Obesity.

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

Obesity.

Postby Jikan » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:20 am

Many people in the English-speaking world are obese. I am interested in finding out how obesity impacts meditation practice at the physical level (starting with breathing), and how it may impact the mind. I suspect that obese people may experience the nuts and bolts of meditation such as sitting on the floor much differently from those who are not obese.

Thoughts?
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Re: Obesity.

Postby PorkChop » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:48 am

Jikan wrote:Many people in the English-speaking world are obese. I am interested in finding out how obesity impacts meditation practice at the physical level (starting with breathing), and how it may impact the mind. I suspect that obese people may experience the nuts and bolts of meditation such as sitting on the floor much differently from those who are not obese.

Thoughts?


Why's everyone lookin at me? :pig:
I'm sorta big, 5'10, over 200 (workin on it), I work out a lot though (yoga, boxing, muay thai, cross training) and I'm pretty flexible - so I may not fit into the category you're thinking.
As a heavier guy, it's hard to find good cushions that give me enough lift so my legs don't start cramping up and/or falling asleep.
Currently using 2 zafus & a thin tempurpedic type pillow on top of a zabuton as my meditation set up.
It lets me go 30 min to an hour non-stop pretty easy, without a whole lot of leg torture.
If I'm going over an hour, either I'll take a break half way and/or switch to a kneeling chair I have.
I mostly use the kneeling chair for mantras and I can't do much more than about an hour on that chair before my knees give me issues (thin padding + sweaty knees).
If I had to, I could alternate between cushion & kneeling chair for an extended time without too much suffering.
Not sure why, but I've shied away from using normal chairs for meditating.
I think it's because I sit in a chair all day at work and don't want to spend too much time chair-bound at home.

Hope that helps
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Re: Obesity.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:33 am

As a former fat guy I can say that sitting long periods without excess fat tissue on the thighs is a lot more comfortable.
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Re: Obesity.

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:49 am

I have never been obese but I have had periods of being 10 to 20 pounds (5 to 9 kg) overweight and in recent years have maintained my weight at the ideal weight or just a few pounds at the most, over. And I can definitely say the meditation sessions and everything else goes much better at / closer to the ideal weight.

The breathing is normal and not hard breathing and it is easier to sit in a flexible position and just much more comfortable. Excess weight can make you more sluggish (sloth and torpor) and sleepy in meditation and in general. I say this because it is true and to encourage anyone struggling with weight issues to work on getting closer to your ideal weight for the meditation and health benefits.
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Re: Obesity.

Postby PorkChop » Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:48 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:I have never been obese but I have had periods of being 10 to 20 pounds (5 to 9 kg) overweight and in recent years have maintained my weight at the ideal weight or just a few pounds at the most, over. And I can definitely say the meditation sessions and everything else goes much better at / closer to the ideal weight.

The breathing is normal and not hard breathing and it is easier to sit in a flexible position and just much more comfortable. Excess weight can make you more sluggish (sloth and torpor) and sleepy in meditation and in general. I say this because it is true and to encourage anyone struggling with weight issues to work on getting closer to your ideal weight for the meditation and health benefits.


While I think that "ideal weight" and BMI were designed as tools to judge average weights for large populations and not for individuals; I do agree with your sentiment.
I've been working on a pretty specific diet this year. Prior to my skin infections, I'd dropped over 50lbs and was feeling in the best shape of my adult life.
Interestingly, during the period when I was sick and went off the diet (trying to go vegetarian) is when I put back on the most weight.
Taking a little more relaxed attitude towards the diet since I started feeling better (weekends off, but Sunday as a veggie day) and I know I'll get where I want to get as long as I'm consistent.
The more weight I lose the easier things get.

As with most things in life, diet has to feel natural. If it takes too much effort to maintain, you're going to slide right off. What I've been doing works because it feels very natural. I some ways I feel bad I'm not a total vegetarian; but I have health considerations to think of and this is working.
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