Leg pain

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Leg pain

Postby Music » Sat Aug 25, 2012 5:18 pm

Is it okay to switch posture after a few minutes in case there is pain? Or must we maintain the same posture for the entire duration of meditation? I try to do 20 minutes but my legs can only endure 15 minutes, so the remaining 5 minutes I just stretch my legs instead of maintaining the cross legged posture.
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Re: Leg pain

Postby oushi » Sat Aug 25, 2012 5:32 pm

The question is, what do you want to achieve? If you want to achieve sitting for 20 minutes, then you need to sit in pain, or find a different posture. I simply have no idea why would you force yourself to sit in pain.
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Re: Leg pain

Postby Music » Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:05 am

I am assuming that doing meditation for a longer duration is better than short bursts?
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Re: Leg pain

Postby catmoon » Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:11 am

Music wrote:I am assuming that doing meditation for a longer duration is better than short bursts?


Yes and no. Sitting there in screaming agony as your ligaments slowly detach from the bone is not going to be very beneficial. Although it can be good to go long, staying with a meditation that has gone completely sour is just the same as practising being sour.
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Re: Leg pain

Postby Indrajala » Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:45 am

You don't have to sit cross-legged.

See:

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Forcing yourself to sit through leg pain is unnecessary. The point is to tame the mind, not reconfigure your legs.
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Re: Leg pain

Postby bunny » Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:12 am

I do not sit cross-legged during meditation, I had surgery on my left knee several years ago and my knee still gives me "jip" now and again.

To sit cross-legged would be a disaster for me. Sometimes I do it without thinking, then I wonder why left knee is so painful until I look down and realise what I have done.

There is no rule that says that you have to sit cross-legged :) (not that I am aware of)

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Re: Leg pain

Postby lowlydog » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:21 am

Pain is one of the best and quickest teachers.
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Re: Leg pain

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:11 am

Use common sense. The point of dharma is to end suffering, not cause more suffering!
If your limbs are healthy and have not had any kind of damage or surgical treatments that need special consideration,
then, if possible you should gradually let your legs and back become used to sitting in the proper posture.
But if this is not an option, don't worry. It is the mind that has to meditate.
Most people do not realize that our bones are not unchanging sticks, but are constantly redesigning themselves, constantly reshaping and rebuilding.
I know a person who has had knee surgery in both legs and sits cross-legged, but with pillows supporting the knees.

But there is no need to hurry. Hurrying is what usually causes problems.
Along these same thoughts, if you are used to sitting on a cushion but would like to be able to sit directly on a (padded) floor, but it causes pain, here is a simple trick to help you. Sit on a stack of newspaper that is the height of the cushion you now use. You can fold a towel and place it on the top so it is a little softer to sit on. Every day, remove one or two pages. Over time, your back, hips and legs will get used to the lower angle, and eventually you will be able to sit directly on the ground or floor.
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Re: Leg pain

Postby Jikan » Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:16 am

There are many factors here. It could be that your posture could use some correction, or that the muscles & connective tissues in your hips are tight (which puts a strain in the leg muscles & knees). It's not really the kind of question that you can answer adequately on an internet forum, unfortunately.
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Re: Leg pain

Postby lobster » Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:46 am

The point is to tame the mind, not reconfigure your legs.

:rolling:
Exactly so. If it is not your custom or inclination, there is no benefit to sado masochistic contortions.
You may get increased endomorphin to counter pain production and bliss out. Not really meditative at all . . .
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Re: Leg pain

Postby lowlydog » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:26 pm

I think the key is to begin in a comfortable position, and then observe whatever arises(pain, itching, pleasantness, etc....) and also see its impermanent nature. Practicing arising and passing away with equaminity is key to gaining insight.

We need to be careful that we do not begin practicing avoidance to the unpleasant, this can lead to craving only the pleasant, and this is a trap!

We need to understand that posture pain is common when practicing seated meditation, and we need to be kind to ourselves, but not to run from pain when it arises.

Take a moment and really look at it, then decide how to proceed with a balanced mind.
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Re: Leg pain

Postby Music » Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:46 pm

lobster wrote:
The point is to tame the mind, not reconfigure your legs.

:rolling:
Exactly so. If it is not your custom or inclination, there is no benefit to sado masochistic contortions.
You may get increased endomorphin to counter pain production and bliss out. Not really meditative at all . . .


Hi lobster, remember me? :smile:

Thanks for all the tips, guys. I am now using a chair. It seems much better.
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Re: Leg pain

Postby duckfiasco » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:16 pm

Also consider a seiza bench. It will still stretch your knees and ankles a bit, but I've found it's easier to assume a stable posture than fidgeting on a cushion or sitting in a chair.

Regarding short bursts, I recently read this advice by Thrangu Rinpoche:
When one meditates, do it for a short time; but do it again and
again and again. The whole point is to develop a habit of
meditation. If one meditates at first for too long, the mind just
becomes more and more agitated and difficult to control. If one
meditates for a short time and renews the session many times,
then each time the mind will be fresh and clear and able to settle
down more easily. So meditate again and again until the habit of
meditation grows stronger.


You start short and frequent and lengthen the sessions when you're ready or able. You'll know you're ready when the time is up and you think, "Holy cow, am I done already?" And some days will be better than others. Not so long that you become like a covered pot boiling over, but not so short that you never get to work with the juicy feelings of resistance, impatience, frustration... A lot of fun for sure :rolling:

My current strategy is one or two good, long sessions with lots of shorter ones interspersed when I find a moment. 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there... Monkey mind is constantly reinforced through our daily habits and lifestyle :rolleye: so it's important to keep the thread of mindfulness going through frequent meditation. The plus side too is the more you familiarize yourself with watching, resting, the more your mind gains confidence in its ability to let things go.

Whether or not you'll be able to benefit from the lessons of physical pain is a personal matter. I think some days we're like 1st graders and the situation is a calculus class. We just won't get the lesson no matter how hard we try, so we have to be gentle with ourselves and stick with 1+1.

Good luck! :buddha2: :heart:
Namu Amida Butsu
The Perfect Way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences;
Only when freed from hate and love,
It reveals itself fully and without disguise.
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