Thanks for the continued input!
I definitely realize that this process will take time. Currently, seiza only poses a problem at the very beginning of class, and the hardest part is getting into it the first time on a given day. My bowing-in is probably far less than graceful! Sometimes it gets a bit painful at the very end of class, when we are all lined up, just before we bow to our partners. I continue to try to stretch out as able. When I asked my instructor he told me not to worry about it too much yet, and wait to see if it is still causing problems after a few more months.
I am considering another possibility. Just this last week, my legs/knees have been a bit sore/stiff outside of the dojo as well. I also read the following article http://www.aikiweb.com/training/goldfield1.html
I realized that in the month and a half I have been taking classes, I have accumulated 31 total hours training. In any given week, I would spend around 6 or 7 hours training at the dojo spread out over 3 or 4 days. I typically attend 1 hour at the basics level, 1 hour on basic weapons, and the rest at the general or mixed levels. I am beginning to think that I might be pushing myself too hard, and not giving my muscles enough time to recover. In other words, I wonder if I might be tearing my muscles up more than I should.
In your experience, what is the optimal amount of practice one should attend in a week? Should I look at it by the hours spent in the dojo during a given week, or by the number of days I go to classes? For last week, I took a few days off, and skipped the Zazen meditation that I normally attend. I am considering cutting back to a slightly less intense schedule, and come September, I will have scheduling difficulties that will force me to attend fewer classes anyway.
Anyway, I will ask my instructor the same question tomorrow, but any advice or experiences you can share would also be greatly valued! Thanks so much!