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?
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
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.