The Leadership Of The Santa Cruz Zen Center

Santa Cruz Zen Center: Postures for People with Chronic Pain

Zen Master Dogen Zenji said, “Zazen has nothing to do with sitting or lying down.” Zazen is a beautiful practice of opening completely and facing directly whatever arises in each moment. In Zazen we reveal the fact that we are not separate from the myriad things that come forth and experience themselves in each moment.


At Santa Cruz Zen Center, we want everyone who wishes to participate in this ancient practice of still sitting to feel free to come and be part of our Sangha. Presenting alternative postures for people who don’t think they can sit because of pain is our invitation and opening.


The postures presented here originated with Zen teacher Darlene Cohen of the Russian River Zendo in Guerneville, California. Darlene teaches that there are three essential features of Zazen posture:


  • That the spine is stable and properly aligned so that stillness can be maximized.
  • That the position incorporates dynamic tension to assist the practitioner in remaining awake and alert.
  • That one’s whole body and mind can participate fully.

The postures presented here are various embodiments of these essential features. Please feel free to very them in whatever way works best for your needs.


Zazen Instruction In Person

Everyone who provides Zazen instruction at Santa Cruz Zen Center is knowledgeable in these postures and can assist you in finding a comfortable posture in the Zendo. Please feel free to contact Zen Center at 831.457.0206 if you would like more information.


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