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o
01-02-2001, 09:15 PM
Does anyone know of a set of exercises/stretches that assist in being flexible enough to make the lotus position (either full or half)?

Braden
01-03-2001, 01:36 AM
Just stretch every day, you don't have to do anything special. To stretch properly, stretch to the point of tension, hold for a moment, then go beyond the point of tension, hold for a moment, then release. If you feel actual pain rather than just stretching discomfort, stop immediately.

If you want to do seated meditation, sitting in sieza (see <A HREF="http://www.aikidofaq.com" TARGET="_blank">www.aikidofaq.com</A>) is used by alot of people, as is simply sitting in a chair. Normal sitting isn't even that bad. Just keep your spine straight without getting tense; and make sure your shoulders are relaxed.

Ma_Xu_Zha
01-03-2001, 04:01 PM
it will take some time but just keep sitting for long periods of time in half lotus. then gradually work your other leg over. Its funny you posted this cause i sat in lotus last night and i havent done that in months. My new girlfriend is very buddhist so we practice kung fu and sitting meditation together.

is it hard to sit in half lotus?

practice sitting on your legs for a while, you know on heels with legs folded together. half and full sitting stance in chinese kung fu will help your legs get more flexible in bending also.

just my 2 cents

Sam Wiley
01-03-2001, 08:45 PM
You might want to try Snake Creeps Down from Taijiquan. This extremely low posture works upon the hip joints, opening them up and keeping them flexible. You should do it on both sides. Also, you might want to try repetitive inside crescent (slap) kicks at about hip height. This is rotating the hip in the same direction you would bend it to sit in the Lotus posture.

Good stretching other ways will help you as well. If you simply cannot do the full lotus right off, then you should work up to it from a normal seated posture, to the half lotus, and then full.

You might also want to try to Seiza, or the Dragon posture from Yoga, as others here have described. Just don't sit long enough for your legs to fall asleep. And in either case, make sure you stretch your feet back the other way after meditation to keep them from getting tight and unbendable.

Have you ever tried any of the standing meditation postures?

*********
"To enter is to be born, to retreat is to die."
-An Old Taijiquan Saying

DragonStudios
01-07-2001, 05:37 PM
Lotus pose is primarily restricted by the hip flexors; what I like to call the strongest yet weakest muscles in the body. The strongest because of how difficult it is to get you knees down in lotus or other sitting postures, and the weakest because one finger can knock a side kick down (try it, hold a side kick and have a friend try to knock it down... it doesn't take much effort). Some naturally flexible people are able to move their legs effortlessly (and without using their hands) into full Lotus, while others have trouble sitting cross-legged.

Sitting in Lotus posture for meditation is primarily (though not soley) for the purpose of balance. The first time one sits cross-legged on the floor, straightens the back and closes the eyes, they usually have this feeling they're about to fall over backward (some actually do :) ). Getting the knees on the floor eliminates this sensation and gives you one less thing to worry about when meditating.

Sitting in sieza is a great way to circumvent tight hip flexors, but I recommend placing a pillow between your calves and thighs to take pressure off the knees at first, and gradually working your way up from there. There are also benches available for this position.

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.

Good luck.

If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me.

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.
--Lao Tsu

kungfu cowboy
01-10-2001, 01:40 AM
Here's a site called "How to Grow a Lotus". Its pretty good, and has some pictures of the asanas to help achieve the lotus:

<A HREF="http://www.kaihan.com/lotus.htm" TARGET="_blank">http://www.kaihan.com/lotus.htm</A>