View Full Version : Extended time in seiza

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Darren Raleigh
06-11-2003, 01:00 PM
Hi. I'm looking for opinions of those here on the board with some medical, anatomical or physiotherpeutic training.

I'm wondering if there are any dangers associated with extended time spent in seiza (over an hour). We all know that initially there is some numbness, but what I'm looking for is anything that can come back to bite you, like DVT or the like.


Dave Miller
06-11-2003, 01:04 PM
I know that it tends to stretch the front ligaments of the knee and might lead to knee problems later in life. I know a shihan (7th Dan) who you will never see sitting in seiza unless he's doing suwari waza.

In my mind, the whole notion of sitting in seiza for long periods of time seems a bit extreme. I don't understand the point of it. Perhaps Peter or someone else in Japan can give us a Japanese perspective on it.

Janet Rosen
06-11-2003, 01:07 PM
The angle of the knee used in seiza generates a lot of pressure on the medial and lateral menisci (cartilage). I know that if you add movement to it it creates potentially dangerous shearing forces, and that the lieing back from seiza stretch is considered by many of us unnacceptable risk to the knee. I honestly don't know that sitting still long periods of seiza is/is not ok for the knees.

Dave Miller
06-11-2003, 01:10 PM
...the lieing back from seiza stretch is considered by many of us unnacceptable risk to the knee...I gotta agree with that 1000% I don't even do "hurdler" stretches any more, because of the knee strain it creates. My knees are bad enough without added further stress from improper stretching. ;)

06-11-2003, 01:16 PM
well, I think it depends on how you sit in seiza too. Whenever I do zazen, I sit in seiza as it is most comfortable for me, and I'll sit that way for three hours. That said, I sit with a zafu under my tush, and we do kinhin (walking meditation) as well, so you aren't on the mat the entire time. It might be a more natural feel for some folks, and I have no idea whether it is bad for you or not. Just my tuppence.


06-11-2003, 02:59 PM
I think there are two types of people when it comes to seiza...those who can and those who cant! I am one of the latter!

I know people who can sit in seiza quite comfortably for ages basically because the make up of their legs/knees allows them too...these are the people who have sat like that since they were children so its no biggy.

Then you have people like me who just cant sit in seiza with any amount of comfort! Its not because im inflexible...im pretty bendy....but because the backs of my thighs along with my calfs are too big so when legs are bent in seiza i just cant sit down properly! :confused:

Along with that and suwari waza technique i have suffered a knee injury within the last 6 months and its no fun......torn miniscus apparently...its not nice....very frustrating too! This happened on a weekend seminar when we did a session of suwari waza (about 1 and a half hours). It wasnt painful straight away but over the next week i couldnt walk up of down stairs!

So anyone out there who does a lot of kneeling technique....take it easy and in small doses, there is no point in injuring your knees now to cause greater poblems later in life.

Knees......you only have two of them and for aikido you need both!


Darren Raleigh
06-11-2003, 03:48 PM
Thanks to all who responded, and everyone else too. It seems that I wasn't being a complete Chicken Little when I thought that there might be a problem with staying in seiza for a long time.