Thread: Seiza
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Old 02-24-2003, 04:46 PM   #20
TomE
 
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Location: Belgium (EU)
Join Date: Aug 2002
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Re: Seiza

If seiza really makes your knees hurt so badly, it might mean you're putting your weight too much forward (trying to avoid the pain from overstretched ankle joints, perhaps?)

When I started aikido, only my knees and my toes would touch the ground during seiza, and it usually started hurting pretty soon. These days, everything *between* those body parts also rests firmly on the ground and I can sit in seiza much longer.

So when you sit in seiza, just relax (I know, I know... ), sit upright, and let your weight sink down naturally. Don't slouch forward or backward to relieve the pain - maintain a good posture, and when it really becomes too much, switch to sitting cross-legged. Try to hold out a little longer each time; eventually everything will get stretched enough and the (worst) suffering will end. It worked for me; and I've really come to like sitting in seiza for relaxation and meditation (though, admittedly, not for more than a half hour).

edit: I should add that Jonathan has a good point - there is a limit to the amount of pain and discomfort you can/should ignore, especially if you've already been injured before. Listen to your body, you know best what you can and can't do.
For the record: one of my knees and my spine were damaged in an accident some twelve years ago. But I've found that doing aikido has improved my posture and I have far less trouble with my back now; and the knee has also become stronger - although that never gave me much trouble to begin with, except for the occasional loud (but painless) cracking of cartilage when I overtax it (often during hanmi handachi), which tended to scare the hell out of my training partners at first ("omygodhe'sbrokenhislegomigodomigod...").

Last edited by TomE : 02-24-2003 at 05:00 PM.

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