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A personal milestone: "How to sit for meditation" video on demand download


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Going back to the how to sit program: this is my personal approach to doing this, and I do it because I had to be able to sit comfortable, and my body did not want to do that.

I was wondering what your thoughts were on that subject. While I can sit in the burmese position relatively well, I still find the slight discomfort very distracting for my practice. I still find sitting in a chair far more productive from a purely mental perspective, and that sitting on the floor and trying achieve and improve something during meditation quite counter to the state of simply being that I can reach when sitting comfortably in a chair. Some people seem to feel that the discomfort should simply be made a focus and become part of the practice, but this seems counterproductive and pointless to me. Perhaps I'm just not enlightened enough. ^_^

I do really want to sit perfectly comfortably on the floor though, so I can't thank you enough for this program.

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@ the Colin:

I still find sitting in a chair far more productive from a purely mental perspective, and that sitting on the floor and trying achieve and improve something during meditation quite counter to the state of simply being that I can reach when sitting comfortably in a chair.

I agree with you completely. Pain can be an excellent meditation object (and it is a traditional one) but it is also accurate to say that many yogis and meditators have hurt their knees by so doing. It is far better in my opinion to be able to sit in complete comfort with no pain which is the experience in this old body.

I don't know whether you had ever been on a silent meditation retreat but the fact is the first thing that everybody talks about when silence is lifted the pain experiences they've just suffered in the previous week or month. It is true that observing the mind and its reaction to pain (usually aversion) can really reveal something about the structure of one's own mind and this is one of the reasons why it is a standard meditation object. Potential downsides are significant though.

A another thing to consider is that all of the practices you do in a chair can be done in the lying position too. Most people forget that the Buddha recommended four meditation positions and lying is one of the four. If you exert your willpower and really pay attention and stay awake you can relax more deeply doing lying meditation than any other form in my experience. Lying meditation was the major practice for me personally over a two year period once and it helped my body to really become acquainted with the experience of deep relaxation. This means that I am able to reproduce those experiences in my own body when I want to.

And thank you everyone for the compliments in regards to this program. Please share the link with your friends: I want this information to get out there.

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I purchased this download two days ago and have followed along twice now. This is a great program, and has really highlighted the areas that are my most tight. I really appreciate the time and effort Kit, along with the price tag! I

I found that in the Burmese position, I almost comety lack the ability to tilt my pelvis forward. Time to work piriformis : )

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Kit, you mention that the routine is more of a limbering session than a hard stretching session. Is this therefore something that we should be doing daily in order to reap benefits from it, or should we be using this routine to identify tight spots and then go on to use the relevant stretches from it in bi-weekly hard sessions?

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Kit, you mention that the routine is more of a limbering session than a hard stretching session. Is this therefore something that we should be doing daily in order to reap benefits from it, or should we be using this routine to identify tight spots and then go on to use the relevant stretches from it in bi-weekly hard sessions?

Good question!

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Daily (with a day off a week, if you want) will work really well, and it's a good way to warm up for the real stretch sessions, too, so once you have identified those tight bits, then work on those with the 'real' stretches!

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  • 1 month later...

I also got the program today and I followed part of it this night.

I can only mention two things:

1) I found the quality of the recording already excellent, clear, informative. You transmit your passion for it Kit, which is not a negligible bit.

2) It made me realize that I improved substantially on some elements as compared to the beginning of my ST adventure.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I found myself unable to perform the quad stretch you show in the program.

I got reasonably loose by now with the solo quad stretch. However, the position you show is not working for me. I loose my balance or find myself tilted away from the folded leg.

Any suggestion? I feel a strong tension in the inside of the knee of the folded leg. And yes, I do use a cushion to level the hips, also in the solo quad stretch. The cushion is essential for me, otherwise by no means I can perform this stretch.

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Fede wrote:

And yes, I do use a cushion to level the hips, also in the solo quad stretch. The cushion is essential for me, otherwise by no means I can perform this stretch.

That's all you need. If you are still tipping over, do next to a wall or use a thicker cushion. Cheers, K

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A cheat sheet if anyone is interested. I have printed this and stuck to my wall, maybe will help others...

How to sit for meditation limbering

Slow gentle awareness inside body

Elephant walk

Squat, side to side, knee circles, adduction, rotation

Burmese, side with tiny rotation, pelvis trunk walk forward rest, up then either side. Hook thumbs, pull forward again. Change legs over & repeat.

Tailor, small contractions, pelvis forward. Stronger balance version.

Seated piriformis one leg extended, then bent, breathe into inside of hip

Instep, move calf, weight on hip, relieve cramp

Quadricep: hold and move opposite leg. then opposite leg on stretched leg CR

Lunge sequence, then bent leg, feel what the body needs, gentle, boxing compass

Elbow cobra backbend, pull elbows back chest forward, sideways bends

Piriformis pigeon

Side bend girl seiza with lats pulling arm down

Cat/dog just feel what they feel like, no particular effort, follow line around floor seeking tail bending spine. Then with hands pull push/tuck arch. Arms forward, extend reaching hands on floor, then stretch muscles under arms by grabbing one arm.

Passive backbend over support (eg rolled towel or cushion), back on support, tuck tail to straighten lower back, support head, gently lower head, reach arms actively, lower tail to ground. To come out put fingers under head, tuck chin, raise head, roll off.

Hands clasped behind knees forward bend, leg straightening rotations & head to mid thigh

Badly done forward bend lower back via leg straightening

Sit and feel

Neck rotation

Neck sideways, pulling down with lats, roll forward stretch lift head up. Shrug shoulders

Head forward, turn look at other leg

Seated spinal rotation, shoulder back and down bent elbow.

Sit on sit bones, lean forward straight spine, bottom out, lean back, back forward relax tummy, hold hands, lift chest slightly, head back very slightly, side to side feeling where I am front back side to side, relax tummy relax completely, relax shoulders.

Ready to sit.

Edited by AndrewL
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Thanks for that, Andrew; can I put the run list in the Description (on Vimeo; not that anyone ever reads it!)?

Having it here, in your words as a user, is gold. Can I copy and paste it into the original post as well? Thank you, sincerely

K

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Can I copy and paste it into the original post as well?

Of course!

I used this today and found the actual sequence then becomes very meditative as I could switch my what's next brain off (and my KitTV watching one off as well). Doing without a running sheet is more mental trying to work out what to do next and I found I was a bit agitated when it came time to sit.

My sitting is only lasting a few minutes, though was really good today. Then I just feel compelled to go into lying practice.

<_<-_-^_^

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Andrew wrote:

Quote
My sitting is only lasting a few minutes, though was really good today. Then I just feel compelled to go into lying practice.

Baby steps—and before anyone hears this as patronising, it's not, at all. Baby steps are like our beginning stretches or limbers: the 'beginner's stuff' that everyone rushes through to get to the "real" material. No: all complex movements or positions are simply aggregates of the baby steps. Baby steps are the gold. Get those right, and many things become possible.

@ Fede: no warmup is necessary; all you need it to be fully present in the body, and it will tell you the right speed/intensity/whatever you need to know.

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@Kit: thanks. Indeed I could do it successfully by listening to my body. I also have the feeling - you correct me if I'm off - that the how to sit for meditation program is at the right limbering level for my current flexibility. The plan is to complement it with individual (or groups of) movements from the how to master the squat program, and with time, proceed through mastery of the latter as well. However, I'm really being careful with all this, I want to learn how to listen to my body and time is a friend in this process.

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all you need is to be fully present in the body, and it will tell you the right speed/intensity/whatever you need to know.

Comments of a total fanboy... this is what I truly love about ST. It doesn't teach programming or progressions as gospel, but instead offers a toolbox, and an encouragement to rediscover your own intuition by responding to sensations.

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Comments of a total fanboy... this is what I truly love about ST. It doesn't teach programming or progressions as gospel, but instead offers a toolbox, and an encouragement to rediscover your own intuition by responding to sensations.

this is also the part I'm starting to appreciate more and more.

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An excerpt from my log, which might be useful for other users.

... I used my time to practice the how to sit for meditation program, with a focus on learning my tight bits. The gracilis did not annoy me too much, as I simply kept the relevant ROMs under control and took it easy.

Definitely one thing is coming up over and over when I do the program. When I simply sit with crossed legs - or even in a Burmese - I do feel tension and feel limited in my ROM there by the inner part of my right knee.

-The same is true for the quad exercises.

-One thing is certainly that my calves are small but not soft at all. As a consequence they only partially move out of the way, but there must be something else.

-For example, in the burmese, I can move forward without feeling any issue in the rest of the body but the inner right knee. In fact, when I bend to my right side, I can bend way more than when I try on my left side. Again, tension in the same spot is the main issue.

Is there a way to approach this issue?

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  • 3 years later...
On 28/04/2014 at 11:09 AM, Kit_L said:

Hello everyone. I hope this is the shape of things to come: my Vimeo on Demand channel begins today

https://vimeo.com/on...sitformediation

...

Hey @Kit_L,

I just noticed (after clicking on it) that the link at the top of this thread is incorrect.

It contains:

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/howtositformediation

instead of:

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/howtositformeditation

Sitting for mediation might be an interesting, but entirely different, project!

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On 6/29/2014 at 8:45 AM, FedericoC said:

Is there a way to approach this issue?

@FedericoC: definitely: roll the s$%^ out of your calves:

This will help that problem enormously.

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  • 1 year later...

After many years (SO many years) reading, intermittently watching, listening, and occasionally dabbling in Stretch Therapy concepts, movements and practises; I have finally got around to actually implementing some of them, on a semi-regular basis.  Early days, but I hope that it will be the start of a consistent practise.

I have chosen HtSfM as the basis/genesis of my practise for several reasons:

  • It is fundamental.  I could have chosen Master Squat, Master Back Bend, Master Shoulder, as each involve areas in which I have mobility issues.  But there are things going on in my hips that feel like fundamental impediments to improvement in mobility, no matter the target.  I suspect that for a very large number of people, this would equally be the most efficient point of entry.
  • It is also the area in which I experience the greatest level of imbalance.  Hip flexors, piriformis, tailor pose, burmese sitting position, simple cross-legged sit; everything is highly imbalanced; something I hope to improve, and ultimately correct.
  • It is broadly applicable.  While I see the major initial benefits around the hips, there is peripheral benefit to the shoulders, lats, spine, neck etc.
  • I wish to incorporate the result in a sitting meditation practise.  I have begun, and will continue to finish my practise with what will hopefully be a gradually extended period of sitting meditation.  Limbering + meditation = a better balanced Pat.

How's it been going?

Really well, really quickly, thus far.  While I know that appreciable improvements will come non-linearly and slowly, I have been encouraged by some useful initial changes.  My first session resulted in a creaky body, that needed at least 15 minutes before I could stand and walk without stiffness and pain.  I also experienced quite intense and unexpected glute DOMS for a couple of days afterwards.

I have since experienced no lingering stiffness or pain, and have gradually extended my post-limbering sitting meditation period to around 10 minutes.  I don't measure it - merely sit in meditation until I feel my posture flagging without overt effort.  This has been quite the revelation.

My final sitting position requires a small cushioned bolster under my right knee.  But with this, I can now sit quite comfortably.

Kudos again, to @Nathan for producing his PDF cheat sheet.  I have used it a couple of times now, as a quick reference to obviate the need to follow along with the video.  Yesterday, I tried to run through the sequence without prompts. (*)  Only forgot the Lying Side Bend, which is a bit of a bummer, as I love how that feels.

PDF Cheat Sheet:

How to Sit for Meditation PDF Cheat Sheet

@Kit_L: Can you please consider inserting the link to Nathan's cheat sheet in the initial post?  Also, pinning this post in the forum?  I had to search for it, as it had drifted down to page 4, and I think HtSfM is far more important than it has been thus far regarded.

(*) Last night's run-through of HtSfM was done while trying to "encourage" our 4yo to eat his dinner.  The period of sitting meditation afterwards, was greatly appreciated.

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  • Nathan pinned this topic

Great to hear about your progress @pogo69! HtSfM is really a fairly gentle full-body limber, so it's great for loosening everything up, exploring, and getting more in tune with your body and what it needs. I think it depends on the individual's personality, but I agree it can be a great entry point into the ST system. And again, I'm glad you're finding the PDF useful.

3 hours ago, pogo69 said:

Can you please consider inserting the link to Nathan's cheat sheet in the initial post?  Also, pinning this post in the forum?  I had to search for it, as it had drifted down to page 4, and I think HtSfM is far more important than it has been thus far regarded.

Editing Kit's post to add my own document feels a bit sneaky, so I will let Kit do that :lol: But I agree the post should be pinned, so I went ahead and took care of that.

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