Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Hips (and 'watch yer knees!')
Most people, if they want to start doing zazen cross legged on a zafu (round cushion) on the floor, will probably have to do some stretches to open up their hips a bit. It's important to do this as, if the hips aren't rotating enough the twist of the leg is transferred from the hip to the knee, but the knee cannot rotate like the hip, and so it can easily get damaged. It's bad news when that happens.
Be careful when sitting or stretching: if there is any sharp knee pain or prolonged discomfort then stop doing whatever you're doing.
Here are some basic hip opening exercises suitable for cautious beginners.
Here is a longer yoga-based hip routine that is intended to help people work towards the lotus posture.
Here is another page with preparatory stretches for lotus.
Please heed all the warnings on these hip stretching pages and remember that stretching the hips is a gradual and gentle process.
Starting next week I'll be doing a series of topics introducing the main points of Zen Buddhism and its practice.