Stiffness and pain in the body.

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Stiffness and pain in the body.

Postby Inge » Sun Nov 28, 2010 8:01 pm

It is now approximately two yars since I started doing exercises to prepare my body for lotus posture. I have used the positions explained in 'growing up a lotus' site (http://zenmontpellier.voila.net/eng/lotus/lotuseng.html), as well as some other positions I have learnt from a yoga teacher. I have been doing these exercises almost daily, 30 - 60 minutes, for most of those two years, totalling maybe between 200 and 300 hours. I find however that I only become slightly more flexible, and it is no less painful to sit. Is it normal that it is so difficult to progress? On a good day now I can sit maybe 30 min. in half lotus before I give up. On a bad day I have to sit either burmese or just regular cross-legged, but also this hurt badly.

Sitting in a chair is not an alternative, as this is more painful to the back, and also I find it much more difficult to concentrate while sitting on a chair.

Is it something that I do wrong, or is this just something to push through?
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Re: Stiffness and pain in the body.

Postby catmoon » Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:59 am

I would suggest that you try meditating in a comfortable position now and then. Get whatever padding and back support you need, any position short of lying down, and see what happens.
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Re: Stiffness and pain in the body.

Postby Huifeng » Mon Nov 29, 2010 5:48 am

Inge wrote:It is now approximately two yars since I started doing exercises to prepare my body for lotus posture. I have used the positions explained in 'growing up a lotus' site (http://zenmontpellier.voila.net/eng/lotus/lotuseng.html), as well as some other positions I have learnt from a yoga teacher. I have been doing these exercises almost daily, 30 - 60 minutes, for most of those two years, totalling maybe between 200 and 300 hours.


Those pictures are almost all leg work, not much for the back at all.

I find however that I only become slightly more flexible, and it is no less painful to sit. Is it normal that it is so difficult to progress? On a good day now I can sit maybe 30 min. in half lotus before I give up. On a bad day I have to sit either burmese or just regular cross-legged, but also this hurt badly.

Sitting in a chair is not an alternative, as this is more painful to the back, and also I find it much more difficult to concentrate while sitting on a chair.

Is it something that I do wrong, or is this just something to push through?


Depends a lot of body and build, and also age (but to a lesser degree). You haven't really said where the pain is - ankles, knees, hips, lower back, upper back, neck, etc. All are different.

Ultimately, if one wishes to increase length of time in padmasana / vajrasana, then that is the posture that one should do most of all.
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Re: Stiffness and pain in the body.

Postby spiritnoname » Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:54 am

If you must sit in these postures and the body will not become easeful on it's own then make it by exerting a fabrication. Think of the body as low in weight and full of light.

Then enter concentration and the pain will not reach you.

You may be sitting in a wrong posture, for instance, maybe you don't have a good cushion (brick, wood block) that supports your spine.

If you can't find a solution then lie down. That is one of the four postures outlined by the Buddha, it is acceptable.

*** Correction Underlined, Nov 30, 2:40am Pacific Time
Last edited by spiritnoname on Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stiffness and pain in the body.

Postby Luke » Mon Nov 29, 2010 3:30 pm

Hi Inge,

Like you, I'm still struggling with my flexibility.

You are really doing a lot of stretching. It could be that your body just doesn't have enough time to recover from your previous stretching sessions. Tired muscles aren't flexible muscles. Often I take a week off (or more) from stretching and find that I'm more flexible than I've been in a long time afterwards. You could try taking a week off and see if it works for you. Also, you might not want to the same stretches on consecutive days, so those muscles can rest.

Like others have mentioned, you haven't told us where your pain is.

Also, how are you performing the stretches? And when are you performing them? Are you doing them like yoga asanas and doing ujayii breathing and going deeply into them or are you just doing them like ordinary sports stretches? Are you doing them after a general warm up or some excercises? If not, you might want to try doing them after your muscles are already very warmed up from exercise.

I'm certainly not the person to give advice about the lotus position, since I'm nowhere close to getting into it myself, but I have increased my hip mobility recently by doing squat stretches. Perhaps they might help you too.
http://www.youtube.com/user/howtostretc ... We37lYEWZg

You said you can already get into half lotus. Perhaps you might want to try the half-lotus tree poses to see if they open up your hips more.

Also, you might want to get feedback on your asanas from a yoga teacher. An experienced yoga teacher will be able to see if you're doing something wrong and will be able to give suggestions for getting deeper into the pose.
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Re: Stiffness and pain in the body.

Postby Inge » Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:29 pm

Thank you for the responses.

I can try to describe what kind of pain it is and where it is localized:

The pain is strongest in the right knee, not at a particular point - sometimes just over, somtimes on the outside, somtimes on the inside. Also in the right ancle, and the right hip and thigh, but not so severe. The pain is of aching nature, and feels energetic.

Also I have slightly reduced mobility in the complete right half of my body. Both muscular and joint flexibility.

Because of the the imbalance between left and right side of the body I also get pain in either side of the lower back.

The stiffnes of the body also differs throughout the day, it is worst in the morning and the evening.

As for the streching poses I do, I don't do any special breathing. I usually keep the body in each position from a half to a couple of minutes.

I have taken breaks from a day to several weeks, but find that this makes the situation worse, flexibility quicly deteriorate, and I have to work very hard to regain what is lost.

For sitting meditation practive I do between half hour and two hours sitting as much as I manage in half-lotus, else in burmese style.
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Re: Stiffness and pain in the body.

Postby Luke » Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:31 pm

Hi Inge,

I think you need to find a really good yoga teacher who could help you. I would recommend an Ashtanga yoga teacher because that it is one of the most traditional styles. The Ashtanga primary sequence is about moving through the postures in a sequence which builds heat in the body. This heat increases your flexibility. (This isn't any "mystical heat" like Tummo. It's the regular heat which comes from hard exercise, i.e. sweating your a** off.)

If you do these stretches cold without any warm up. It's no wonder you get little results. The Ashtanga primary series begins with many repetitions of Sun Salutations. The primary series could also help your back.

Inge wrote:As for the streching poses I do, I don't do any special breathing. I usually keep the body in each position from a half to a couple of minutes.

Breath is the fuel for your body. Using special breathing can help you get more out of your body. In Ashtanga, the ujayii breath is used. This is basically deep breathing through the nose which makes a "whooshing" sound in the back of the throat (think of Darth Vader doing yoga on a Star Destroyer). In Ashtanga, you inhale deeply and then go deeper into the stretch with each exhalation. When you can't go deeper, you just hold it and breath deeply there for a while.

Why do have reduced mobility in one side of your body? Is it neurological (from a stroke, etc.)? Or is it physical (from an old sports injury, etc.)? If it's physical, you might want to look into deep tissue massage. You could perform it on yourself to break up adhesions in the connective tissue which may have resulted from your old injuries. If this is the case, these adhesions are stopping you and not your muscles.

After about 2:30 in this video this man who is a martial artist and a chiropractor talks about this.
http://www.youtube.com/user/howtostretc ... p00_XHvhgI

Another thing you could try is isometric stetching. This depends on a very handy reflex of the body. Basically, you contract the muscles being stretched by opposing the motion of the stretch and hold the contraction for five seconds. Then you go a bit deeper into the stretch and repeat. When you can't go any deeper, you hold the contraction for 30 seconds (this can be very intense!).

For example, if you're doing a split. You would try to squeeze the ground with your legs by contracting your inner thigh muscles and then you'd try to go deeper into the stretch.

You have to be in good condition to do isometric stretches, though, so you have to be careful. Maybe just use isometric methods with one or two stretches that give you the most trouble.
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Re: Stiffness and pain in the body.

Postby Individual » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:41 am

Inge wrote:It is now approximately two yars since I started doing exercises to prepare my body for lotus posture. I have used the positions explained in 'growing up a lotus' site (http://zenmontpellier.voila.net/eng/lotus/lotuseng.html), as well as some other positions I have learnt from a yoga teacher. I have been doing these exercises almost daily, 30 - 60 minutes, for most of those two years, totalling maybe between 200 and 300 hours. I find however that I only become slightly more flexible, and it is no less painful to sit. Is it normal that it is so difficult to progress? On a good day now I can sit maybe 30 min. in half lotus before I give up. On a bad day I have to sit either burmese or just regular cross-legged, but also this hurt badly.

Sitting in a chair is not an alternative, as this is more painful to the back, and also I find it much more difficult to concentrate while sitting on a chair.

Is it something that I do wrong, or is this just something to push through?

I don't mean to be rude, but... Are you overweight? If so, that's the problem.
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Re: Stiffness and pain in the body.

Postby Inge » Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:26 pm

Individual wrote:I don't mean to be rude, but... Are you overweight? If so, that's the problem.


Current BMI is 25. Why would being overweight be the problem?
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Re: Stiffness and pain in the body.

Postby muni » Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:38 pm

Inge wrote:
Individual wrote:I don't mean to be rude, but... Are you overweight? If so, that's the problem.


Current BMI is 25. Why would being overweight be the problem?


Cause can be find by medical control, then your teacher will help you further. Possible to keep the spine right, Inge? Some help of not too soft cushions.
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Re: Stiffness and pain in the body.

Postby Individual » Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:58 pm

Inge wrote:
Individual wrote:I don't mean to be rude, but... Are you overweight? If so, that's the problem.


Current BMI is 25. Why would being overweight be the problem?

Because it puts additional stress on the joints. My father works in an orthopedic clinic and he sees it all the time.

People who are overweight are at significantly greater risk of joint pain and injury. It's pretty common for people to complain of pain in the lower back, ankles, and knees.

If your BMI is 25, weight is probably not the issue. Although exercising physically would help: Doing stretches and aerobic exercise.
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