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Back KILLING me trying to sit in basic position

Discussion in 'Meditation Chatter Box' started by DjJax33, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. DjJax33

    DjJax33 Member

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    I can meditate just fine if I am in a chair or seat that conforms to my back/neck, or if I use pillows to adjust my position.

    However, anytime I try and sit with my legs crossed or use no support in a chair, my back (mainly lower and around shoulder blades) aches like it never has before. I make certain my posture is as good as it can be, but after 5 or 10 minutes I absolutely cannot continue my meditation because I am so uncomfortable.

    It's amazing how screwed my back feels after I try, and it takes at least another 15 minutes for the pain and tension to go away after I stop. I am extremely frustrated. I want to be able to sit down anywhere and have the ability to meditate without relying on any kind of pillow or prop, but as of now it just puts me in a really really bad mood.

    My breathing feels off as well while in this position. If I slump over in bad posture I can get a full breath in my stomach and lungs, but as soon as I straighten my posture out, I feel I can barley get a breath.

    I've tried researching the position and posture online, but I can't seem to get comfortable for 30 seconds. Suggestions?
     
  2. Hazelkay

    Hazelkay Member

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    Hi DJ Jax33

    Much sympathy - have had similar problems with a back that screams for mercy.:eek:

    Treat it as you would a much loved relative who is suffering - with kindness and compassion.

    Start with a chair that is very supportive and begin your sitting with your back a millimetre away from the support in your best position. When it becomes slightly uncomfortable - don't wait until you just have to move - then with a very slight movement of the body you can take the support. After a while if you are comfortable again you can move very slightly from the support; keep cycling like this. Very gradually your back will need the support less and less.

    Does your back give problems generally - or is it only after meditation?

    If you have a problematic back you will have to take things really gently - use standing, walking, and lying down to give the back a rest, and get some treatment like acupuncture, Bowen therapy, EFT, physio etc.

    If it is only a problem when meditating and just after meditating then the aches and pains are actually good news:eek: It means that old tensions are coming to the surface. It is no good trying to tough it out - that will just build in more tension. As long as you can just observe the pain without reacting - like -'Oh blimey, how long is this going to go on!!' then maintain your position. If it is getting too much, then take a more comfortable position.
    Once there is no problem in you mind about giving the back the loving support it needs - the breathing will sort itself out as the tension goes away.

    Shorten your sessions - start with ten minutes or less and add one minute per session until you've added another five minutes and then stay at that time for at least a week. You are going to need much patience. You will need to 'have it as it is' not how you want it to be.;)

    After each meditation session, lie down and send love and compassion to all parts of the body for about 5 minutes - this is a really beneficial thing to do.

    Let us know how you are doing

    peace and joy:)
     
  3. DjJax33

    DjJax33 Member

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    Hazelkay,

    Thank you very much for the response and suggestions.

    I am in very good shape, stretch regularly, and I have never had a back problem before. I suppose it is good to hear that the aches and pains are good news, but because I am teaching myself I am always worried the pain is due to something wrong in my technique.

    I will do as you say and rest when the pain becomes too much. It sounds logical that good posture will be painful at first due to many years of bad posture. I must be patient and understand I won't actually be able to meditate in this position for a while then, lol.

    I have the same breath problems when I am jogging/running. My back feels fine when I run, I hold good posture but just can't get a deep breath. As soon as I bend over to rest I feel I can get much more air into my stomach and lungs.

    Thank you for the advice once again!
     
  4. Karmoh

    Karmoh Member

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    Hi DjJax33

    Like you, I too suffered with back problems when I started to meditate.

    5 years ago I was in the belief that if I couldn’t sit on the floor cross legged I wasn’t going to meditate. After many false starts and frustration I came up with a plan.

    First I brought a good quality Zafu cushion and a Zabuton the sitting mat which the Zafu, is placed on. You don’t have to buy these you can improvise with good hard-foam and a folded blanket. I then went to a store and brought two hard foam wedges.

    I picked a quiet spot in the house and declared it as my own country and set up a meditation area.

    Then like HazelKay mentioned for the chair, I sat on the mat and cushion just an inch from the wall, where my knees couldn’t touch the floor, I wedged under the foam wedges. I then covered my lower half with a blanket and began to meditate. The transformation was gradual, 5 mins sitting upright without support and the remainder of the session against the wall.

    To cut a long journey short. As my posture relaxed so did my back and legs, the wedges got smaller and the sessions longer. Within a one year I was sitting Burmese style with just the Zafu & Zabuton, I can remain in that position, as long as required, 40mins, 1hr 2hrs + without any discomfort.

    For you breathing problem, it does seem unusual, but I believe it is caused by tension, just try tensing your upper body, really tense, then hold the tension and take a deep breath. Hard isn’t it?

    During meditation, breathing should be calm and relaxed; there should be neither tension nor any struggle. I believe you may be trying to force your breath in and out. Maybe see a physician to clear you of any phyiscal problem

    One of the best breathing techniques is simple, breathe out only, the body will breathe in...Or breathe in only the body will breathe out. No need to force anything. ;)

    If you read you initial post again, you can feel the tension, try letting the feeling of failure of posture not interfere with the meditation, although this is easier to say than do.

    Remember meditation is a lifelong practice, no rushing required :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  5. DjJax33

    DjJax33 Member

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    Update

    It's been a few months since I started this thread and wanted to share my progress...

    Through daily practice I have made huge improvements in my posture. I can usually sit in a chair for an hour until any major pains start in my body, and I actually look forward to them because I realize this is tension surfacing for release.

    I still have a little ways to go before I can meditate in a (legs crossed) sitting position, but I am very happy with the progress made so far. Thanks to the people who posted to my original question!
     
  6. Hazelkay

    Hazelkay Member

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    Hi DjJax33

    Great news!:D

    So glad things are working out for you. Guess the breathing has sorted itself too?

    All our good wishes to you on this wonderful adventure:)

    peace and joy
    H
     
  7. GilesC

    GilesC Member

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    Of course there is no actual requirement to sit with cross legs to meditate, that's just a traditional eastern posture. Some may say that it's necessary for the energy to flow correctly, but there's no evidence to suggest that sitting cross legged is any more beneficial than sitting normally in a comfortable chair. The only key thing with posture and sitting still for a prolonged period is to make sure the weight of the body is sitting directly downwards so as to not put pressure on the back or neck. Those who do sit cross legged to do meditation often use a small meditation stool or a plump cushion to raise their behind off the floor a little and ease the pressure.

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  8. iciek

    iciek Member

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    Due to medical conditions I too have been unable to sit in the "correct" posture. I lie down on the floor and as I hear my spine clicking into shape I "feel" at the same time energies flowing freely. I thought when I first succumbed to having to do it this way that I would soon fall asleep but not once have I done so whilst meditating. In fact I sometimes found myself nodding off to sleep when I was in a sitting position and meditating. I am seated for short impromptu sessions but for formal scheduled events I lie down which takes away any safety issues of potentialy falling over.
     

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