Need Tips to sit in Full Lotus & Hand Mudra question

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  • shikantazen
    Member
    • Feb 2013
    • 361

    Need Tips to sit in Full Lotus & Hand Mudra question

    I am currently sitting in Burmese position. Sometimes I do half lotus with minor pain (when left leg is up). I have sat in full lotus a few times and every time I end up with more leg pain and sometimes even pain in left side of the neck. But I find the half lotus and full lotus seem to bring an immediate stillness and sense of calm to the body. I need some tips on how you went from burmese or half lotus to full lotus. Are there any exercises or yoga postures?

    Second question on hand mudra: I read somewhere that the middle knuckles should overlap when we place hand mudra. I see that some teachers do sit that way while others don't. I find doing that a bit uncomfortable. I usually bring my hands together till my thumbs touch slightly and leave like that. It is more relaxed and feels more natural. what do you suggest

    gassho,
    sam
  • Juki
    Member
    • Dec 2012
    • 771

    #2
    Hello,

    There is nothing wrong with sitting Burmese, sitting Seiza or sitting in a chair. I am a yoga teacher, and I sit Burmese or occasionally half-lotus. The problem with leg pain in lotus or half lotus generally traces back to the fact that, for most men, we do not have a lot of natural hip flexibility. Women have more natural flexibility in both the hips and hamstrings, and they can find the lotus positions easier.

    There are many, many yoga exercises for the hips. Pigeon. The Dragon Series. Gomukasana. Even Butterfly pose helps the hips somewhat. Brad Warner has drawings of most of these positions on his site.

    the hips do NOT stretch quickly in men. It will take about a year of dedicated yoga practice just to achieve a good degree of flexibility. In the process, if you try to force yourself into lotus too early, you are only going to blow out one or both knees. Be careful.

    gassho,
    william
    Last edited by Juki; 10-25-2013, 02:57 PM.
    "First you have to give up." Tyler Durden

    Comment

    • Hans
      Member
      • Mar 2007
      • 1853

      #3
      Hello Sam,

      regarding your first question:

      1: Make a 1-3 year plan to give yourself some realistic time frame for developing the ability to sit in Full Lotus (whether one should try so hard to be able to do it is a different topic).

      2: Join a real life Yoga class for a few months and ask the teacher to show you (in a non rushed way) what exercises you should do and how you should do them to open the hips more over a period of time.

      3: Create a habit of performing these exercises repeatedly, but do not overdo them.

      4: Take visual internet advice with a grain of salt. Unless you are in deep financial trouble, joining a Yoga class should not be an issue if you are serious about the Full Lotus. I am only saying this because I know a lot of people who go on about not having any money for dharma or general religious activities, but somehow they always have enough money to be able to spend 80 dollars on a concert ticket.

      Gassho,

      Hans Chudo Mongen
      Last edited by Hans; 10-25-2013, 02:48 PM.

      Comment

      • Kyonin
        Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
        • Oct 2010
        • 6739

        #4
        Hi, Sam!

        I mainly sit in burmese, but I am slowly working towards achieving full lotus. 10 minutes before sitting I practice this yoga video and it's been great help.

        Right now I can do half lotus with less pain than before.

        Hope it's useful for you too:

        Open your hips, develop the flexibility necessary for lotus posture Padmasana - and sit more comfortably in any cross-legged position. Aruna and Sukadev inst...


        Gassho,

        Kyonin
        Hondō Kyōnin
        奔道 協忍

        Comment

        • Shohei
          Member
          • Oct 2007
          • 2854

          #5
          Hi Sam,
          I went from full lotus, to half to burmese!
          If you are experiencing pain then there is no point! Nothing special in the way you sit, exactly.

          You can of course just sit Burmese as always and still do yoga for the exercise and flexiblity.

          What I will say is any stillness you find quickly in lotus can be found in any posture that is comfortable and stable. Then again stillness is not found in any position, its in your all in your head.
          Taigu has a great vid (actually few in a series)on this subject:



          (the whole series of vids are found here)
          On mudra yeah, hand over lapping and thumbs touching lightly.
          click image to enlarge
          kesastitchesmudra.jpg

          Gassho

          Shohei

          Comment

          • Mp

            #6
            Hey there Sam,

            Some great advice here for sure. Me, I sit either half-lotus or burmese ... most times my physical body tells me which way I will be sitting, so I go with that. I too do yoga for all sorts of reasons, but it has helped in doing zazen as it opens the hips and keeps things from getting to tight. It most cases ... I just listen to my body ... it too is a great teacher.

            Gassho
            Shingen

            Comment

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

              #7
              The mudra shown above is not specifically mine , it is a seal that has been transmitted through generations of teachers, it is the mudra of Nishijima, Deshimaru, Sawaki Kodo, Daishi, Menzan, Keizan, Dogen, Nyojo, Eno, Daruma, Nagarjuna, Shakyamuni and beyond...
              The stitches above are not mine , they are the stitches you have been lazy about and that are sewn by the people preparing for jukai and tokudo in the THREE times.

              SO THIS MUDRA IS NOT YOURS EITHER!!!

              Please respect it , you cannot leave it like that, you have to takecqre of it, confortable or not, Until after years or centuries of practice, you finally understand it, that is to say you become not one not two with it.

              As to the lotus, follow Mongen pointers, Hans is an excellent voice and a very good guide.

              Take care

              Gassho

              T.
              Last edited by Taigu; 10-26-2013, 01:30 AM.

              Comment

              • shikantazen
                Member
                • Feb 2013
                • 361

                #8
                Thank you all for all the helpful advice and links

                Gassho
                Sam

                Comment

                • Tiwala
                  Member
                  • Oct 2013
                  • 201

                  #9
                  Hello,

                  I have a similar question.

                  My leg often falls asleep with full lotus after some 20 mins. I don't think this is an issue of flexibility though. Anyone have a solution?

                  Gassho, Ben
                  Gassho
                  Ben

                  Comment

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

                    #10
                    Keep doing it for twenty or thirty years, might go might not,

                    Solution? Maybe not being so focused on your legs falling asleep or not.

                    Something like that,

                    Gassho,

                    T.

                    Comment

                    • Jiken
                      Member
                      • Jan 2011
                      • 753

                      #11
                      Some really good advice here especially about taking it slow. I used to sit in full lotus, half and burmese. Very stable positions. It ended up being really painful but stubbornness and determination got me through it. In the end I had to have knee surgery and I believe that my "forcing it" was a contributing factor to my knee problems (as well as a lifetime of sports). I now sit seiza but also have sat in a chair out of necessity. In the end it was a great learning experience for me. - letting go of the idea of this is the position the buddha sat in and thinking it was the "only way".

                      That being said don't give up and good luck.

                      Gassho,

                      Daido

                      Comment

                      • RichardH
                        Member
                        • Nov 2011
                        • 2800

                        #12
                        Once you get into the full lotus, you might not be able to get out of it. Then you have to learn to walk with your hands, dragging your legs around like a useless pretzel. It's a sorry sight.

                        Gassho
                        Daizan

                        Comment

                        • Jishin
                          Member
                          • Oct 2012
                          • 4819

                          #13
                          It took me 46 yeas of a lot of hard work to achieve the degree of flexibility I have. I will be disappointed if I can't do the full lotus in 47 years. :-)

                          Gassho, John
                          Last edited by Jishin; 10-26-2013, 02:13 PM.

                          Comment

                          • ZenHarmony
                            Member
                            • Feb 2012
                            • 315

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Taigu
                            Solution? Maybe not being so focused on your legs falling asleep or not.
                            *Some* of us (with diabetes) don't have the luxury of not focusing on whether our legs fall asleep or not, since that way leads to amputation.

                            Gassho,

                            Lisaq

                            Comment

                            • Jundo
                              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                              • Apr 2006
                              • 39075

                              #15
                              Originally posted by ZenHarmony
                              *Some* of us (with diabetes) don't have the luxury of not focusing on whether our legs fall asleep or not, since that way leads to amputation.

                              Gassho,

                              Lisaq
                              Then don't sit that way! Find a way that is balanced, comfortable and HEALTHY!

                              It is my view that the Full Lotus is best suited to skinny Yogis and thin legged ancient Asians ...



                              ... though even many of them seemed to prefer the Half Lotus or Burmese ...



                              Gee, I guess one could also sit like this if suiting one's body!!!!!!

                              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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