Meditation Forum

Vipassana Meditation Forum => Meditation, Practice And The Path => Topic started by: Mindfullness on July 22, 2011, 07:10:00 AM

Title: Seiza Bench Posture
Post by: Mindfullness on July 22, 2011, 07:10:00 AM

I recently made a seiza bench and I am already frustrated  :'(( :'(I guess this demonstrates the unenlightened state my mind is currently in). I want to know if there is supposed to be a "correct"way to sit on a seiza bench(i.e.higher on the bench seat vs. lower, neck tilted down or straight ahead, etc). I ask this because for some reason, no matter in what position I sit on my seiza bench, I feel like I am NOT sitting correctly and it drives me crazy--to be fair, I've had this problem in every position I have ever sat in, like Burmese or in a chair. What REALLY drives me crazy, though, and what seems to cut my meditation sessions really short due to sheer frustration, is the feeling that my upper body(particularly the back area) is moving or swaying a little as I breathe in and out. I try to relax myself, sit lower/higher in the bench, or shift my head position higher or lower  so I can stop moving but it doesn't really work. Is it normal to be experiencing all of this? The reason I have so much trouble meditating like this, is because I feel like during meditation, your body SHOULD be completely still. I need help!
Title: Re: Seiza Bench Posture
Post by: Andrew on July 22, 2011, 08:01:04 AM
hi Mindfulness!
Are your knees out in a slight V shape infront of you? that is; are they apart and at least a little wider than your hips? also keep you feet slightly apart as well. It can be a very stable way of sitting, I find that the fronts of my feet ankles give up after about 30 mins.
do you rest your hands on your thighs? This adds stability as well.

I go back and forth between many positions depending on mood, I think it is good to mix it up a bit. Also i find it useful to see it as a yoga excercise, stretching out the legs in ways life normally doesn't ask of them.

also, keep your eyes open and stare ahead, if you are swaying around you are most likely hypnotised and starting to fall asleep! Your body should be not in any great pain, but a little bit is normal, and if it is completely still, you are probably dead, so try and watch out for that.

Title: Re: Seiza Bench Posture
Post by: Stefan on July 22, 2011, 08:08:35 AM

Andrew just posted the technical advice, which leaves the non-technical advice for me ...

if there's this problem no matter how you sit, then it is probably not the posture that causes trouble, but your expectation.
it is not important to sit still, but react towards all those phenomenons with mindful awareness, with equanimous observation.

The swaying is just another body sensation to observe. The feeling of not sitting comfortable is another phenomenon to be observed as well. In daily life, we tend to change things that disturb us. But that is a root for suffering already: we cannot cope with what is there, cannot leave things be. This is something we want to change on the cushion (or seiza, or maybe an elephant, it doesn't matter). So, sit down, and observe being uncomfortable, if this is the thing that is coming up right then. You cannot change this, obviously. So you will have to go through it ... the path is rocky ...

Metta, Stefan
Title: Re: Seiza Bench Posture
Post by: Morning Dew on July 22, 2011, 08:45:57 AM
First thing dont listen to TMO. He obviously doesnt have a clue what hes talking about. He had too much coffeine maybe  ;D (btw Seiza bench is not Goenka Style anyway ;) )

Posture is very important. The same way there is the Right Effort Right View, Right this Right that there is also the Right Posture. Buddha suggested a streight spine not a bend-over spine.

Here is a video where i demostrate how to properly sit on a Seiza bench. Note! My neck is not streight up in this video which can result sleepiness so make sure the neck goes streight with the spine. The chin is a bit tucked in not much. And when tucking in the chin make sure the neck is streight up. Posture is very important!!! Full Stop!!! Otherwise Zen Buddhist would Not place such an importance to it in Zazen. Right Posture will anchor the Mind well in stormy waters. Make the Posture important. Create the posture with love, like a sculptor does to a statue. Once all the Greed n Ignorance fall off the only thing left behind is the Sitting Buddha, The Posture Just Sitting.

May you sit in the right posture in peace.

Title: Re: Seiza Bench Posture
Post by: lente on July 22, 2011, 09:23:51 AM
I don't have a lot of experience with meditation, so take my advice with a grain of salt. I also have a seiza bench (recently bought, not made) and I think it's great. I just sit down, bum on the plank and knees slightly apart, foot somewhat together, but not glued together. I keep my spine straight, but I try not the overdo it, after all meditation is not a contest in how straight you can keep your spine. I fold my hands in front of me. Then I just relax as much as possible and meditate. (in that order)

I would not worry to much about posture though. You will learn what works best in time.
Title: Re: Seiza Bench Posture
Post by: Andrew on July 22, 2011, 09:53:25 AM
I couldn't  hear what Dusko was saying in his video, but it reminded me of something that I read a little while ago. Probably someone on here...

Be like a cat or a dog when you sit, fuss around until you are happy you have done everything you can to be comfortable. don't just plonk down and try and stay still. Adjust! spend the first couple of minutes ironing out all those little things that immediately bother you. Once you are happy that you circulation and bones are all being looked after sit.

the other thing I find good, it don't time yourself with a stop watch or alarm, just sit. If you are not happy with the length of time, readjust and sit in another posture. Once you have sat, NEVER say to yourself it was a waste of time, or not productive.
there is no such thing. Even if it was actually unproductive in itself, the attitude of mind that doesn't judge it it very important. after a while, like i did you may find, "I'm missing something here" then you look for answers again. Like you have done here. Good on you mate!

Listen to TMO and Dusko both, No-one has it all together, but together we have it all!  ;D

Title: Re: Seiza Bench Posture
Post by: Morning Dew on July 22, 2011, 10:20:20 AM
Mindfulness my friend i must thank you with my whole heart for starting this thread :)
Thanks to making this video for you i reflected on my own posture and have found a big flow in it. I just realised that my head and neck where always tilted to the front creating sloth and torpor, therefore this prolonged Dark Night.

After i replied to you i went ahaid and meditated for 40 minutes with a smile on the face :)
I was awake throughout the whole session :)

I feel im back on the horse again.

Thank you once again.
May you be happy, may you be free from suffering.
Title: Re: Seiza Bench Posture
Post by: Stefan on July 22, 2011, 01:01:16 PM

I feel im back on the horse again.

so it seems ...  ;) ... be well!

btw. they do sit on seiza benches on Goenka retreats. never mind.
Title: Re: Seiza Bench Posture
Post by: Mindfullness on July 22, 2011, 07:07:16 PM
Thank you all for the comments! Dusko, the video was very helpful. I also think that my anxiety about posture is in a way, reflective of my self-defeating behavior. I will do what you demonstrate in the video and if that doesn't work, maybe I will make a seiza bench that looks for like yours. Do you have the instructions to how you made yours? Also, I'm glad my topic helped you meditate!
Title: Re: Seiza Bench Posture
Post by: Morning Dew on July 22, 2011, 09:57:11 PM

We have an article written on our home page which is currently down. If you have questions please ask.

Friendly Dusko
Title: Re: Seiza Bench Posture
Post by: yeah on April 24, 2014, 06:56:23 PM
Hello everyone,

Tomorrow I prepare to make my first seiza bench.   ???
As I am 1,90 cm/74 Inches  tall, I would like someone to suggest me adequate measures for sides of seiza bench.

Thanks in advance,
Title: Re: Seiza Bench Posture
Post by: Matthew on April 24, 2014, 08:07:24 PM
Hello N,

You are about the same height as I. The height of the seat needs to be enough to induce a slight forward tilt in your pelvis without going so far as to throw your lumbar spine forward. The measurements above may be a bit low (15cm back 12cm front). The best thing is to experiment: take a piece of flat wood, prop it up with wood, bricks and whatever you can find and make adjustments until you find a balanced and released posture results, then measure and go from there.


Title: Re: Seiza Bench Posture
Post by: yeah on April 24, 2014, 09:24:55 PM
Thank you very much Matthew for valuable informations.

Much Metta,