I have been finding my hips to be getting super stiff after sitting practice. I have been stretching before and after, but it doesn't seem to help much. Does anyone have any tips to deal with this problem?
1Hi Chris. Would you like to mention some details about your sitting such as whether you sit on the bare floor or a low cushion or a higher cushion with hips raised above the knees? Do you sit in Burmese position or half lotus or something else? And are you new to sitting meditation or is this something that just starting happening in a regular practice? These details might be helpful to those submitting answers.– Robin111May 3, 2015 at 23:45
I have been sitting half lotus now for like a month. Before that i was sitting kneeling style. I use a cushion and sit facing the wall like Dogen suggests to do.– Chris StefanidisMay 4, 2015 at 1:43
kneeling style is for women.– Sankha KulathantilleMay 4, 2015 at 12:54
Kneeling style like Seiza? So you have only been sitting in a cross leg position for "like a month"? I spent years sitting indian style, before I could move to burmese style. Then it took me two years of sitting in burmese style to move to half lotus. I feel like a month is not very long in my experience.– ThienMay 4, 2015 at 13:49
2@SankhaKulathantille, kneeling seiza style is common in Zazen. Image of kneeling on seiza bench here: zmm.mro.org/teachings/meditation-instructions Image of kneeling on zafu here: stillsitting.com/about-us/sitting-down.html. But it's not related to gender.– Robin111May 4, 2015 at 14:42
In Zen meditation, posture is important. This is what I was taught. One sits on a zafu placed on a zabuton as below. It's important that the hips be elevated above the knees. The spine is erect (imagine a string coming through the top of your head and pulling you upward) and the pelvis is tilted forward slightly. The knees form the stable base to support the posture; i.e. you are leaning on your knees a bit. Balance and symmetry is important so half lotus wouldn't be ideal; a Burmese style would be more balanced and is also considered to be an easier position for those newer to sitting on the floor. Going from sitting kneeling style to sitting with the knees extended; it will take some time for the hip muscles to relax and become flexible. Best wishes.
How to deal with sore hips during sitting?
1.Gradually increase your sitting time.This will help your body get used to the posture.
2.Continue to do gentle stretches before and after meditation.Try Yoga.
3.Get up and do walking meditation.
4.Also this depends on what meditation your doing if you practice samadhi breath meditation like i do don't worry the pain will disappear.If you practice vippassana you'll have to observe the pain but if it gets too much then gently and mindfully adjust it.
Hope it works
1I agree with the suggestion to try yoga. If you can incorporate it into your daily practice you will find your body saying "Thank You!" For the hips, my all-time favorite asana is Pigeon Pose (yogajournal.com/article/beginners/pigeon-pose). May 4, 2015 at 12:18
This is a common problem for people who has a lot of sitting posture in their everyday lives e.g. meditators, office workers etc. due to mainly tight hip-flexors and weak gluteal muscles. These problems can usually be taken care of by stretching and strengthening exercises.
I will refer you to my answer to this question. In here i address a similar problem from both a anatomical/physiological and theravada buddhist point of view. This might help you out or else you can write me and we will have a chat. I would also like to know if you are currently having or previously had problems with your lumbal spine, hips or pelvis. By the way i'm a physiotherapist thats why i ask about this.
Try the burmese posture and experiment with different levels of cushion. Do yoga postures which help open up the hips. One of the many purposes of yoga is to prepare and help the body for long periods of meditation.
Controversial suggestion: Ultimately train yourself to do the lotus posture (which is the most blissful and joyful too) because all other postures have side-effects associated with them.
Following strategy can help:
- When there is a urge to move recognise it and keep looking right at the stimulation that causes the pain. Look into the pain dividing and dissecting the pain.
- Have a determination to stay in the chosen posture. If you must move but try to gradually increase the time.
- Try calming the bodily fabrication by looking at the breath
- Mental movement can stimulate Piti. So try scanning the body as a fast space.
- Try some metal recitations. Do Metta meditation focussing you attention on the pain.