Posture Question

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

Posture Question

Postby sangyey » Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:19 pm

Is posture something that you can put effort into at any time in the meditation even while focusing on the object thus being able to do both simoltaneously or is it something that you may work on for a little bit and then mainly put your effort into the object kind of switching back and forth? Just trying to clear up some doubts.

It seems to me that you can/should put the effort into the posture and the object and then over time they would basically just integrate into one....but not sure and wanted to see what others view on this is.

Thank you.

~Sangyey
User avatar
sangyey
 
Posts: 418
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:00 am

Re: Posture Question

Postby Sönam » Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:38 pm

In the mahamudra yoga it is said that, after refuge and so on, one take the posture in 7 point of Vairocana, "before" to practice the meditation itself, with or without object.

Sönam
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
- Longchen Rabjam -
User avatar
Sönam
 
Posts: 1992
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:11 pm
Location: France

Re: Posture Question

Postby sangyey » Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:02 am

Thank you. I haven't been able to achieve good stability in Shamatha yet because I keep messing around with the posture. Everything else is the same though i.e., sticking with the same object and the other instructions on Shamatha (from Tibetan lineage). I did buy a book some time ago called 'The Posture of Meditation' by Will Johnson. Not sure if anyone has heard of it? It seems like really good advice on the posture as to how to align and relax yourself. I will probably just stick with that and see how it works out.
User avatar
sangyey
 
Posts: 418
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:00 am

Re: Posture Question

Postby dakini_boi » Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:21 am

Practicing Hatha Yoga has helped me immensely with meditation posture.
dakini_boi
 
Posts: 683
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:02 am

Re: Posture Question

Postby sangyey » Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:39 am

Also, since I have been trying to meditate with my eyes half-open it is important for me to have some kind of basis or reference point for my body like I have for my mind with the object. I suppose I could just completely 'let go' of my body and just focus on the object but I have heard that it is important to put 'effort' into the posture.
User avatar
sangyey
 
Posts: 418
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:00 am

Re: Posture Question

Postby 5heaps » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:26 pm

sangyey wrote:Is posture something that you can put effort into at any time in the meditation even while focusing on the object thus being able to do both simoltaneously or is it something that you may work on for a little bit and then mainly put your effort into the object kind of switching back and forth? Just trying to clear up some doubts.
its good to invigorate the posture if you feel the need to (ie. it will benefit you a lot) but be sure to understand that this constitutes dropping your meditation object or letting it fall to the background (either one depending on how good your concentration is)

when concentration begins to get half decent you will have some physical pliancy and a some pleasure associated with it..at these stages the body becomes quiet and pleasurable. eventually when the concentration gets really good, fancy things happen to your neck/spine and your body completely cannot bother you anymore since you will have full blown bliss of physical pliancy which comes when you habve a substantial amount of physical pliancy
5heaps
 
Posts: 432
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:09 am

Re: Posture Question

Postby sangyey » Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:14 pm

Okay, thank you 5heaps. I think you understand what I was getting at. In that case I should establish the posture first hand like Sonam pointed out and then sort of let it go while I employ the mindfulness and vigilance trying to remain single pointedly on the object alone.

My teacher also told me to equalize my sensory bases and I was wondering if anyone who has studied/practiced in the Tibetan lineage has heard of anything like this? I think its really a good technique because it gives you a wide open spacious feeling but it is also where I was getting stuck (reason for post) between kind of 'pushing and opening' the sense bases and trying to remain on the object which while trying to do both was leading to pressure build up around my head region and making it not so comfortable.

I also wanted to ask that I have a zafu/zabuton but I also have a mat and I prefer to sit on the mat in quarter lotus position as opposed to the zafu/zabbuton because I feel more grounded. I would rather sit in the traditional way on the mat but I am afraid that sitting in quarter or half lotus position will lead to complications with muscular imbalances. Was wondering if anyone had input into this matter as well.

Thank you.

~Sangyey
User avatar
sangyey
 
Posts: 418
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:00 am

Re: Posture Question

Postby mudra » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:46 am

If I'm not mistaken it was Marpa who once famously said something to the effect of: "Just my meditation posture is more effective than all the meditation of all the meditators in Tibet."

Posture (the 7 point Vairocana posture mentioned earlier) is very important to establish before starting. Once you have the correct posture it should take care of itself. If you are fussing in a muscular way for example you probably haven't gotten it down yet. Most important is the spine. Sitting with your butt a little bit higher than the level of the floor or wahtever you are sitting onis highly recommended, that way you can keep the back straight like a stack of coins without muscular issues in the lower back etc. The straight spine allows the energy to flow freely.

As to having trouble with Samatha, well I hear that if you have gone through all nine levels of concentration and acquired flexibility of mind and body, bliss of body and bliss of mind, (the 'fancy things' 5heaps was referring to) and then Samatha or meditative serenity comes naturally. :shrug:

Meanwhile better do shorter sessions of higher quality of sharp, instensely focused meditation than hours of fidgeting and wandering and wondering whether to adjust your posture.
User avatar
mudra
 
Posts: 453
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:55 am

Re: Posture Question

Postby dakini_boi » Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:25 am

It's very helpful to have knees lower than hips. Also, maintain natural lordosis of lower spine - by keeping pelvis tipped forward (with sacrum moving backward at an angle). Check this by feeling your lower back and making sure it curves in - if not, you might need to be sitting a bit higher. When this is in place correctly, you might need additional support for one or both knees if they don't reach the floor - can use small pillows or blankets.
dakini_boi
 
Posts: 683
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:02 am

Re: Posture Question

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:20 pm

Try to get a good posture when you start. 7 points Vairocana is great, but don't sweat if you can't get exactly in that position. Half or 1/4 lotus is good if you can't sit in lotus position.
Don't fixate yourself too much in the posture. A good image is a mountain. Sitting as a mountain. Be sure to relax properly. Your body will accommodate itself and the main point is keeping your back straight. If after a while you feel your posture became incorrect (this means seriously off), gently move your body to adjust it. As many times as you need. This, however, doesn't mean moving all the time or completely changing position. Small adjustments usually are enough.
After a while, you'll leave bodily sensations aside and so they won't bother you. The problem is that if your posture is seriously wrong, when you sit for more than one hour you may get temporarily in pain or with your limbs numb (you may not be able to move your legs at all for a while). This is one of the reasons one should have a good posture.
As someone said, start with small sessions. With time the overall quality will improve (this doesn't mean never having less well successful sessions). Just don't become tense about it. If you can't get comfortable in any of the traditional positions, use a chair. You can always lie down and practice, but it's difficult to avoid sleepiness, so that wouldn't be my first choice.

Good luck!
User avatar
Dechen Norbu
 
Posts: 2755
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:50 pm

Re: Posture Question

Postby gnegirl » Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:19 pm

dakini_boi wrote:Practicing Hatha Yoga has helped me immensely with meditation posture.


Yep....get thee to a Yoga class (hatha, vinyasa, whatever... except maybe Bikram, i think its just a scam, personally)! Helps immensely!
"Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise." --Surangama Sutra

Phenomenon, vast as space, dharmata is your base, arising and falling like ocean tide cycles, why do i cling to your illusion of unceasing changlessness?
User avatar
gnegirl
 
Posts: 386
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:22 pm
Location: Waponi Woo

Re: Posture Question

Postby sangyey » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:16 am

Thanks a lot for the advice it is really helping.
User avatar
sangyey
 
Posts: 418
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:00 am

Re: Posture Question

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:51 am

I have found it useful, when inhaling, to focus on my mental alertness, to really sort of 'sharpen' my awareness, and when exhaling, to relax the body. Don't do this constantly, but one in a while try alternating these two and it seems to help bring mind & body together.

Regarding cushions, I used to sit on a cushion but gradually got lower, sitting on blankets, towels, etc. and now I sit on the floor (well, if it is a hard floor, then on a mat or blanket).

I have also heard of using a telephone book this way, under some padding, and every day remove one page. when all the pages are gone you don't need a cushion any more.

My main problem is that I usually end up with one shoulder being a little higher than the other. This comes from years of lugging around a heavy shoulder bag, I think.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2845
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am


Return to Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests

>