View Full Version : Ankle Pain in Seiza

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David Board
12-02-2009, 09:02 AM
I hear and have read a lot about the knees hurting and having issues in seiza. My knees seem fine. My ankles are a mess, however. They ache and after class the pain reminds me of an over use injury I had with my wrists (my wrist actually squeaked after cutting over 700 pieces of burlap). I also seem to have foot cramps across the bottom of my foot.

I have taken to warming my feet up as much as possible before class but it only seems to extend the amount of time before the problem begins.

My wife a yoga teacher recommends that I sit in seiza with a towel under my ankles and to sit in seiza more often. I often find my self sitting with my toes under my feet. I'll sit with my ankles crossed or if I'm near the edge of the mat I hang my feet of the edge. If there is a long period of sitting I switch to cross legged. These all seem to help but only slightly.

Has anyone had a similar experience? Any recommendations, exercises or stretches that might help?

12-02-2009, 10:00 AM
I have not experienced this myself. Are your ankles not very flexible? Maybe that is the problem. I honestly have no idea though. :(

12-02-2009, 10:18 AM
Me too. And I've done all the 3 things you do to mitigate the pain. It won't help with your long term seiza though.

The problem is the pain-tension vicious cycle. Pain means you will tense up means you will get injury. You have to relax your body into seiza starting from the toes, feet, ankle, legs etc.

Also imagining your weight distribution is not on your ankles will go along way. Good posture, sort of like the feeling you're a ball, sort of bouncy in your seiza.

Don't know if it'll help but I know my sensei's secret. He's killed many students doing his lectures in seiza. To us 30minutes is murder, to him its nothing because his teachers had him at hours on end. So the secret is simple, he sits seiza watching tv. duh.

Chris Covington
12-02-2009, 11:50 AM
I would talk to a Dr. before doing anything, to make sure you don't have an injury, but I've found general ankle and foot strength goes a long way to help with seiza. A program like this has helped me out a bit to strengthen my ankles (http://www.csuchico.edu/~sbarker/injury/ankle/ankle_rehab.pdf). I really like the towel scrunches. Something else I like to do is stand on one leg and swing a weight around in random directions or do furibo (VERY large bokuto in Jikishinkage-ryu) cuts on one leg. This really strengthens things up, too. Mix this with sitting in seiza for short periods of time throughout the day to strech things out and it might help a bit. Before standing from seiza try coming up on your toes to bend them back a little and strech them out, too. Good luck! :)

Janet Rosen
12-02-2009, 11:54 AM
So the secret is simple, he sits seiza watching tv. duh.

When I first started training, I would sit in seiza in order to brush the cats. At first I could only manage partial brushing of one cat, but by slowly increasing the time (and yes, paying attention to posture and to weight distribution) eventually I could brush both cats as much as they liked!

12-02-2009, 12:58 PM
We have a boy in our class whos mother sits downstairs in seiza the entire class. That is just how she is accustomed to sitting at home (Japanese). You probably just have to get your body used to sitting in a way you aren't used to.