Sitting gear?

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Sitting gear?

Post by Reductor » Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:37 am

I am curious about how everyone actually sits while in meditation. Cross legged, lotus, half lotus, other? Do you use cushions, benches, chairs, or plant your butt-cheeks flat on the floor?

I don't use any cushions and sit in half lotus. So my butt is well acquainted with my carpet. :lol:

What influenced your choices?

For me I found that I just couldn't get the cushions right and spent way to much time adjusting and readjusting. And the bench I made seemed like a burden to carry around if I wanted to go traveling or something. So I looked at how the forest monks did it, and it seemed they used almost nothing. That was going from the various photos on the net. So I sat down with nothing, and worked it all out, but it was tough canoeing at first.

So, how bout you?

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Re: Sitting gear?

Post by BlackBird » Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:38 am

Mostly confined to a chair.

I'm just starting out sitting on the floor again, usually when i'm on here. I munted my knees up a bit over the years of playing basketball.
Hopefully by gradually increasing the amount of time i spend on the floor, i'll be able to do long sits without too much pain.



How long did it take you to get it all downpat?
Last edited by BlackBird on Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sitting gear?

Post by Cittasanto » Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:02 am

I have problems with my left leg & foot so I use a T-bench, or a normal bench depending if I am at the group or not (they have some benches which can be used)
I use to and found it comfortable up to about 10/20 mins then my leg would go numb to sit on the floor in the Bodhisattva posture or I believe it is also known as the Burmese posture, when both legs are crossed and on the floor one infront of the other, I do sort of miss using this posture as I could use it anywhere but needs must be met.
Last edited by Cittasanto on Sat Sep 26, 2009 12:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sitting gear?

Post by Jechbi » Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:19 pm

For me there has been a comical progression from more to less. I started with a huge cushion that provided back support. Since then, I've found that if the spine is erect, back support is irrelevant for me.

At this stage, I try to use something that works for my body, and that is: A cushion to elevate my butt a few inches off the floor, allowing me to sit with an erect spine. If I sit straight on the floor with no cushion, my body seems to be constructed in such a way that the spine won't be erect. That's just me.

I sit Burmese style. The left knee just about touches down, but the right knee doesn't, so I usually put a small cushion underneath my right thigh, and often a smaller one under my left thigh, so that they're not hanging out there in midair. This eases the pressure on my ankles and feet. The cushions allow the body to balance without effort in a spine-erect posture. Maybe the day will come when both knees touch down, but meanwhile, I don't worry about it at all.

edit: to fix typos
Last edited by Jechbi on Sat Sep 26, 2009 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sitting gear?

Post by Ben » Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:42 pm

Up until recently I was sitting half-lotus on a small persian prayer-rug with a squashed-flat cushion that I doubled over.
Unfortunately due to some weight gain I have relented and now sit cross-legged using two cushions. One is a dense futon-style cushion and the other is the other squashed-flat cushion. and I'm also still using my prayer rug. I also use a light polar-fleece shawl especially during the cooler months.

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Re: Sitting gear?

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:48 pm


It depends where I am.

At lunchtimes in the city I sit cross-legged (or "good sitting" as they call it at my son's kinder!) on this thin grey mat which is up on a meditation bench. That's pretty good.

Yesterday, and often when on retreat I sit in a chair. Strangely, I think I seem to actually get the best results in a chair despite the fact that the chair is often made out to be a position of last resort.

Sometimes I'll sit on a couple of cushions on the couch, with a cushion under each knee. That's pretty good too.

If I must sit on the floor, eventually I'll need a back rest (preferably a wall) or I'll start getting back-trouble and sciatica, and in a retreat environment it will become a distraction.

So there you go... a real mixed bag.

No lotus positions or anything... I've never even been able to touch my toes, let alone be a contortionist!

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Re: Sitting gear?

Post by Reductor » Sat Sep 26, 2009 12:07 am

These are all very interesting. I'm a long way from any other Buddhists so I have never seen another person meditate, hence my question.

I sometimes get a little twinge in my lower back and have to adjust. As for getting this down pat, well, most days I have it, some I don't. Depending on my body I will lean more forward, or not. Place my arms more forward, or further back. My sitting position is like meditation: try, observe, try something else, at some point getting results that are good (usually).

It has been two and a half months since I started this floor sitting. The first two weeks were killer and I really pined for my stable little bench, but I am a determined sort. Stubborn some would say.

Stretching helps the legs, and you must be sure that you adjust how the top leg is sitting on the bottom - it doesn't take much to pinch a nerve. When you have the legs in place let them rest there until they're mostly comfortable. Then lean over at the waist and stretch your glutes nice and good. Then lift your butt a little off the ground and actually pull all your meat out backward so it's under your spine. Lean back slowly and allow the body for find it's center over your bum-meat. Place your arms so as to provide mechanical support, but try to keep the elbows in as much as your comfortable.

Those are my little tips.

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Re: Sitting gear?

Post by zavk » Sat Sep 26, 2009 6:05 am

This my zafu cushion (photo from recent stay at Dhammagiri hermitage in Queensland). I am fairly flexible and can manage a half-lotus easily with both knees touching the ground. I personally find it very helpful to have the knees 'anchored'. I sit towards the front of the cushion so that my buttocks are raised at an angle (you can see in the photo where the cushion has been compressed). This allows my knees to touch the ground and prevents numbness to my legs; it also helps me keep my spine straight and relaxed.


These cushion covers are cheap and I fill them with bean bag filling. (For those you in Australia, I bought it from: (" onclick=";return false;)
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Re: Sitting gear?

Post by jcsuperstar » Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:22 pm

i started with zafu/zabutan then after staying in at wat mahathat in bangkok where we sat on what was basicaly just a zabuton i switched to just sitting on the floor. i guess im half lotus sitting too.
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