(Response to the thread “What is so special about full lotus?” posted by effilang, in the Discussion Forum on Tao Bums)
This morning a second question has occurred to me, and that is: why do they sit 40-50 minutes in the lotus, when most hatha yoga postures are only assumed briefly?
My answer would be, because we work loose, first the sacrospinous ligaments, then the sacro-tuberous ligaments, and finally the sacro-ilial ligaments. We work loose by settling in and accepting the stretch that already exists as consciousness takes place, relaxing as we breath in and out. When we have feeling over the surface of the whole body, then the impact of consciousness and feeling sits, the hit in “just hit sit”, or shikantaza.
Equanimity toward pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral feelings is a part of this. Equanimity and relaxation in the face of the involuntary reciprocal innervation of muscle pairs around the pelvis and the sacrum and throughout the body takes a little time to come on, after the humdrum of our daily habit.
I would remind everybody of Cheng Man-Ching`s description of the fourth stage in the development of chi: chi penetrates to the skin and hair. Likewise, the Gautamid described the fourth of the initial jhanas as purified equanimity, the cessation of volition in in-breaths and out-breaths, and as feeling like “a strip of cloth wrapped around the head and the entire body”.
For me, I walk on my feet sitting down, until I feel the exchange between my upper legs and my sacrum under the pelvis, kind of the forward angles of “the ox crosses the wooden bridge”. With luck I can let go and ride the wind, as it were. The wind gets up, when it`s time; that`s how it goes for me, and I usually sit between 30 and 50 minutes. A little numb in the top foot when I get up.
Answering questions people don`t ask, for myself, of course! Thank you; Mark