Good stretches for postration.

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Good stretches for postration.

Postby TaTa » Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:24 am

Hi im beginning my ngondro and in about a month ill start a retreat. Although there is only 1 session in the program for prostrations ill try to accumulate as much as i can in that retreat. The thing is that although i am young im not very well fit. Im skinny but i dont do much exercise. Im going really gradual on the amount of prostrations i do each session, i just want to get sure that i dont get hurt so i dont have to skeep one day of practice.

Do you know any good stretches that my help with this?.
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby muni » Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:27 am

Stretches I cannot offer, you yourself feels your body the best and you can start slowly. That itself is a stretching exercise or a warming up. But maybe others can give better advice. If you can make a ‘platform’ sloping up in direction of your head ( about 20 cm or so) , this makes the prostrations easier to decrease eventually harm. You put then your feet in front of it, on the ground and slowly let the body glide down.
It can be made by wood but take care it is perfectly smooth. :smile: Use hand protectors if needful.

Look here is a picture included. : https://www.google.com/search?q=prostra ... B500%3B375
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby Alfredo » Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:28 pm

Not really needed for prostrations, though helpful if you plan to sit lotus-style. (There's a lot of variation between people's bodies, so YMMV.)

Once you start, you'll get stronger. Try to do 108 to begin with, then assuming that goes well, do 108 in the morning and another 108 in the evening. Add from there. Stop if you feel pain (other than normal soreness in the muscles). If 108 is difficult--or even if it's not--you might stop (say) every 10 prostrations and focus on bodhicitta for a moment while catching your breath.

A key consideration is, what kind of mat or cushion are you using? You'll see people using a variety of different things. I use either a yoga mat or a thick, quilt-like blanket for the floor and a pillow for my knees, and that seems to work okay. (Definitely take care of the knees.)
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby Tsultrim T. » Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:12 pm

Along the same line as the other posters, I think starting slowly is better than stretching. Take it easy and gradually build up how many you are doing per session and per day over time. A platform can be helpful but a wooden or other smooth floor will work just fine. Also having something for the hands to make it easier to slide is helpful. You can make it as easy or hard on yourself as you want, just remember it is supposed to be challenging and break down mental conceptions about body, pain, etc.
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby Malcolm » Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:16 pm

Tsultrim T. wrote:Along the same line as the other posters, I think starting slowly is better than stretching. Take it easy and gradually build up how many you are doing per session and per day over time. A platform can be helpful but a wooden or other smooth floor will work just fine. Also having something for the hands to make it easier to slide is helpful. You can make it as easy or hard on yourself as you want, just remember it is supposed to be challenging and break down mental conceptions about body, pain, etc.


Sun salutations is the healthiest way to do your prostrations [ :shock: but that's "Hindu"...]

However, doing 108 in a row is probably a bad idea. It is better to focus on quality, not on quantity.
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby philji » Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:27 pm

Start small and build up as you become more comfortable..say 20 to begin wit or 50. ...that should be doable..when you get used to it increase slowly to 108...then as stated elsewhere introduce a second session later in the day....
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby smcj » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:49 pm

Start doing them before the retreat. On a physical level it is like getting into shape for any physical exercise. You do NOT want to just start doing hundreds a day! You will be so sore you'll have to stop, and your other meditations will suffer as well. Get into shape before the retreat!

The important thing about prostration boards (if your teacher will allow them) is that your feet are 3"-4" below where your knees hit. That makes pushing up MUCH easier, which saves your stomach muscles. Also get a soft pad and tape it down where your knees hit. A couple pieces of spare carpet will do for hand sliders. I use a swimmers lap counter instead of a hand male to count. It fits on your finger and isn't sliding around, which can be annoying.

Good luck!
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby Malcolm » Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:09 pm

smcj wrote:Start doing them before the retreat. On a physical level it is like getting into shape for any physical exercise. You do NOT want to just start doing hundreds a day! You will be so sore you'll have to stop, and your other meditations will suffer as well. Get into shape before the retreat!

The important thing about prostration boards (if your teacher will allow them) is that your feet are 3"-4" below where your knees hit. That makes pushing up MUCH easier, which saves your stomach muscles. Also get a soft pad and tape it down where your knees hit. A couple pieces of spare carpet will do for hand sliders. I use a swimmers lap counter instead of a hand male to count. It fits on your finger and isn't sliding around, which can be annoying.

Good luck!


There are the three main injuries that turn prostrations into a harmful and injurious activity as opposed to what they are supposed to be: a yoga for loosening the main channels of the body. These are: Injuries to the cervical spine, the lumbar spine, and the knees.

To prevent injuries to the neck, lower your head as you bend down.

To prevent injuries to the small of your back as well as your knees, you should never allow your knees to "hit", nor should you slide out from a kneeling position. You should slide out to the up position of a pushup, and then lower your body in such a way that you do not "hit" your knees (which causes many practitioners to have lifelong knee injuries) nor strain the small of your back.

When you rise, keep your head down while you slide back onto your knees, and then when you stand, keep your head down until you are full standing, rolling up from the base of the spine.

Despite the masochism with which many people approach prostrations, prostrations, and indeed no spiritual activity, should be a cause for harming the body, especially if you are a Vajrayāna practitioner, since knowingly harming the body is violation of root samayas.
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby Alfredo » Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:53 pm

However, doing 108 in a row is probably a bad idea.


Being middle-aged, I assumed (perhaps foolishly, in view of what the military people call the "Playstation 3" generation) that my own capacity would lie towards the bottom end of the bell curve. By all means, modify to reflect what is reasonable for you. And thank you Malcolm for the above post!
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby byamspa » Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:02 pm

I find Yoga to be helpful when doing any kind of intense exercise. Esp if you notice one muscle group or another getting really tight, some slow controlled yoga poses i find very theraputic.

Other than that, like any exercise or intense practise, start up kinda slow, and don't get too fast. I am the example of how not to do prostrations. I am able to do about 2 of them per refuge prayer, even doing the short prayer (its like 4 short lines), but i find i get a better practise out of the exercise if i slow down to 1 prostration per prayer. If i am prostrating faster than i can chant, and i can chant very fast, i'm in dire need of slowing down. (only a former martial artist turned long distance runner would have this problem I think)
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby byamspa » Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:05 pm

Alfredo wrote:
However, doing 108 in a row is probably a bad idea.


Being middle-aged, I assumed (perhaps foolishly, in view of what the military people call the "Playstation 3" generation) that my own capacity would lie towards the bottom end of the bell curve. By all means, modify to reflect what is reasonable for you. And thank you Malcolm for the above post!


Being athletic, its not too bad of a stretch for me to do 108 at a time. Its actually a good measure of my pace. If i'm going too fast or too slow, i can't finish the mala in one stretch. If i find that lovely middle ground, its actually pretty easy. But if you are not already in shape, 108 is a LOT.
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby TaTa » Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:20 am

THanks a lot. It has been very helpfull.

Another doubt. Witch method do you use for counting?
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby Tsultrim T. » Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:40 am

TaTa wrote:THanks a lot. It has been very helpfull.

Another doubt. Witch method do you use for counting?


I personally like a 27 count hand mala on stretchy bracelet string. It is the right size and the string allows you to move the beads in between prostrations easily.
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby byamspa » Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:42 am

TaTa wrote:THanks a lot. It has been very helpfull.

Another doubt. Witch method do you use for counting?


I mostly count them in my head, something like 'one' <refuge prayer> < prostration> 'two' <rp><pros.> [repeat]

Sometimes i keep a small broken unblessed wrist mala near me that has 11 beads left on it, i can get to 10 in my head w/o distraction easily so, i'll do 10, move a bead, do another 10, move a bead.

Some ppl use clicky counters like they use at amusement parks. Some use a small wrist mala, or even a big mala.
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby smcj » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:28 am

TaTa wrote:Another doubt. Witch method do you use for counting?

Try a swimmer's lap counter (#2 & #3). It fits on your index finger--and it's waterproof!:
http://www.swimoutlet.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=lap+ounter&checkRealSearchInput=Y
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:10 am

Malcolm wrote:Sun salutations is the healthiest way to do your prostrations [ :shock: but that's "Hindu"...]

Is it actually acceptable to do them that way?
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:12 am

Malcolm wrote:To prevent injuries to the neck, lower your head as you bend down.

To prevent injuries to the small of your back as well as your knees, you should never allow your knees to "hit", nor should you slide out from a kneeling position. You should slide out to the up position of a pushup, and then lower your body in such a way that you do not "hit" your knees (which causes many practitioners to have lifelong knee injuries) nor strain the small of your back.

When you rise, keep your head down while you slide back onto your knees, and then when you stand, keep your head down until you are full standing, rolling up from the base of the spine.

Do you happen to know of a video showing someone prostrating this way?
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:55 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Sun salutations is the healthiest way to do your prostrations [ :shock: but that's "Hindu"...]

Is it actually acceptable to do them that way?

Bump
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby heart » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:59 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Sun salutations is the healthiest way to do your prostrations [ :shock: but that's "Hindu"...]

Is it actually acceptable to do them that way?

Bump


No, of course not. Different traditions.

/magnus
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Re: Good stretches for postration.

Postby Malcolm » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:11 pm

heart wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:Is it actually acceptable to do them that way?

Bump


No, of course not. Different traditions.

/magnus


Yes, of course it is acceptable. A prostration is a prostration.
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