Managing Foot Pain During Meditation

Managing Foot Pain During Meditation

Posted by Jay Suthers on Aug 2nd, 2023

In this blog, I received a message from a customer who is experiencing foot discomfort with his new set of meditation cushions. Here is his message and my detailed response:

Hello, this is Justin I am emailing in regards to order #385583. I received the cushion set and I am having some discomfort while using the cosmic cushion. I followed your website's recommendation on the product seeing as how I am 6'1" and around 225lbs however I find when I sit on the cushion I receive a ton of discomfort on my foot that is closest to the floor. This is to the point where I cannot sit for more than a few minutes at a time which is very frustrating. Should I swap the cosmic cushion out for the largest zafu option you have available? And if so how do I go about exchanging just the cushions? Please get back to me at your earliest convenience. Thank you.

Hi Justin, 

Thank you for your message and for your purchase. 

Along with height and weight, the website also says that your level of flexibility is a factor in choosing the best size Cosmic Cushion. To test your flexibility, sit on the floor in the cross-legged posture with no cushion at all. If your knees tend to stay up in the air, your flexibility is limited. If your knees go down toward the floor, you have average to good flexibility. 

Therefore, given your height and weight, and if your flexibility is limited, the Oversize Cosmic Cushion is recommended. If, however, you have good flexibility (not typical of males), a Regular Lift Cosmic Cushion might be recommended. 

I've attached a copy of your order for reference. You currently have the Oversize Cosmic Cushion, which is already our largest cushion that you are referring to as a "Zafu". A Zafu is specifically a round meditation cushion. What you have now is our own design called the Cosmic Cushion, which is a modification of the Zafu. 

In any case, you already have the largest cushion we make. You can check to ensure you have received the Oversize Cosmic Cushion by measuring the carry handle on the back. It should be about 7-1/4" to 7-1/2" long. 

That being clarified, you are saying the discomfort is in your foot. Specifically, the foot that is closest to the floor. Does this mean that you are putting the other foot on top of this foot? 

I know there are various ways of sitting in the cross-legged posture. I personally sit with my feet in a relaxed position - my right foot is closest to me and my left foot is furthest from me. Some people cross their feet so that one foot is on top of the other, which is what you seem to be doing. And some people can do full-lotus, which is putting the feet on top of each thigh. I cannot do this full-lotus without experiencing a lot of discomfort. 

I wish that I had some illustrations to show these different positions. But, if you are putting one foot on top of the other, that is a lot of pressure on the lower foot - the one closest to the floor. You might try to relax your posture a bit and put the second foot out in front of the other foot. I don't say left or right because this depends on whether you are left-brained or right-brained. In the same way, when you cross your arms, some people will do so with the left arm over the right arm and vice versa. When I cross my arms, I'm naturally inclined to put my right arm over my left arm. When I sit for meditation, my right foot is naturally inclined to be closer to my body. 

Something that might help you further is to read through the following article I've written on leg numbness during meditation. Even if you are not experiencing numbness, this article is relevant to the issue of posture and putting pressure on the nerves in your legs.

Sometimes, turning the foot so that the pressure is more on the top of the foot than on the side of the foot (especially on that ankle bone that so inconveniently sticks out) can make a lot of difference in your comfort level.

Another thing that might help is to put some support under one or both knees. Roll up a small towel and tuck it under the knee to give it a little lift. This can reduce the amount of pressure on the foot. We sell a knee pillow just for this purpose but a rolled towel can work just as well either to test this out or even as a permanent aid in your meditation.

Finally, our bodies are very adaptive. Case in point is that at first, when we buy a different car, everything feels awkward. The seat position isn't the same as the previous car, all the controls are in slightly different positions and so forth. After some time, our body and muscle memory adapt to the new environment and we regain our familiarity with the new environment.

It seems you might be new to meditation. It can simply take some time and a little experimentation to get used to the cushions and meditation posture in general. When we are new to meditation, we thirst for information and we get it from other people. But remember that these people are sharing with you their experiences and their solutions to problems. It is their perspective. So, take their advice as a starting point. And don't let anyone tell you that your posture or practice is wrong in some way - especially that you cannot achieve enlightenment if you don't do it their way. That is made up. Meditation is in the mind and the most important part of meditation is to detach from thoughts and physical experiences.

You may need to keep working through some of your discomfort. Eventually, even though some discomfort is still happening, your mind will detach from it and you will be able to meditate with it. But, it's okay to adjust your posture during meditation to relieve some of the discomfort.

Well, I've given you far more information than you asked for. I truly want to be helpful to your situation.

In the end, you already have our largest cushion. We don't make a larger cushion for you to exchange this one for. And, I don't think the cushion is really the issue. I think you just need to keep studying your posture and making adjustments to try to change the pressure you are putting on your foot.

I hope this is helpful but please let me know if you have any other questions or thoughts.

Sincerely Yours, Jay

If you would like to comment on this blog or have any questions, please feel free to Contact Sage Meditation Customer Service.