I have tried sitting in full lotus and it helps in my practice.
However, I have a problem now as I prefer sitting cross-legged (not necessary full lotus), or with my legs bend whenever I sit down.
Over years, and feel the blood flow in my legs is not as good as before, the condition may not be reversible. Hence I am concern with sitting in full lotus during practice even though I would really prefer to do so.
Could you give any advice on what I should do so I can sit in full lotus during practice and not develop leg problems in the future?
Twenty years ago when I first started, I saw a Hinayana monk who was 84 years old sit in full lotus and his legs looked like spaghetti. He later lived until over ninety years old and never wavered.
In your case, if it is only a blood circulation concern around your knee, I would not worry too much. It is probably because you have never really tried to sit through the discomfort until your Qi is strong enough to break through the bend around the knee.
The secret in the full lotus position is to initially make it difficult for the blood to flow through the bend of the knee, thereby forcing your Qi to increase to resolve the issue.
Please understand that I am not qualified to give medical advice and that all of my students of all ages have successfully been practicing sitting meditation. Not all of them can sit in full lotus and yet they continue to make progress regularly.
In brief, I would like to recommend the following:
- If possible, practice meditation under supervision: with someone who can sit in full lotus and who has successfully led others to sit in full lotus. The skilled meditation teacher will be able to give you the proper guidance.
- If you can’t find such a teacher, I would follow the two minute increment guideline that I suggested in our “Chan Handbook: The Learner’s Guide to Meditation” in order to break through the leg discomfort. Going through that self-training will improve your focus. If you still feel reluctant, try smaller increments such as one-minute increments.
- Another avenue to consider is to come to our Chan retreats that are offered twice a year in Rosemead, California. Your meditation skills will systematically improve and you will be taught how to train yourself to take advantage of the full lotus position to keep your body fresher and younger in spite of the years.
- Finally, if you are truly reluctant to train yourself to sit in full lotus properly, then sit in half lotus or in the comfortable position. It is still very good to maintain a regular daily meditation schedule.
I wish you the best of luck and much bliss in your meditation practice.