I try to meditate for at least 20 minutes every night either in a basic cross-legged position or half lotus. To have enough flexibility for the half-lotus I have to spend about 30 minutes stretching beforehand, and still half-way through my meditation my knees will begin to hurt. Is this something that will eventually go away with more stretching? If so could you provide me with specific stretches that would be most beneficial? Or is this just something I'm stuck with?
I know the easy solution would be: don't attempt the half-lotus. But I find that in this position my spine is most stable and I can comfortably meditate for a longer period (other than my knees, of course)
Any help is much appreciated. Thank you.
Well, the first question is how are you setting up your position? Are you elevating your "sit-bones" so that your hips are above your knees?
If the answer is no, then you are going to encounter all kinds of problems. When you sit full-lotus, the knees naturally descend slightly below the hips. But when you sit in half-lotus, unless you elevate your seat with a cushion of some kind, perhaps a "gomden" cushion or a "zafu", then you are going to create stress on your knees and your back as well. Posture is absolutely essential when meditating. And this is part of that: the 7-point posture of Vairochana is ideally expressed in full-lotus. But if one can not reside at all, or for long, in full lotus then you have to be realistic about your needs in half-lotus and use the appropriate tools. For the record, the info about the placement of the knees in half-lotus came from a Alexander-technique teacher and long time practitioner so it is professional advice!