I don’t seem to sit more than 50 minutes. I’m right-handed, and the left knee is definitely a whole different ball of wax than the right, even just when I stretch my legs (which I do one at a time, sitting on the floor, grabbing my toes and bringing my head to my knee). I believe this has to do with pivots and stretches at the sacrum. Here’s my guide, lately:
The pose of the goddess on the right interests me. I find a similar posture but with the left foot over the right thigh helpful when I am between sitting intervals in the lotus; it uncorks something, and after I watched a Tibetan lama deliver a lecture for an hour in the same pose, I have to believe it’s also good for meditation. My assumption is that the djed pillar represents the relationship between the mechanisms of the cranial-sacral respiration and the hypnogogic occurrence of consciousness, and in particular the base of the djed represents the sacrum and the ligamentous attachments of the sacrum to the pelvis. The goddesses are the embodiment of the first line of Fuxi’s poem, from 5th century China:
An empty hand grasps the hoe handle
Walking along, I ride the ox
The ox crosses the wooden bridge
The bridge is flowing, the water is still.
(“Zen’s Chinese Heritage”, Andy Ferguson, pg 2, ©2000 Andrew Ferguson)
And here’s the practice I describe in The Mudra of Zen:
“Given the rotation of the pelvis and the stretch of the paired (ilio-lumbar) ligaments in inhalation and exhalation, the placement of the little fingers against the lower abdomen in the posture of Zen provides a direct sense of the geometry of support for the lower spine initiated through reciprocal innervation.
In particular, the placement of the fingers on the centerline of the abdomen provides a sense of the ligaments of the vertical muscles from the pubic bones upward; if the little fingers leave the abdomen, awareness of the forward and backward motion wherever consciousness takes place and relaxation of the activity of the body in awareness can restore the little fingers to the abdomen.
Similarly, the placement of the little fingers provides a sense of the ligaments of horizontal muscles from the lower back around the sides of the abdomen; if the elbows lose their angle from the body, awareness of the side-to-side motion wherever consciousness takes place and relaxation of the activity of the body in awareness can restore the angle.
Likewise, the placement of the little fingers against the abdomen provides a sense of the ligaments of diagonal muscles up from the wings of the pelvis; if the shoulders lose their roundedness, awareness of the turn left and right wherever consciousness takes place and relaxation of the activity of the body in awareness can help restore the round to the shoulders.”
When I wrote Translations of Motion in the Lotus, I noted that the reciprocal innervation between the extensors and the psoas muscles is engaged as the translations of motion culminate in the movement of the skull bones, affecting the cranial-sacral rhythm. I now conclude that the movement of the skull bones also affects the pineal gland and the production of melatonin, perhaps making the hypnogogic state more fluidly accessible with the attendant freedom of movement of the sense of location.
That sense of location opens feeling, and somebody with a lot of feeling drew those baboons ascending the hills with their palms in the air!