Sunday, September 27, 2009

How to grow a Lotus

When I first started Zen, I would sit in Seiza, a position most people judge uncomfortable, but suits me because I have practiced it for years in various Japanese Martial Arts.

Seiza, with the help of a Zafu or bench is a good position, because the Thighs make a wide angle with the Spine (the knees are below the tail bone) , and this allows for deep abdominal breathing. Most of the pain in Seiza comes from the ankles that are hyper-extended. This is why it is good to let the toes be a little lower than the rest of the foot, for example by sitting with the feet sticking out of the mat.

After the last Sesshin in Atlanta, I realized I could seat cross legged ! I had never thought it could happen, because of previous injuries, mostly to my left knee. But then, here I was...

Who knows, I might one day be able to sit in Lotus ? Is Lotus better ? Probably. Because the knees are further apart, the position is more stable, and breathing is also enhanced (There is more room for the lower abdomen to expand during inspiration.

The above image is from a YOGA Web site providing instructions to help people sit in Lotus.
I also found an other good site dedicated to stretching.


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