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Archaeus wrote:So what happens when you find yourself somewhere without your prop?
Frater Aurum wrote:I still think that for the purposes of examination it is important to hold everyone to the same standard, and to demonstrate competence in the task, so for the purposes of examination Liber E should be followed. However for continuing practice beyond examination conditions it is really up the student how they proceed.
Frater Aurum wrote:93 everyone.
Although this is somewhat of a perennial topic I'd like to hopefully start a dicussion on the use of a prop. I've been practicing the dragon posture for about a year now in the AA and for the past month or so I've employed the use of a small zazen-style stool. I've found that it relieves me of great physical strain and allows me to better focus on the task at hand, whilst not making it an easy task by any stretch of the imagination, however I am able to sit for longer. Now I've been advised against this as reliance on a prop, which at first I thought wassound advice. As much as I've resisted the idea by telling myself that it's laziness or the desire for a shortcut, I can't shake the feeling that the use of a stool isn't an impediment to my practice nor is it shortcut to anything. I'll outline some reasons for feeling this:
1. Any position will be difficult, the body finds many ways to beckon you to move or adjust even when lying in bed.
2. The problem with a prop is that it may not always be on hand, and so one may come to rely on it. This is probably the best criticism, however use of a stool in dragon posture only causes reliance on a prop as much as the god posture causes reliance on a straight-backed chair. The latter is a suggested exercise, so reliance on a simple prop doesn't seem to be inadvisable.
3. The point of Asana does not seem to be to damage the body, or in any way weaken it, but rather to tame it. Indeed I believe we should be fortifying the body. Some out there suggest that this posture (and any posture that puts prolonged mechanical stress on joints, ligaments and tendons) can lead to, among other things, knee injury (one such place is the wiki for Vajrasana). Now this might only be a problem for those with a certain anatomical makeup or body type (e.g. large gastrocnmeius muscles could increase stress on the knee joint) and others might have no problems. At least for myself the stool ensures no damage comes with the practice, and as I'm also an athlete my knees are important.
I could, theoretically, just go and opt for a different posture (perhaps the hanged man, or simply a half lotus) but I've been sitting like this even before I was admitted to the AA, my body is familiar with it, and I now feel new life in it with the use of a stool. Given what I've written, would anybody still advise me against the use of a stool? How many people out there (I'm interested more in initiates of AA) use a prop in their Asana? May I ask whether you were advised against it, and why?
gerry456 wrote:There are no stools in a desert. What if you were in a desert and wanted to meditate?
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