Sitting zazen in a chair

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  • Joyo
    • Jun 2024

    Sitting zazen in a chair

    I may have to start sitting zazen in a chair. My massage therapist recommended this as I have chronic lower back problems that I am always having to manage. She said half lotus is too hard on my sacrum, Burmese was ok, chair is best. Since I spend so much time sitting, I'm thinking the chair is the way to go.

    My question is, does anyone else at Treeleaf consistently sit in a chair? Has it affected your zazen at all? What, if any, are your experiences with back problems and sitting Burmese and/or in a chair?

    (I find Burmese a bit hard, 15 min. is ok, but anything after that and it starts to hurt my back)

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today
  • Hotetsu
    Member
    • Jun 2014
    • 230

    #2
    I have scoliosis and have to use a chair on occassion when my back is in pain. I manage to do half lotus most of the time, but use a chair when the need dictates.

    Gassho

    #SatToday

    Sent from my LGMS345 using Tapatalk
    Forever is so very temporary...

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    • Cumminjd
      Member
      • May 2013
      • 183

      #3
      I have a problem with ligaments in my knee which prevents me from siting cross legged so I too use a chair! I however sit on the end so my back does not touch the chair. This helps me not get "too comfortable"

      Gassho
      James
      SatToday


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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      • Roland
        Member
        • Mar 2014
        • 232

        #4
        There are many kinds of chairs and sitting furniture: for instance there are saddle chairs and sit balls. Maybe one of those is well suited for meditation?

        Gassho

        Roland
        #SatToday

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        • Jishin
          Member
          • Oct 2012
          • 4819

          #5
          Hi,

          I have several zafus off different shapes and heights and several seiza benches also. All in the hope of finding the magical sweet spot where there is no pain. No such luck. I use one for a few days then something hurts then I move to something else. I given up on the idea of lotus, half lotus or Burmese. The best I can do is Indian style with pillows supporting each knee or seiza. And anyone who disagrees with the way I sit can...



          Gasho, Jishin

          #Sat2day seiza with itzy bitzy neck pain, pretty good for a 48 year dude

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          • Joyo

            #6
            I understand that, I sit Burmese on my bed often, with pillows supporting my back. I know this is not the traditional way, but it works. And it's better than lying down, which I find very hard to do as it puts me into zzzzzzazen.

            Gassho,
            Joyo
            sat today

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            • Mp

              #7
              Hello Joyo,

              Nothing wrong with sitting in a chair if the body is not allowing you to sit on your zafu. Be gentle to yourself. =)

              Gassho
              Shingen

              #sattoday
              Last edited by Guest; 07-25-2015, 01:48 AM.

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              • Tai Shi
                Member
                • Oct 2014
                • 3307

                #8
                Hi

                I do sit in a chair. I use a wedge shaped cushion designed for sitting in a chair, a wedge thicker in front than back. This allows me to practice "just sitting," Shikantaza without undue attention to my bone disease.

                Elgwyn
                sat today
                Gassho
                Peaceful, Tai Shi. Ubasoku; calm, supportive, for positive poetry 優婆塞 台 婆

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                • Jakugan
                  Member
                  • Jan 2013
                  • 303

                  #9
                  I've had knee problems the last few weeks and had to sit in a chair. I think I prefer to sit cross legged but I have got used to it & don't find that sitting that way would have a negative effect.

                  gassho,

                  Simon

                  sat today

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                  • Jundo
                    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                    • Apr 2006
                    • 39216

                    #10
                    A balanced, stable, comfortable position is a balanced, stable, comfortable position. Don't overly fetishize sitting cross legged. (more on that here) ...

                    Hello friends. Guess it was already asked here in the forum, though I never saw any *specific* topics on it here. Ok, so it's about the physical side of sitting. Recently, I've been sitting "kinda of" half-lotus posture. Yes, "kinda of" because I can only do ir with the right foot (nearly the half)

                    and
                    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


                    That being said, I personally like to sit in the Lotus because I find it, in my case, a balanced, stable, comfortable position. Johnson's fine book recommends finding the (ever changing) right position(s) for you, and that can include a chair ...

                    Hi, I would like to recommend a book about, and entitled, "THE POSTURE OF MEDITATION" (by Will Johnson). http://www.amazon.com/Posture-Meditation-Will-Johnson/dp/1570622329/ref=pd_sim_b_1 I believe that its philosophy of finding a sitting posture is very much as we encourage here at Treeleaf, namely, we each have


                    Our introductory "How To Sit" guide includes pointers on chair sitting ...

                    Access Google Sites with a personal Google account or Google Workspace account (for business use).


                    Gassho, J

                    SatToday (Burmese)
                    Last edited by Jundo; 07-27-2015, 03:05 AM.
                    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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                    • GregJanL
                      Member
                      • Jul 2015
                      • 52

                      #11
                      Joyo,

                      I neither own a zafu nor do I attempt lotus or burmese since it puts too much stress on my knees these days. I use a camp chair with a foldable desk attached to it for some tea. I've been to a few formal sitting sessions and there was always the chair option open.

                      The biggest thing I found stressed about the functional aspects of good physical posture is making sure you have your back straight with or without the support of a back piece on a chair for one reason, maintaining good airflow, having plenty of space for your diaphragm to do its job allowing unobstructed breathing. It's why 'comfortable, loose fitting clothing' always crops up too, it isn't to fuel attachment to comfort (which is why I suspect some get very sticky on the classic postures) but the necessity to maintain good breathing.

                      I take it as the middle way between indulgence and deprivation while sitting, making sure the function is being done correctly so you don't hurt yourself or fall asleep from a awkward posture.

                      I hope this helps you work out the kinks.

                      Metta,
                      Greg

                      Sent from my ALCATEL ONETOUCH P310A using Tapatalk
                      Last edited by GregJanL; 07-26-2015, 08:45 PM. Reason: structure, redendencies
                      “A fine line separates the weary recluse from the fearful hermit. Finer still is the line between hermit and bitter misanthrope.” - Dean Koontz

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                      • Rich
                        Member
                        • Apr 2009
                        • 2595

                        #12
                        Over the years have sat every which way due to knee, back and neck injuries. Right now a hybrid Burmese half lotus feels best.
                        The secret to lying zazen is to keep the body cold and the head warm.

                        SAT today
                        _/_
                        Rich
                        MUHYO
                        無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

                        https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

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                        • Joyo

                          #13
                          Thank you everyone. I've experimented with different ways of sitting this weekend. My back injury isn't something that is going to go away. It's chronic, and therefore, I've got to find thing(s) that work long-term. This thread has given me a lot of ideas and things to try.

                          Gassho,
                          Joyo
                          sat today

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                          • Yugen

                            #14
                            For anything beyond two hours or so I am migrating to a seated position as well. My knees and back hurt too much. I find a simple shaker style chair to work well.

                            As has been so wonderfully said here, a comfortable stable position is a comfortable stable position.

                            Deep bows
                            Yugen


                            sat2day

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                            • Joyo

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Yugen
                              For anything beyond two hours or so


                              sat2day

                              Wow, I am in awe!! I can't sit longer than about 15 min. on the cushion. Then again, I carried a 9 lb, 3 oz baby, and had 37 hrs of back labour before having an emergency c-section.....I'm guessing you've probably never had to go through that.

                              Gassho,
                              Joyo
                              sat today

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