I've done regular meditation for over a year using a chair and later tried to switch to more traditional meditation postures. I am rather tall at 6′4/194cm and very inflexible - can barely touch bottom of my knees. I've had some success in sitting seiza using a couple of blankets but my shins go numb after 20min or so. I've been doing regular stretches for the last month or so and hope to be able to stretch enough to do Burmese sitting in the future.

Any advice on whether it's worthwhile to try to reach Burmese or should I rather focus on getting better at seiza? Any equipment you can recommend? I'm pretty sure the stack of blankets I need to comfortably sustain seiza is a lot taller than the 6 inches most zafu cushions are advertised as.

Thank you very much!

  • 2
    I had the same issue when I began in 2017. Being tall and heavily built makes for a difficult sitting posture. I sat in a chair for the first year, then moved to the floor, then bought a fishing chair and modified the feet so that I could cross my legs on the floor.
    – Max
    Jun 27 at 14:49

Lots of articles here on dynamic stretching exercises helpful for softening body:
https://lucid24.org/misc/qigor/eight-pieces/e3/index.html (disclosure: this is my site)

The suttas don't say this, but collective experience of meditators over the history of man shows that if your body is stiff, meditation is not going to feel good. When your body is soft and pliable, then energy flows smoothly and it is then possible to access the states of bliss which make long sitting comfortable.

While you're in the process of softening the body to be able to sit, don't hesitate to adopt whatever posture as needed when needed to meditate comfortably. Standing, sitting in a chair, walking, even lying down (but I would use a timer with alarm as backup in case falling asleep).

Sitting posture only becomes important for deeper states of samadhi. At the earlier stages of meditation, any posture is fine, more important to keep body comfortable so the mind can be at ease.


I would advise sitting up against a wall and otherwise just change posture a lot as you sit.

There isn't anything inherently unwholesome to mindfully changing one's posture.

In general i would use the wall or sit on a chair but i would also sit a lot on the floor to see if i wouldn't get used to it.

It always takes a while to strengthen the supportive musculature necessary for comfortable sitting and the joints can generally be worked even into splits.

  • Btw if you do the seiza be careful of pinching the nerves that run from the toes up. One can do a lot of damage without it hurting much and pinching these can take months to recover from.
    – user8527
    Jun 28 at 11:22

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