Does anyone else out there struggle with a good seated position? The position that I end up in is basically one leg on top of the other. I’ve seen this called quarter lotus, but I’m not sure. Anyway, I’m worried this will put a lot of pressure on my knees and mess everything up. Any thoughts?
If you focus on the stretch and activity set in motion by your center of balance, and how activity returns to your center to maintain balance, then hopefully the breath can move freely in the posture in which you find yourself.
Focus on the stretch and activity set in motion can be a distraction from the center of balance; having said that, the stretch most fundamental to the cross-legged posture is in the ilio-tibial bands. That gives rise to activity in the sartorious muscles, the gluteous muscles, and the tensor fascia latae muscles.
“Blue Cliff Record” (case 17):
A monk asked Hsiang Lin, “What is the meaning of
the Patriarch’s coming from the West?”
Hsiang Lin said, “Sitting for a long time becomes toilsome.”
(‘Blue Cliff Record’, tr. Cleary & Cleary, Shambala publications pg 110)
In a commentary on the koan, Yuanwu wrote:
If you understand this way, you are “turning to the left, turning to the right, following up behind.”
That’s the action of sartorius, gluteous, and tensor fascia latae, becoming activity in the abdominals that creates pressure in the fluid ball of the abdomen, to allow the coordination of the fine muscles of the spine and a support from the alignment of the lower spine to the lumbodorsal fascial tissue behind the spine.