Be careful how you seiza.

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DGA
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Re: Be careful how you seiza.

Post by DGA » Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:23 am

I have hypermobile joints, so it's not too difficult for me to get twisted up into pretzel pose (pretzandasana). And I could probably sit seiza with the support of a bench. The trouble for me is with seiza unsupported, and getting in and out of it (positions like sankyo).

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WuMing
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Re: Be careful how you seiza.

Post by WuMing » Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:51 pm

Hi Jikan,

I hope you recover soon and your knees will be back in shape again!

I second Meido's advice/consideration, doing carefully some exercises for your knees. And please consider it once more, if you haven't done it already. You're saying that you have hypermobile joints. AFAIK, this does mean that your joints are not really supported and protected well enough by the muscles around them. So maybe consider this seriously with your MD or a really good physical therapist before thinking about, or actually undergoing surgery. Give them a good rest as best as possible, treat them carefully and well now and then start some exercises slowly and carefully.

I remember when I had my introduction interview with the temple priest in Japan I sat the whole time in seiza, when it was done I just could not stand up anymore. Later on, parts of the training I had to do in seiza, too. But I got some good advice on how to deal with seiza and the pain. Over time I got used to it.

some general advice for people who want to sit in seiza: just move your body a little while in seize, shift weight slightly from one side to the other, move your feet while sitting in seiza. All this can be done with very little movement, so that others won't notice it, or be disturbed by it. But one piece of advice might be in order here: always listen carefully to your body, exercise seiza by little and little and do not overdo it. It is with this body we are cultivating the Dharma, so we have to take care of it and treat it well and do not disregard it.

BTW, while in Japan I learned that Japanese people suffer the same when it comes to seiza.

[PS: there is something on its way to you. Sorry for the long delay!]

wm
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
- Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
_______
Śrī Singha said to Padmasambhava:
Since buddhas and sentient beings are inseparable and the same, it is necessary to respect all sentient beings as being on the same level with the buddhas. Can you?
- translated by Malcolm N. Smith

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Re: Be careful how you seiza.

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:39 am

Jikan wrote:
Luke wrote:And perhaps this is just my naively optimistic American side surfacing, but Jikan, why don't you just start doing a short and sensible bodybuilding routine for your legs?
Do maybe 2 exercises for your quads, 1 for your hamstrings, 1 for your adductors, 1 for your abductors, 1 for your calves, and one for your tibialis. Do this twice a week and stretch your legs after the workouts when the muscles are still warm. Also, and eat more protein and vitamin C (it aids with the recovery of muscles and tendons).

I know that some Buddhists find it kind of disgraceful to do some non-Asian exercises (i.e. not yoga, not chi kung, etc.), but if lifting weights regularly could help you a lot, why not go for it?
Thanks for the leads. I've done some strengthening work in recent years largely to address this issue per MD's instructions (I've gained about 20 pounds since 2008). I spent much of the summer of 2013 doing leg lifts to build strength in the quads in order to stabilize the patella, for instance. I'm not at all averse to exercise. Mostly I'm aging, I've lived a full and sometimes careless life, and the warranty is up on some of my moving parts.

Might be worth finding a good PT and seeing if they can determine how quad-dominant you are. I finally got a good one and found that a big portion of my knee problems were being exacerbated by being so quad dominant, now that i'm retraining myself to use my glutes more my knees are under less strain and i'm doing better. I don't have an actual tendonous tear, but I do have tendonitis (all over really, years of martial arts can do that as you age) in the same place on one side, as well as some joint capsule damage.
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DGA
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Re: Be careful how you seiza.

Post by DGA » Thu Oct 30, 2014 1:39 am

Meido wrote:Sorry to hear about it, Jikan. Like the rest am wishing you a speedy recovery.

Have spent a fair amount of time with seiza, and at one point had patellar tendonitis as well as recurring pain from an old MCL injury. What actually changed everything was moving to the top floor of a three-flat. Just walking those stairs a few times a day resolved a lot of issues. FWIW, as you possibly consider exercise options.

~ Meido
Thank you for the encouragement here. I'm actually looking forward to PT for this. Right now, climbing the stairs in our current home is something of a torment (it's a three-level townhouse).

And I'm glad WuMing made the detailed, general post he did--I made a public spectacle out of my own predicament in part so that others could learn from it. In my specific case, the hypermobility is a genetic issue--like my uncles and cousins, I have loose joints throughout my body, from my jaw to my toes.

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WuMing
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Re: Be careful how you seiza.

Post by WuMing » Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:28 am

Jikan wrote:... the hypermobility is a genetic issue--like my uncles and cousins, I have loose joints throughout my body, from my jaw to my toes.
Does that mean you can't exercise the muscles around your joints to strengthen them to give your joints support and protection? Would any exercise be useless or even contraindicated?

I really have a bad back and bad knees, too. Three years ago I just couldn't walk properly anymore, let alone walking upright, that was very painful. I could have undergone surgery of my lower back, but didn't, instead I started specific training of my lower back and later on careful exercises of my knees and slowly it got better. Now, I can walk normally again, no problem sitting cross-legged and upright on a cushion. And I am almost pain free now, only ocassionally pain returns if I overdo my back and not taking care of it propely. But that pain usually goes away fairly quick, and I recover from it very well and very quick, before it took ages. What I want to say is, please consider specific workouts. Surgery should only be a last option.

Hope you'll find a good solution that works out best for you!!
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
- Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
_______
Śrī Singha said to Padmasambhava:
Since buddhas and sentient beings are inseparable and the same, it is necessary to respect all sentient beings as being on the same level with the buddhas. Can you?
- translated by Malcolm N. Smith

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Re: Be careful how you seiza.

Post by Mkoll » Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:33 am

WuMing wrote:
Jikan wrote:... the hypermobility is a genetic issue--like my uncles and cousins, I have loose joints throughout my body, from my jaw to my toes.
Does that mean you can't exercise the muscles around your joints to strengthen them to give your joints support and protection? Would any exercise be useless or even contraindicated?

I really have a bad back and bad knees, too. Three years ago I just couldn't walk properly anymore, let alone walking upright, that was very painful. I could have undergone surgery of my lower back, but didn't, instead I started specific training of my lower back and later on careful exercises of my knees and slowly it got better. Now, I can walk normally again, no problem sitting cross-legged and upright on a cushion. And I am almost pain free now, only ocassionally pain returns if I overdo my back and not taking care of it propely. But that pain usually goes away fairly quick, and I recover from it very well and very quick, before it took ages. What I want to say is, please consider specific workouts. Surgery should only be a last option.

Hope you'll find a good solution that works out best for you!!
What kind of exercises did you do? Can you gives examples?
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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WuMing
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Re: Be careful how you seiza.

Post by WuMing » Thu Oct 30, 2014 9:13 am

I still do something called MST (Medical Strengthening Therapy). Here you find some information about it Kieser Training and here some study results of that particular kind of therapy.

If there is something similar to that in the US I don't know really, but I guess so.

My experience with that kind of therapy and strenghtening training is very positive. It takes some time of course, but it is definitely worth.
As I said it helped me a lot, I was able to avoid surgery in the end. It definitely works very well!
I was in a really bad shape, daily life was very difficult to go through during that time, I even could not lift and carry my kids. And being in such a condition does something to your mind, too.

Again, Jikan or anybody else with such difficulties, I hope you find the solution which fits your situation most and you get the best out of it!
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
- Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
_______
Śrī Singha said to Padmasambhava:
Since buddhas and sentient beings are inseparable and the same, it is necessary to respect all sentient beings as being on the same level with the buddhas. Can you?
- translated by Malcolm N. Smith

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Mkoll
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Re: Be careful how you seiza.

Post by Mkoll » Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:47 pm

:thanks: WuMing.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Luke
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Re: Be careful how you seiza.

Post by Luke » Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:46 pm

Jikan, another thing you might want to consider is your diet.

Getting more protein and vitamins might help your injury heal better.
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=newtip&dbid=12" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://woundcareadvisor.com/how-dietary ... -vol2-no6/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

One easy way to get more protein is to get a low calorie protein powder, such as Iso Whey Zero by Biotech. Each scoop has 21g of protein, 0g of fat, 1.5g carbs, and 98 calories if you blend it with plain water. It's also lactose free. It also has stuff like branch chain amino acids and essential amino acids in it which you might not have been getting much of. You could have a scoop in the morning and then a scoop later in the day. You could also mix it into yogurt, oatmeal, etc.

http://www.biotechusa.com/products/prem ... whey-zero/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

A lot of strength athletes take high doses of vitamin C to help with muscle tissue repair. You could start with 500mg of vitamin C and see if that helps you.

Also, have you tried simple wall sits? Can you hold it for 20 seconds without pain? Try to work up to holding it for 1 minute. Do 3 repetitions. It might give you exactly the isometric strength you need. You can also make wall sits easier by sitting higher so that the angle of your knee is greater.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/prod.skimble/as ... iphone.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Be careful how you seiza.

Post by DGA » Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:20 pm

I'm not having surgery for this.

I spoke with a different orthopedist who re-read the MRI and said that there was nothing surgically to be done about this injury, but that I'm at risk for a total rupture, which would require surgery and a two-year recovery. So I'm best advised to simply protect the joint and avoid straining it. This will impact my Buddhist practice somewhat (no more lotus or half-lotus posture, no more seiza, no more sankyo in the traditional way, no more dashing downhill on uneven terrain--I'm working out end-arounds to all these). Good thing I gave up pick-up basketball twenty years ago.

The good news is that my kneecaps track correctly, I have less arthritis than expected, my gluteal & quadraceps muscles are plenty strong from the PT and other training I've done already... and I don't have to have surgery. The pain is subsiding as I rest the joint.

There's a kind of Murphy's Law element to some of this: last year, when I injured my neck & back in a car crash, I was advised to strengthen some muscles in my core, neck, and back. So I did that, and in the process gained some muscle mass. Now the extra weight in the upper body may be causing more trouble in the knees. Samsara...

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Re: Be careful how you seiza.

Post by Bakmoon » Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:32 pm

Have the doctors reccomended wearing some sort of knee brace? I have relatives with knee problems who have benefited from wearing knee braces. Even if you don't have an alignment problem per se, keeping the knee properly aligned with a brace can help to reduce strain on the joint.

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Mkoll
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Re: Be careful how you seiza.

Post by Mkoll » Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:04 pm

Glad you got a second opinion. Definitely a necessary thing to do with a decision like surgery. I learned that the hard way.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

DGA
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Re: Be careful how you seiza.

Post by DGA » Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:35 pm

Bakmoon wrote:Have the doctors reccomended wearing some sort of knee brace? I have relatives with knee problems who have benefited from wearing knee braces. Even if you don't have an alignment problem per se, keeping the knee properly aligned with a brace can help to reduce strain on the joint.
Yes, that's also on my to-do list. I'm also supposed to be using a walking stick of some kind when on steep or rugged terrain. Coincidence?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khakkhara" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Related:

http://www.quietmountain.org/dharmacent ... hakujo.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Meido
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Re: Be careful how you seiza.

Post by Meido » Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:00 am

RE shakujo: yes, good for warning folks and critters that someone stumbly is coming down the hill :smile:

Glad surgery is off the table, so to speak. I'll second the knee brace suggestion: the neoprene kind that velcro in the back and stabilize the patella were very useful for me. Also good for keeping the joint warm (tiger balm underneath is nice). They add a bit of compression as well.

Gassho and wishing all the best.

~ Meido
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one’s true nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly [according to this understanding], in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - Torei

The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice

Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org

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Re: Be careful how you seiza.

Post by DGA » Sat Nov 08, 2014 12:01 am

Many thanks everyone for the publicly-shared advice and support, and the PMs and emails too. May we all hold up long enough to fulfill our Dharma aspirations.

With that, I'm checking out of this discussion.

Yours in gratitude,
Jikan

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