the buckwheat hulls back in etc. But like a previous poster intimated, its possibly the best $40 i ever spent. Dividing the $40 by the approximate number of minutes i have sat on it, it has cost me .009 cents per minute of sitting. What a deal :)
Its comfortable enough and an extremely stable and solid sit.


You can buy zafus now with removable, washable, outer covers.


Yeah i think i have seen those. Id actually rather just have one cover to wash instead of two.
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: What do you sit on?

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:37 pm

The inner cover is under the outer cover. It wouldn't have to be washed.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
Jhana4
 
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

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