Seiza and Calves Pain
Hello, this is my first post here, so please forgive any newbie-ness!
I am 24 years old, and I have just started to learn aikido. To date I have been attending regular classes for just about a month and have accumulated around 24 hours of training. I think that I am about average in flexibility and strength, though maybe with a slight stiffness to my muscle build.
Lately, I have been having trouble with seiza. It hasn't bothered me until about a week ago. Right now, I have an extremely hard time getting into seiza without much stretching beforehand.
Each time I get into seiza, I feel a burning tightness in the bulge-muscle on the back of the lower leg, just below the knee-joint (I think the calves but am not sure.), especially towards the top and around the knee joint. A little bit above the knee as well.
This is only a problem when I first get into seiza at the start of practice. It doesn't seem to bother me nearly as much while the instructor is demonstrating techniques, though sometimes it bothers me towards the end of practice.
I have asked a few of the dans at my dojo (all dans, but not sure to which level) and have been instructed in a few extra stretches I can do before practice to loosen up. I have also been told that having not done seiza my whole life, it may take a while before my body will comfortably rest in this position. I certainly trust their advice, but I am looking for ways to combat this stiffness.
Right now, I am doing stretches daily, and also trying to sit in seiza with the aid of a pillow or two between my lower legs and buttock.
Any feedback on the situation would be much appreciated. Is this a common thing for newbies in aikido to go through? How long does it usually last? Any tips on how to stretch out and loosen the muscles and joints involved would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you so much!