Intro to Meditation Class

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

Post by BDS » Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:43 am

At the meditation centre I practice at, the general format for the weekly "Introduction to Meditation" session is 20min of sitting meditation followed by 10min of walking meditation, followed by 20min of sitting meditation. We then do so some chanting and dhamma discussion.

At least one of the older students has told me that they find breaking up the sitting meditation with walking meditation and then sitting again is quite painful because of arthritis etc.

Ive only ever visited one other monastery, and they only did sitting meditation as a group and for the whole 45min-hour. Any walking meditation was generally done on one's own time. I personally found the longer sitting mediation sessions to be more beneficial to my practice but I would like input from others before making any requests.

My question is whether I should approach the Bhikku at the centre about changing the format to make it more welcoming to people of all ages. Do other people also find it painful breaking up the meditation like this or is it just the one person that Ive spoke to?

The other issue is that as the class size grows, it may get to a point where walking meditation becomes quite cramped.

Dinsdale
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Re: Intro to Meditation Class

Post by Dinsdale » Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:52 pm

BDS wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:43 am
My question is whether I should approach the Bhikku at the centre about changing the format to make it more welcoming to people of all ages. Do other people also find it painful breaking up the meditation like this or is it just the one person that Ive spoke to?
The older Buddhists I know welcome a chance to stretch their legs. ;)
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Sam Vara
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Re: Intro to Meditation Class

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:08 pm

BDS wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:43 am
At the meditation centre I practice at, the general format for the weekly "Introduction to Meditation" session is 20min of sitting meditation followed by 10min of walking meditation, followed by 20min of sitting meditation. We then do so some chanting and dhamma discussion.

At least one of the older students has told me that they find breaking up the sitting meditation with walking meditation and then sitting again is quite painful because of arthritis etc.

Ive only ever visited one other monastery, and they only did sitting meditation as a group and for the whole 45min-hour. Any walking meditation was generally done on one's own time. I personally found the longer sitting mediation sessions to be more beneficial to my practice but I would like input from others before making any requests.

My question is whether I should approach the Bhikku at the centre about changing the format to make it more welcoming to people of all ages. Do other people also find it painful breaking up the meditation like this or is it just the one person that Ive spoke to?

The other issue is that as the class size grows, it may get to a point where walking meditation becomes quite cramped.
Different monasteries and meditation centres will have different arrangements and usually good reasons to support them. As Dinsdale has said, for many people, it is the sitting still for longer periods which they find difficult, and the walking sessions might be included because they help one to incorporate mindfulness into everyday life. My advice would be to accept the format as it is, gain whatever benefits from it that you can, and then if you still prefer longer sittings you can do them as a private practice at home.

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mikenz66
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Re: Intro to Meditation Class

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:10 pm

I usually do some walking before sitting, and if I'm doing long sessions I alternate with something like half an hour of each. Walking is valuable in building up energy, especially if you make a serious attempt to keep the continuity between walking and sitting, i.e. be very mindful of the movements at the transition.

I know some think of walking as "just a break", but for me it is an essential part of the package.

:heart:
Mike

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rightviewftw
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Re: Intro to Meditation Class

Post by rightviewftw » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:04 am

My guess is that it is done because 40 minute sitting meditation is actually a lot for many and many would really want to shift posture after 20 minutes.
I assume that splitting up walking and sitting, in this order, equally (25+25) would be a popular option and standing posture is also an option.

Shifting postures mindfully is quite difficult and is a practice in itself really, i recall the story of the Venerable Ananada attaining Arahantship in neither one of the Four Postures as he was mindfully switching to lying posture, attaining Arahantship before his head hit the floor (that's how i remember it anyway, poorly that is).

Mindful prostration is a great "dynamic" practice as well.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Intro to Meditation Class

Post by Kim OHara » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:44 am

Dinsdale wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:52 pm
BDS wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:43 am
My question is whether I should approach the Bhikku at the centre about changing the format to make it more welcoming to people of all ages. Do other people also find it painful breaking up the meditation like this or is it just the one person that Ive spoke to?
The older Buddhists I know welcome a chance to stretch their legs. ;)
That has been my experience, too.
Also, many beginners don't get much extra from a session longer than 20 minutes because they can't sustain their focus. For them, the walking meditation really will be a break from meditation - hopefully without losing too much focus - and the second sit can then be useful.

:namaste:
Kim

JohnK
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Re: Intro to Meditation Class

Post by JohnK » Fri Mar 02, 2018 1:37 am

BDS wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:43 am
...I personally found the longer sitting mediation sessions to be more beneficial to my practice...
Welcome!
Just something to consider: One does not always know what it more beneficial. It Is at least possible that what is most beneficial would be to let go of your preference and follow the instructions (w/o fabricating a situation and a self that should fix it).
I don’t mean any offense — I find things like this useful to consider. Feel free to ignore if not applicable.
:anjali:
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

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