getting to full lotus

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  • Fuhma
    • Jul 2024

    getting to full lotus

    Hi,

    This is my first posting in this forum. Maybe somebody else posted a similar thread before - sorry if that is the case.

    I am struggling alot with my stiff legs and hips. Full lotus is impossible for me and I am even struggling in the half lotus. What can I do to become more flexible? What stretches do you recommend? Do you know any good material (on the web or maybe some book on amazon)?

    How much do the legs become more flexible merely by sitting?

    In case nothing really helps, what alternative ways of stitting do you recommend and why?

    Thank you for your comments!

    Fuhma
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39472

    #2
    Re: getting to full lotus

    Originally posted by Fuhma
    Hi,

    This is my first posting in this forum. Maybe somebody else posted a similar thread before - sorry if that is the case.

    I am struggling alot with my stiff legs and hips. Full lotus is impossible for me and I am even struggling in the half lotus. What can I do to become more flexible? What stretches do you recommend? Do you know any good material (on the web or maybe some book on amazon)?

    How much do the legs become more flexible merely by sitting?

    In case nothing really helps, what alternative ways of stitting do you recommend and why?

    Thank you for your comments!

    Fuhma
    Hi Fuhma, and welcome again.

    I am sure that Taigu will soon be along with a comment, but be sure to watch his various videos on posture in our "Beginner's Series" (and the rest of the series too) ...

    viewforum.php?f=20

    Also, this book may be helpful ...

    viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2111

    This old thread is on some helpful yoga stretches and Lotus posture ...

    viewtopic.php?p=15434#p15434

    This is on unnecessary pain during Zazen ...

    viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2968

    But Taigu's talks during the Beginner's series are the right and best place to look.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    Comment

    • Taigu
      Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
      • Aug 2008
      • 2710

      #3
      Re: getting to full lotus

      Gassho to you Fuhma,

      We all have an idea of what perfect sitting is, full lotus and deep samadhi...and when we sit, all we meet is physical difficulty and inner mess.Well, let me put it another way, ideal practice is not practice, what you have and meet here and now is all there is, you may start a race with yourself, a competition to get everything better as you see it, but in my clouded yeyes, it is not practice, just another end gaining, another form of spiritualism materialism. Be who you are, with bounds and imperfections, take this beautiful bundle to the cushion and allow gravity and your response to it to do the job. The more you sit, the easier it is going to be. You may do some excellent yoga stuff and streching but ahain it is not practice... Many Zen teachers and priests do sit in burma these days, some on benches when they have a real physical issue, some on chairs...Don't turn the whole thing into an obscession. You see, guys like Dogen or old Japanese people had very opened hips due to their lifestyle, no chair around, another kind of food. And you were not born in old Japan, and your lifestyle has hardly anything in common with this one.
      I would recommand you to free yourself from the need to perform and become a Zen athlete. I would also invite you to practice burma as I do, Jundo often does, and many other guys around. Zen is not about meeting the criteria generated by our deluded self, Zen is meeting the real person here and now, cripple or not is not the point. Relax. Enjoy your sitting. Take care.

      gassho


      Taigu

      Comment

      • chessie
        Member
        • Jun 2008
        • 266

        #4
        Re: getting to full lotus

        Thank you, Taigu. I needed to hear this also very much. Gassho, Ann

        Comment

        • Onshin
          Member
          • Jul 2010
          • 462

          #5
          Re: getting to full lotus

          Totally agree Taigu,
          after forty-odd years of sitting lotus and half lotus my specialist told me I must not bend my knees, as in knelling and sitting cross legged. Getting used to sitting in a chair was not easy but after the Rohatsu retreat with all it's extra sitting periods I have finally got used to it. Whatever position you sit in you just need to allow it time to sort itself natually - Do nothing and all is done-.

          Gassho

          Joe
          "This traceless enlightenment continues endlessly" (Dogen Zenji)

          Comment

          • Fuken
            Member
            • Sep 2006
            • 435

            #6
            Re: getting to full lotus

            Full lotus is nice and stable, this link worked well for me: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http...g.html&h=eb79c
            Yours in practice,
            Jordan ("Fu Ken" translates to "Wind Sword", Dharma name givin to me by Jundo, I am so glad he did not name me Wind bag.)

            Comment

            • Kaishin
              Member
              • Dec 2010
              • 2322

              #7
              Re: getting to full lotus

              Originally posted by Taigu
              I would recommand you to free yourself from the need to perform and become a Zen athlete... Zen is not about meeting the criteria generated by our deluded self, Zen is meeting the real person here and now, cripple or not is not the point. Relax. Enjoy your sitting. Take care.
              It is nice to hear this... thanks!
              Thanks,
              Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
              Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

              Comment

              • Shohei
                Member
                • Oct 2007
                • 2854

                #8
                Re: getting to full lotus

                Hiyas

                Just tossing this in, as a testimonial, for what its worth, as what has already been said covers it all.

                I used to be able to sit full lotus and did so for a year or so. I got a bit heavier in weight and grew a bit in size as well and forcing full lotus simply worsened a bad knee I had from 20 years of snowboarding and other abuse.

                I hung on to this notion of "Correct and right" position and felt a bit "less" when I switched to Half lotus. I really thought I was missing something I was... the whole damn point ops:

                I sat in pain for sometime thinking I was gaining something for this suffering and I was... just more suffering

                I was kindly asked to sit just Burmese... with a foot slightly up on thigh if I could but not to even "push" that... Voila!
                I could sit basically distraction free and have since!! Now its just ALL the other distractions that come and go.

                Another key bit that helped was to not forcibly snap into any of the positions you choose but to "grow" or flow into them - Forced into position is not usually easy to maintain and will actually collapse in faster than we think! Growing into is not a guarantee of longevity in sitting but it is a much more natural way, and allows for our bodies a bit of time to adjust. Rather than forcing, and locking, just sit with our mind and body straight and every so often expand. move a bit on an outward breath.

                Now I sit the with relative ease when entering the Dharma Gate of Great Ease in the position that works best for me. I found half lotus meant I was bit off kilter to one side (depending on which leg was up on where) that provides stability and sustainability when I sit so I can keep my mind on my business - er or not .

                Please just take this for what its worth, I am not any expert in this area! Just sharing what I found worked for me (Thank you Taigu!)

                Gassho
                Shohei

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