View Full Version : Meditation in Full-Lotus?
01-15-2001, 09:06 PM
I've always wondered exactly what the purpose of meditating in full-lotus is (as opposed to just Indian-style or even sitting in a chair)?
Might it be:
1) To purposefully close off the lower channels so that all energy can be focused on opening the microcosmic orbit first?
2) To develop better circulation in the legs thru such progressive training?
3) To provide a stable base where the spine can more easily be maintained properly erect?
4) To make your legs numb and increase your tolerance for pain!
Any ideas anybody??
01-15-2001, 11:10 PM
I think you've got it right with guess number 4!
Honestly, my guess is that it promotes a straighter posture. I've read that qi can 'leak' to the earth from the 'hui yuan' point at the very bottom of our torso. For this reason, some people promote qigong practice in high stances. Perhaps this is also why standing post is considered very high level.
01-16-2001, 03:12 AM
I think that it's to provide a better base. If you sit indian style and straighten your spine, you start to tip backwards. You can stay upright, but you have to use tension in the legs to do so, and tension while meditating is something you're supposed to avoid.
There may be other reasons that I don't know.
01-16-2001, 07:45 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I've always wondered exactly what the purpose of meditating in full-lotus is (as opposed to just Indian-style or even sitting in a chair)?
Might it be:
1) To purposefully close off the lower channels so that all energy can be focused on opening the microcosmic orbit first?[/quote]
That's true for Taoist and some of the more esoteric practices of Yogic meditation (Kundalini, Tantric, etc.). However, most Zen practitioners don't really care about microcosmic orbits, etc...
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>2) To develop better circulation in the legs thru such progressive training? [/quote]
Superior circulation in the legs is something one should achieve prior to sitting in full-lotus pose. If you don't I can almost guarantee one or both of your feet will fall asleep during meditation. Blood flow is increased through several different leg and hip-flexor exercises (I prefer the Yoga exercises personally).
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>3) To provide a stable base where the spine can more easily be maintained properly erect? [/quote]
Absolutely. Every meditative tradition which uses full-lotus primarily uses it for that reason. As mentioned above, sitting in "indian style" (called Easy pose in Hatha Yoga) and straightening your spine will cause an overwhelming feeling you're about to fall backwards, and this can be very distracting. The trick is to get your knees down, which requires loose hip flexors. There are several exercises which help to loosen the hip-flexors (I've outlined some below) and get the knees down. In fact, until your knees come closer to the floor when you're sitting cross legged, the full-lotus pose will be a near impossibility.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>4) To make your legs numb and increase your tolerance for pain![/quote]
LOL! Although there are probably some readers rubbing their jaws right now and thinking "yeah, that just might work..." :)
To answer your question: no, there isn't really any advantage (with the exception of the possible closing or stimulation of energy channels/chakras in Taoist or other meditations) to sitting in full-lotus over other sitting postures. In fact, sitting on the edge of a chair, bench, or stool is recommended to anyone too inflexible, thick in the legs, or suffering knee/ankle injuries for meditation. In this case, the spine still needs to be kept straight.
The straight spine is a figurative term, as the spine in its natural state is "S" curved and not a straight line. Essentially a "straight" spine is a comfortable and fully erect spine. It really relies on the shoulders for me. If my shoulders are held too high, I'll feel pain in my lower back, if my shoulders are slouched, I'll feel pain in my upper-to-mid back.
There are several good meditative postures. Standing, or Zhan Zhuang; kneeling, or sieza (I recommend tucking a pillow between your thighs and calves to alleviate pressure on the knees, or using a kneeling bench); sitting in a chair (you should sit at the edge of the chair to prevent leaning on the back rest); half-lotus which puts one knee on the floor; and/or full-lotus for the more flexible.
I personally use a Hatha Yoga posture called Perfect pose, which balances me nicely. To get into perfect pose, sit on your "sitting bones" (the end of the pelvis) with your legs open in front of you. Pull one foot up against the genitals/perenium, and set the other foot in front of it. This should put both knees on the ground.
If your hip-flexors are tight, and therefore your knees won't touch the ground in any pose, try putting a cushion under your butt which will lift you above the plain of your knees. This way you can still meditate without the distraction of falling over.
I posted the following in another forum topic on lotus pose:
Here's a basic lesson in sitting: Begin by sitting cross-legged on the floor. How far off the floor are your knees? How intense is the feeling of falling backward? Now straighten your legs out in front of you and open them as wide as you can. Put your hands behind you and sit forward with a little lift (this should put you at your maximum stretch). How wide can you get your legs?
If your knees sit higher than 2-3 inches off the floor, if you feel you are about to fall over constantly, and/or you can't spread you legs wider than 45 degrees apart, you need to work your hip flexors. If not, just practice half Lotus with each leg for equal amounts of time (5-10 minutes) then pull your legs into full Lotus for 1-2 minutes. Work up from there.
To stretch your hip flexors, begin by sitting with your legs open and at their maximum stretch (as above). Reach out in front of you and stretch. Relax in the stretch, and gently work your way (your arms, chest, and head) down to the floor (don't "bounce!"). When you've had enough of this, pick up a foot (bend the knee) and pull it to your chest. Don't curve your back or lean your body toward your foot, bring your foot to it. Do this gently, and don't stretch to the point of pain. Pay attention to your knee and ankle joints, if you feel pain there, back off the stretch a little until you're comfortable. Set the foot down either on the thigh to loosen the ankles, or against the perineum (that tuft of skin between the sexual organs and the anus), and stretch out toward the extended leg. Straighten out the leg again, pick up the other foot, and repeat the above process of bringing your foot to your chest and stretching. Then straighten that leg, put your hands behind you and sit forward with a lift, and stretch forward again (you should be slightly closer to the floor than in the previous stretch). Finally, pull both feet together in front of your groin and gently bounce your knees up and down. The key word here is gently. If at any time you feel intense pain in one of these stretches, back off and relax the muscles. Once you've gotten your flexors stretched (daily practice for about six weeks) to the points mentioned above, you can then begin to work on half and full Lotus posture.
Without going outside, you may know the whole world.
Without looking through the window, you may see the ways of heaven.
The ****her you go, the less you know.
01-16-2001, 10:46 PM
a buddist monk said if you are in pain from full lotus or half than you are not meditating. there is not pain in meditation, you thoughts should be mindfulness. as a exercise try and sit as long as you can, sit in a chair or lay down as long as you are confortable and not in pain. a pillow under the bum will support the spine and keep it straight. try and have your hips above your ankles for the best result!
the half and full lotus is painful, and my legs go to sleep as well. i like to try all sorts and depends on the mood im in. ;)
01-17-2001, 01:55 AM
1. Buddhist Ideaology is to transcend pain as it is only from your mind ..hehehe
2. the lotus position is not always obtainable and necessary as long as you reduce the circulation of your legs thats fine, Qi will not linger there and become stagnant so....whatever suits.
3. In Buddhist Meditation can occur whilst eating, sleeping, walking, etc wherever Buddhism and our thought thus our tranquility of thought transcends practice and ideals, transcends human thought and societical environments
Shi Chan Long
01-17-2001, 08:53 PM
Sitting in the Full Lotus, Half Lotus or Burmese Lotus helps the meditator to visualize the circulation of Chi out from the Dan Tien, up through the head, arms and legs and cycling back to the Dan Tien where it will pulse forth again.
It essentially links the path and gives the shorter route as opposed to the Chi flowing down each leg, arm and back up to the Tan Tien.
The chi Flow is cyclacle and this cyclic flow is aided by sitting in this position.
Other benefits of the lotus position are lengthening of the tendons and sinew. Highly beneficial to a practitioner of martial or healing arts.
02-09-2001, 04:24 PM
This depends on what you define as full lotus.
There is a lower body "lock" where the ankles cross, but its very comfortable, which "seals" the energy leakage from the legs.
A simpler version is to cross ankles when sitting in a chair or other similar position. If you cant get the image, cross ankles in a chair. Then sit on the floor and move your butt forward but tuck your feet in so it resembles a lotus position.
This is an alternative to the position where you actually lift one leg over the other to rest on the thighs which can be very painful for beginners.
This is the first and most basic lock you will learn/use in your sitting meditations and is simply called an ankle lock. I doubt you'll get a better and simpler explaination than that...
We can get pretty far in life just storing and conserving the energy we already have.
Gotta go, I have some serious heartburn....
Turiyan, Brahmin caste, Ordos clan
The REAL taichi:
02-20-2001, 03:48 PM
hi, just wondering what Burmese Lotus is. can you describe it? :)
10-17-2006, 04:50 AM
These lectures explain the purpose of sitting meditation.. Its in Lecture 4.. But you may want to go through the first three before you listen to the fourth...
..the MP3s of the lectures are available here.. http://www.falundafa.org/eng/media.htm#GUANGZHOU
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