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Old 08-14-2003, 11:20 AM   #1
souji
 
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Ai symbol Proper Seiza

I just wanted to know how do you sit comfortably in seiza. Sometimes my leg gets crammed when I sit in seiza and the infinite feeling of discomfort. And besides from fixing the posture. What does it effects on the person that sits in the seiza position?
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Old 08-14-2003, 11:37 AM   #2
Yann Golanski
 
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Siting confortably in seiza is only going to happen after years of sitting in seiza. there's no secret for it, it just takes time.

Personaly, I find it easier if I put as little pressure as possible on my knees. Of course, then the pressure is on my heels which means that they get pins and needles as soon as I get up. *shrugs*

Practice and more practice I guess.

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-14-2003, 07:54 PM   #3
PeterR
 
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Hi Yann - welcome to Aikiweb. Always good to see another Shodokan heathan.

Another small suggestion about sieza is not to move. Once you start shifting the pain becomes worse much faster.

Seiza requires training. If it hurts, keep position a little longer and then stop (sit cross-legged).

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-14-2003, 10:48 PM   #4
Nacho
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I think that sitting in seiza is for a short period of time only, it's not natural for the body to mantain that position for a long time. It's not good for blood flowing to the feet. Just my opinion
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Old 08-14-2003, 11:04 PM   #5
PeterR
 
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Quote:
Ignacio Weinberg (Nacho) wrote:
I think that sitting in seiza is for a short period of time only, it's not natural for the body to mantain that position for a long time. It's not good for blood flowing to the feet. Just my opinion
When I first came to Japan a famous (well in the circles of my particular science) Professor told me that the short stature of Japanese was due to poor blood circulation because of seiza and not diet. I think he is wrong but agree that extended sitting in seiza is not natural and can't be good for you.

Still it can be gotten used to and if you watch how children naturally sit - seiza is one of many. I often find myself in seiza for short periods - but then I basically live at floor level.

For adults the problem may be due to more bulk (either fat or muscle) in the thighs. To keep you happy - here in Japan adults and older children have just as much trouble, especially if they don't normally use seiza.

A sketch about adults having to sit in seiza at a funeral always gets a laugh here. You know the guy gets up and falls flat on his face or on top of the new widow.

I actually won a seiza duel with a 50 year old Japanese Aikidoist. No way was he going to move before a gaijin and no way was I going to let him get away with it. Shihan knew what was going on and kept up the lecture. Let me tell you serious pain was involved.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-15-2003, 01:33 AM   #6
Bronson
 
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Quote:
Let me tell you serious pain was involved.
After the 40 minute seated misogi at our summer camp this year one of the guys who'd never done it before said "I float on a cloud of pain." I thought it an apt description

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 08-15-2003, 10:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Bronson Diffin (Bronson) wrote:
After the 40 minute seated misogi at our summer camp this year one of the guys who'd never done it before said "I float on a cloud of pain." I thought it an apt description

Bronson
Well I don't see the point in those misogi practices if what you do is not healthy or you put your health in risk.

Like cold baths in the morning, go and ask your doctor if it's alright to take a freezy bath in winter at 5 am...
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Old 08-16-2003, 12:11 PM   #8
C. Emerson
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I believe that with any meditation, one of the keys is relaxation. I would say break from tradition and get comfy. There are many different forms of meditation. If a zen moment is what your looking for, pain will help you in the here and now. If you are looking to get really internal, than I wouldn't want to be distracted by an external element. Ki development or anything with ki, concentration is paramount. If you are breaking concentration, than you are not getting deep enough.

I think that the discipline developed by just making time to meditate is enough. I don't feel that I need to make it more complicated than it all ready is. Havinmg achy knee's or just being generally uncomfortable might be enough to stop meditation all together for me.

-Chad
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Old 08-16-2003, 03:59 PM   #9
Kensai
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Actually, I've just finished my Summer Seminar under Sensei K Williams. He remarked about the seiza position, with partular reference to health. Apparently it DOES help with reguard to health, I would imagin the blood that would normally be in the legs now flows to the more essencial organs in the torso, thus providing them with more nutrients and oxygen. But thats just a my opinion on it.

After doing my 3rd Kyu test (which I passed), I sat in seiza. Something that I would not normally do, but as my Sensei was near and I wanted my teacher to see she had a deciated deshi, I relucantly put my legs under my ass and sat down. As my legs were already rather warm from the grading, I remained in the position for about 30 minutes. After the grading had finished I slowly got to my feet thinking that the self inflicted seiza sesion was harder than the actual grading! I guess its good to test yourself.

I would imagin also, that like nikkyo's and sankyo's are for the wrist, seiza is for the legs. Although my knee's are suffering a little now, its fine for my 20 year old frame (or so Sensei says.. lol).

Either way, I think its good mental discipline. Plus you look kinda cool when your meditating....

Just dont hurt yourself.

"Minimum Effort, Maximum Effciency."
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Old 08-16-2003, 06:19 PM   #10
Anders Bjonback
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Honetly, seiza's just an uncomforatable position. Even my tea ceremony teachers, who have sat in seiza for years for long periods in a day, still stretch every couple hours.

Actually, one of my tea ceremony teachers did mention that after awhile he formed callouses the top of his feet. After he lost sensation on certain areas on the tops of his feet, seiza wasn't so discomforting. But his accupuncturist said that not having sensation on the tops of your feet is a BAD thing, so he stopped sitting in seiza so much.

But you can get used to losing circulation, etc. For me, often the only part of seiza that's really discomforting is trying to wake my legs and feet back up afterwards. That is, when I'm used to it. When I haven't done tea for some time, and I'm not used to the pain in my feet, I find it really discomforting after a half hour or so.

Last edited by Anders Bjonback : 08-16-2003 at 06:26 PM.

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--Lilian Smith
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Old 08-16-2003, 07:45 PM   #11
Anders Bjonback
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I'd better pass on a warning my tea teachers gave me about sitting in seiza for long periods of time. Always make sure you can tuck your toes under before you get up. If you find you can't, get up to your knees, and allow your feet to regain circulation. Seiza can be deceptive in that you think you can move your feet (more than just your toes) when you really can't. My teachers have actually seen people break both their feet because they got up out of seiza without seeing if they could tuck their toes under into shikko (?) first.

I found out it was a good precaution when I got up out of seiza without doing that once, and promptly found that I couldn't move my feet out of the seiza position as I stood. I was nearly doing a balancing act on the tops of my feet. My teachers went bug-eyed when they saw that, and they were relieved when I fell down without any serious injury.

Last edited by Anders Bjonback : 08-16-2003 at 07:50 PM.

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--Lilian Smith
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Old 08-18-2003, 12:57 AM   #12
Bronson
 
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Quote:
I'd better pass on a warning ...
I'll pass one along too. Once you're up and moving you'll have less chance of twisting your ankle if you shuffle backwards instead of trying to walk forwards. Okay so it's not really a warning but you know what I meant



Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 08-18-2003, 12:15 PM   #13
Anders Bjonback
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Quote:
Bronson Diffin (Bronson) wrote:
I'll pass one along too. Once you're up and moving you'll have less chance of twisting your ankle if you shuffle backwards instead of trying to walk forwards. Okay so it's not really a warning but you know what I meant



Bronson
It's not like I don't think people don't have common sense or whatever--I would just feel bad if I didn't say anything and heard of someone breaking their feet getting up from seiza after sitting in it for an hour. And I know it's a realistic danger because it almost happened to me. When you don't have enough sensation in your feet and they're stuck in a certain position as you stand, you can put pressure on certain areas of the feet you otherwise would not.

"For peace and happiness are presences, not objects we can grasp and hold onto."
--Lilian Smith
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Old 08-19-2003, 05:46 AM   #14
Mark Balogh
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My Sensei explained that over time, you gain some of the benefits of Zen Meditation by sitting in seiza during classes. Good eh?
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Old 08-19-2003, 01:23 PM   #15
aikidoc
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Best Aikido (by Nidai and Sandai Doshus) has a section on proper seize (p.24-25).
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Old 08-27-2003, 08:23 AM   #16
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Quote:
Ignacio Weinberg (Nacho) wrote:
Like cold baths in the morning, go and ask your doctor if it's alright to take a freezy bath in winter at 5 am...
Hey, don't give my teacher any ideas...
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Old 08-27-2003, 10:04 AM   #17
Arieru
 
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i know i have to work on my ankles even begore i get into seiza. i try to show up to class at least a half-hour early so i can prepare my body. once the adrenalin is flowing, seiza doesnt hurt that much.
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Old 08-27-2003, 12:37 PM   #18
ian
 
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Yep, practise is the best way. Also, if you are getting cramps regularly this may be the result of a salt imbalance. The best way to change this is to replace sodium salts with potassium salts. Eating apples, grapes and bannanas or juices and avoiding crisps and processed foods are good ways to do this (good advice for anyone do heavy exercise).

Ian

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 08-27-2003, 01:42 PM   #19
Janet Rosen
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Quote:
Chris Gee (Kensai) wrote:
. Apparently it DOES help with reguard to health, I would imagin the blood that would normally be in the legs now flows to the more essencial organs in the torso, thus providing them with more nutrients and oxygen. But thats just a my opinion on it
That really doesn't make sense physiologically.

You do not improve circulation/health by keeping your arms raised above your head.

If anything, prolonged sitting allows blood to pool, fostering blood clots--like happens during long airplane flights.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 08-27-2003, 02:18 PM   #20
diesel
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Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
That really doesn't make sense physiologically.

You do not improve circulation/health by keeping your arms raised above your head.

If anything, prolonged sitting allows blood to pool, fostering blood clots--like happens during long airplane flights.
The only thing that raising you arms above your head will help with is regaining your breath. This is an old runners trick.. allows your lungs to expand more as you don't have the weight of you arms pushing against your torso. So in that aspect, it would help disperse lactic acid that has built up in the muscles... but I do not believe that it would help seiza?

Eric
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Old 08-27-2003, 08:33 PM   #21
kironin
 
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Ki Symbol

Quote:
Anders Bjonback wrote:
I'd better pass on a warning my tea teachers gave me about sitting in seiza for long periods of time. Always make sure you can tuck your toes under before you get up. If you find you can't, get up to your knees, and allow your feet to regain circulation. Seiza can be deceptive in that you think you can move your feet (more than just your toes) when you really can't. My teachers have actually seen people break both their feet because they got up out of seiza without seeing if they could tuck their toes under into shikko (?) first.
You mean move into kiza first ?

Good advice since the big toe plays an important role in balanced standing.

came across an interesting history bit on seiza and kiza,

http://www.asianart.com/forum/takaki/sitting/

Craig
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