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Posts: 70
Reply with quote  #1 
Does anybody have a list of stretches that help limber up for sitting with Sitar? Also, What would be a reverse stretch of the traditional sitting posture?

Sitar/ Surbahar, has to be one of the most painful instrument, the sitting posture, the callus on the mizrab hand, the grooved callus on the left hand from sliding and pulling basically a cheese slicer wire, the mental effort, the epitome of no pain no gain. The body really has to adapt to this instrument.

"If a man follows the mind given him and makes it his teacher, then who can be without a teacher?"
“To be truly ignorant, be content with your own knowledge.”
-Chuang Tzu

Senior Member
Posts: 238
Reply with quote  #2 
Back in the day, AACM sold dungeon racks like the one below in both tun and teak.  Note the absence of penwork and plain pegs on the munda version in the picture.  Some people say these are the best way to limber up, but that seems like a stretch.

ZZZ The Rack.jpg092bd4d9-a6cd-4b19-9e57-315722043aceOriginal.jpg


Junior Member
Posts: 20
Reply with quote  #3 
Dungeon racks;-) ;-) The teak ones are now collectors items; don't fall for the mango wood cheapies on Ebay/Amazon, they bend as soon as you sweat.

More serious, some yoga poses help - ex. this one:
esp. reverse to you usual Sitar sitting position (depending on left or right handed).

With some years of practise, you won't even think about sitting, pain etc anymore. You'll slice the cheese effordlessly, the little movements that keep your legs from falling asleep etc. will be natural. Have fun playing.

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Senior Member
Posts: 730
Reply with quote  #4 
Sitting on the floor comes easily if you do it a lot like many Indians do.

Get yourself a nice padded cushion like the rectangular or square Zen sitting cushions (like a tiny futon) but only 3-4 inches thick and put blankets on that if you want to soften it further e.g. 
Zafu and Zabuton Meditation Cushion Set
but don't use that round thing - just sit on the mat.

Watch TV sitting on this mat - not on a couch. Even better if you can do this without leaning on anything.

The "easiest" sitting on the floor asana is called Sukhasana = Easy Pose [biggrin]

  • Calms the brain
  • Strengthens the back
  • Stretches the knees and ankles
The standard sitar sitting posture is a slight variation of this pose -- get comfortable sitting on the floor before you get comfortable sitting with a sitar. The one Ingo suggests is good to get the right muscles stretched out.

Here Adriene will walk you through the basics 

Get comfortable with Sukhasana before adding the sitar to the equation. If you add the sitar before you sit it can be waaaaaay more challenging than it needs to be.

There are many who say that playing the sitar or any serious ICM instrument is a form of yoga so it makes sense that Yoga physics are involved. It is important to be at ease if you want to develop a serious practice --remember that many can sit in the sitar position for 3-4 hours straight.

I think Dhivyam does it better in terms of form (knees closer to the floor) but this also shows she has more practice sitting on the floor in general. This is the standard eating position for a lot of people (not the fat rich people) in India.

Start watching TV sitting on the floor without leaning back on anything.

This gruff-voiced lady shows you how Sukhasana evolves to one of the sitar poses - Agnistambhasana. If you can do this for an hour before ever putting a sitar into the mix, you will find it much easier to play the sitar without pain and physical anguish.

Key Point: sit on the floor much more often and AVOID COUCHES. They are not your friends and mess your back strength and posture up.

Here is the final step to get knee and hip flexibility in place. Now you are ready to play the sitar.

And if you want to know how to get your hips more open here are a whole sequence of exercises.

Los Angeles, CA
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