Sep 1 2005, 09:05 PM
Has anyone heard of what people who have carpal tunnel syndrome do for japa, since the usual method inflames carpal tunnel pretty quickly?
I am thinking this is also a problem for people who have arthritis.
Sep 1 2005, 09:33 PM
Why not abandon keeping count and just chant? For a specified time?
Or come up with some scheme to keep track that doesn't involve your hands? Tap a clicker with your toes? Walk back and forth over a certain number of stepping stones somewhere, keeping track of each turn?
Btw, one of my coworkers got some kind of mouse device that is optical and sits on his head, and he clicks with his feet. The cursor moves with the movements of his head. So all kinds of ingenious devices exist now that didn't before.
Sep 1 2005, 10:03 PM
Wow that device sounds cool.
In my conception the bead counting is not so much for actually counting but for the sensation of touch to be engaged and concentrated on.
Sep 1 2005, 10:57 PM
If it is the movement that's bothering your wrist, can you merely hold a bead, with your hand still?
Sep 1 2005, 11:22 PM
Sure I can hold a bead with my hand I think the issue with Carpal Tunnel is movement like the kind one does when holding a mouse and clicking.
I think there is something about the tactile rhythm of the sliding bead motion that is integral to the experience, though I am just saying this out of subjective thin air or habit. I am wondering how some people who even spend 8 hours a day doing japa, and are even elderly, don't end up with hand problems from the repetitive fine motor movement, and what do the ones who do, end up doing.
Sep 2 2005, 01:58 AM
Sometimes it is not the fact of movement itself, but how one moves that creates the difficulty. Of course when carpal tunnel has reached the stage of injury rather than irritation even movements that used to be ok may irritate tissues that are already inflamed. I just read recently that sometimes cortisone injections help even more than surgery.
A physical therapist may be able to work with you to find a neutral way to move your fingers without irritating your wrist. Have you worn a brace while chanting?
I've had tendencies in the direction of carpal tunnel for years but have always kept from progressing to the end stage of injury (so far). The best thing that helped me was to wear my brace at night. When I was sleeping I was flexing my wrist into positions that were really irritating it.
I can also look into that head/foot mouse system that my coworker uses sometimes. He also got a sideways clicking mouse that's really good. He had tendonitis, and some of the same restrictions, but he's back at work full time now.
Sep 2 2005, 02:00 AM
Also, why don't you put a disclaimer in your signature that you won't be using capitalizations and some punctuation because you are trying to reduce pressure on your wrists?
Every little bit helps.
Sep 2 2005, 02:03 AM
Try this page, they link to assistive devices that have been helpful.http://www.tifaq.com/
Sep 2 2005, 03:27 AM
This is not the one my co-worker has, but it's a different version that uses only the feet for clicking and cursor control!http://www.abilityhub.com/mouse/foot.htm
that's the one that uses a camera to follow eye movement.
Sep 2 2005, 04:01 AM
Thank you Tapati for the urls and suggestions,
Wow they actually have braces for carpal tunnel? That's surprising. No I never tried that, I am not sure how that would function. I basically just try to roll my wrist around but it doesn't seem to go away. I guess one would have to quit all keyboarding for a period of time for it to go away, but if one just types over the pain it probably turns chronic and won't leave even if you stop! I am not surprised I have this I use a keyboard for writing every day for 10 years! (But if you ask me the problem is not as much the keyboard as it is the mouse).
Sep 2 2005, 08:14 AM
Yes, the mouse is the primary culprit.
My brace is fairly simple and wasn't too expensive, maybe 30-40 bucks and I've had it for a few years now. It has velcro and fits around my wrist with a gap for my thumb to move freely, and it holds my wrist in a neutral position. I also use a trackball (kensington although at work I'm about to get a logitech) and noticed a big improvement when I switched from the mouse. A trackball is under 20 bucks now for optical! Well worth every cent.
You can get braces at a good medical supply store or pharmacy, and they range in price depending on how well made they are. You can get cheaper ones than I did.
At night, avoid turning your wrist inward or bending it in any way. With the brace I'm now more or less trained to hold my arm out so the wrist can lie straight (sleeping from a side position) where I used to curl it inward towards my body, especially in winter when I am cold.
I feel comforted when I have it on, it's soothing to have it hold the wrist in a position that doesn't cause it pain.
If it's aching, do use ice for 20 minutes wrapped in a cloth. Anti-inlfammatories help but of course they're hard on your stomach.
Good luck! It can get better!
Sep 2 2005, 07:27 PM
I thought I had carpal tunnel because my thumb, index finger and middle finger went numb on my right hand. I went to physical therapy and had a ergonomics specialist and injury prevention educator come and redesign my office work station. I got a 3M ergonomic mouse (model number EM500GPS) which is really good for relieving the pressure from unnatural twisting of the wrist during mouse operation. It is shaped like a joystick and you hold it such that your hand is kept sideways. You use your thumb for mouse clicking. The ergomics specialist taught me some excercises that I do regularly several times and day and she stressed that breaks from the computer should be scheduled at the minimum every 30 minutes. I still use all her advice and my work station is much better for eliminating the risk of injury. It turned out that my problem is related to arthritis in my neck and that my finger numbness was caused by pinching of my nerve in the neck, not my wrist. The ergonmics lessons have helped in that area as well. The numbness went away after about three months - but I still have nerve problems and have to be careful when practicing yoga or doing anything involving my neck.
I hope this information helps you in some way. I would highly recommend that you at least educate yourself on injury prevention and try to set yourself up at the computer ergonomically so that you reduce the risk of further aggravating your injury.
Sep 2 2005, 08:03 PM
I think the point is that japa favorably rearrages all the molecules in the hand and wrist by its potency, if done properly. Thus the hand becomes a spiritually charged ergo-instument of enlightenment.
Sep 2 2005, 10:49 PM
Thanks Tapati. Thanks Audarya-lila, and that is interesting that the hand problem was really a neck problem, I have heard of similar things where one part of the body hurts so much, like the back, and the problem ends up being the foot (!) not the back. There was a book out by an architect called something like "The Chair," all about which chair is the ergonomically ideal chair to sit on, analyzing all these chairs for many chapters, and in the last chapter the book concludes that the best chair is NO CHAIR AT ALL, but the floor! Gaudiyas have it right.
I wonder if any japa-sadhakas get this problem from japa itself, making the beading physically uneasy. I suspect if one ignores this pain and just does japa over it, on a physical level you are inflaming the nerve more and more potentially making japa impossible for more than very short stretches at a time. If no japa sadhakas get this from japa itself, perhaps this can be chalked to the Angrezian ergo-instrument theory or to the explanation that this only happens to people who also type too much.
Sep 3 2005, 05:11 PM
Would you consider trying some left-hand tantra... sorry, left-hand japa?
I mean, I know the left hand is muci and stuff, but maybe that would not be an issue to you?
Sep 3 2005, 07:49 PM
That's a good idea!
Eva, it's a cumulative thing, so any area of your life where you can reduce strain to your wrist will help. You might also have a physical therapist examine how you move your wrist--sometimes it's not the activity, but how we perform it, and a little modification to our motion can help immensely.
I think from japa alone one would have to chant a great deal to cause this. I think altering your mouse and getting a wrist brace (wear it when you chant) can help.
Try using your fingers but keeping your wrist still, and maybe change the angle of your wrist. If you use a bead bag, consider if it's too confining and making your wrist bend too much. In that case, maybe get a larger one or abandon using it.
I was having trouble when I cleaned houses. I started using my left hand more, and also tried to keep my wrist straighter and use the force of my whole arm instead of mainly my hand and wrist. That really helped.
Sep 3 2005, 11:10 PM
I actually do have carpal tunnel sydrome from my type of work, however, I can still use japa beads just fine. I think it is a different kind of movement...and maybe because you don't use your first finger.
Sep 4 2005, 11:45 AM
One could say no it does not matter. We infuse meaning into acts (and hands) via imagination, faith, sadhana. I guess this is a similar idea to the quote that was brought up here two times before: If something is believed in with enough intensity it becomes Real (paraphrase). So which hand to use or whether the beads are made of tulasi or neem or pine wood should not matter, since things are experienced as holy via our own efforts, whether or not holyness is an inherent property in things or not.
Also, from another perspective, if everything is part of Krishna so is the left hand just as holy as the right. And Krishna is in every sound vibration.
Then there is that most interesting offence: Do not think the potency of chanting Hare Krishna as a function of the imagination, which pokes a hole at these ideas.
Sep 4 2005, 11:25 AM
Those are good tips Tapati.
I actually thought of the left-hand japa but I also had the brilliant idea to use the mouse with my left hand as a solution to the right hand strain. In this way I eventually gave myself the same strain on the left hand too!
That is an interesting question whether doing japa with the left hand should matter or not.
Sep 23 2005, 12:05 PM
Japa and the Body
Yes, one need not use beads
One's body itself
May be counted upon .....
Sep 23 2005, 12:27 PM
QUOTE (talasiga @ Sep 23 2005, 11:05 PM)
Japa and the Body
Yes, one need not use beads
One's body itself
May be counted upon .....
Each of these may serve as a visualisation point for the mantra:-
feet = 2
2 favourite meridian points on your lower leg= 2
2 on your upper leg/thigh = 2
navel = 1
hands = 2
top of head=1
Thats 54 - now repeat working down and you got 108 - try and end on the right big foot.
You may similarly wish to visualise points on your diety as you chant etc.
You may chant like this meditating on a different devotee of the Diety for each of the 16 or other number of rounds.
And so on ......
Sep 23 2005, 11:49 PM
That is a pretty creative way of keeping track of how many mantra’s one can chant without beads or a physical counter of some type. It would take a lot of one pointed concentration to be able to do this, and it would seem easy to get mentally tripped up and lose count, at least for a person like myself, unless of course an individual had a great mind for mentally being clear with pin-point concentration and memory, something perhaps worthy to pursue and have.
I just wonder why, back in the days of early Vaisnava history, some teacher or Goswami came up with the rule that one must chant 64 rounds of mantras’ on 108 beads to be a practicing Vaisnava bhakta, and why Srila Prabhupada decided that 16 rounds on 108 beads was the right amount for his followers?
It would take the pressure off one to just be able to chant a certain amount of time each day, something more fluid and in tune with your body and mind at any given time. When a number of prescribed rounds are given, it almost like someone figured out this prescription for God Consciousness to be, chant the holy name 1728 times a day, 615,168 a year, 6,151,680 a decade or 18,455,040 in three decades, and you will be totally purified!
There should be some money back guarantee or something with this, so that that after 30 years of chanting and you still crave a lot of chocolate, sex, power, television and not to mention bad coffee in order to stay awake to finish off your prescribed numeric chanting amounts, you could get these years back and start over with something else less numeric (I guess you would call it a Time Back guarantee.)
As there are so many different ways to practice spirituality for all of us diverse individual personalities on this planet, I suspect that whatever works for an individual, is what one should practice, be it numeric, time based, or just plain day to day fluidity. When one has a specific number to follow daily and makes a vow to do this for the rest of their living days, it creates this pressure to do it no matter what, and from my experience, quality suffers in the name of quantity, forcing a person to pump out mantras when tired or while thinking about something else and trying to get them over as quickly as possible.
Then came the practice of making up rounds the next day in order to catch up, and I can remember keeping a list how many mantras I came up short in a notebook and then trying to find time to make them up, and when that make up number became overwhelming, I found my bad playmates, Guilt and Anger coming over more often to play. Luckily for me, Guilt and Anger grew up, got married and created the Fundamentalist Vaisnavism movement out there, be it ISKCON or the Reform Breakaways, trying to push back the hands of time to the good ole days, where you are either with them and the Truth or against all things True and Pure, but I digress.
Chanting the visual way, as Talisaga explains it, is pretty creative and a fabulous way to get your quota in while developing a highly tuned one pointed awareness and concentration on one’s spiritual practice, if that is ones choice.
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