Author Topic: Need help with sitting position  (Read 4031 times)


Need help with sitting position
« on: November 20, 2009, 10:52:09 AM »
Hi all,
I am new to meditation and was introduced to Vipassana recently. I am looking forward to do the 10 day retreat. My problem is that, I cannot sit in the lotus position for a long time, my legs go off to sleep in matter on minutes. Also I get back pain or I might doze off to sleep. I am an IT Manager and we have a busy day everyday. So the time I get is in the night or early morning. I always had chronic back issues. If I sit lotus style then my upper back pains me a lot.

Due to this issue, I can hardly concentrate on my breath. Any suggestions??


Re: Need help with sitting position
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2009, 03:17:38 PM »
u can try a position where you're kneeling, with a cushion between your calfs and your thigh/butt.
You can experiment with alot of positions similar to this (if its goenka retreat they required us to sit without chairs) i dont know about other traditions, or other countries.

As with full lotus, I took that position and didn't continue with half-lotus or burmese style lotus much because full lotus made a huge difference in how it supports the back. i think (but just based on my practice), half-lotus and burmese style will make ur back hurt even more

Stretching and yoga helped to increase circulation to my legs to help me with lotus position, also a healthier diet.
As with back pain. these stuff consistently happened when i was beginning meditation, but as we develop our awareness to our body, muscles, and back positin, we get more attuned to what is the proper posture, and what causes pain is more easily seen, and corrected. we get more sensitive and are able to make changes easier, while on the cushion.


Re: Need help with sitting position
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2009, 11:30:45 PM »

I have been sitting Burmese style for one hour a day for the past year. I have degenerative disk disease in my spine and when I started I could barley sit for more than a few minutes without experiencing excruciating pain. I noticed if I even thought about sitting to meditate my back would tense right up.

Through mindfulness practice I learned that most of the pain is in my head and so are the tools to let go of the pain. I now sit through one full hour in complete physical comfort, most of the time. When pain does arise, assuming I have eliminated any physical discomforts that are in the way (clothes, cushion, mat illness, etc), I look at it mindfully like a thing I can hold and breath into it and let go of it like it isn't even there and it just disappears. You have to experience it like the breath, it has a beginning, middle and an end. Believe me it worked for me.

If you are trying to sit lotus style as a beginner that could prove to be very difficult challenge indeed. Perhaps the attached document will help you choose a position that works well for you.

I also found that subtle changes in my cushion and or mat positions had dramatic changes my physical comfort as well. I purchased a proper cushion and mat and experimented with their positioning until i found exactly the position that worked best for me.

Mindfulness in Plain English by Ven. Henepola Gunaratana, which is a great book available free through a link in the library section of this forum has an excellent section on dealing with pain as well.



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Re: Need help with sitting position
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2009, 05:03:11 PM »
hdavy,,609.0.html In this post I describe the essentials of sitting either in a dining chair or on the floor. Because of your job if you sit on the floor you are best advised to use a thick heavy cushion which supports your hips and pelvis well. (5 -6" ~  12 - 15cm thick). This will tilt your pelvis a little forward if your knees are on the floor in front of you and help the muscles engage to support the lower back.

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